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Long term effects - exercise isn't an option anymore!

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Hi all,

ive spent many hours trying to research the long term effects of SAH's when i stumbled upon this site :)

After reading stories on here, im feeling a little guilty at being so frustrated by my injury as it is was much less serious than all of your stories - so i can only imagine how you all struggle with the recovery.

However i would still love to hear anyone's opinions :)

I fell off a horse in April 2012 and sustained a minor SAH, was hositalised for a week and simply monitored. I was released and advised to no drive or work for 3 months and limit high risk activities for 6 months incase of another fall / bump etc before it was healed. Fair enough - that was a very emotional, frustrating period for me as im a very active outgoing person (on top of that the incredible tiredness and extreme headaches that im sure you will all understant!). After 4 months i began going for small jogs, and casual games of touch footbal / netball etc however began suffering headaches after exercise again. Frustrated i backed off for another two months (now 6 months on) before i started again, this time i seemed ok, incresed my jogs (still small, slow paced 2kms etc) and began riding horses again. All seemed good. I then slacked off for 2 1/2 months or so and over the past two weeks have begun jogging again. Well the headaches have decided to return, and on top of that i lied in bed with nausea and slept most of the day (yesterday). The doctor is arranging a repeat ct however due to work (and i have to go 7 hours to have one) it may not be for another few weeks.

Just wondering if anyone in the long term was not able to exercise to a degree due to their SAH, because im not sure how i could deal with that! I feel like im taking baby steps and the recovery is the slowest in history - but is there light at the end of the tunnel - will i be able to exercise again?

Another question - is it possible for the brain to scar? I suffer from keloid scars (raised scars) and if my brain were to scar, could that be some kind of an explanation?

I await your thoughts :)

Btw - 18yo Female if that makes any difference!

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morning scooby doo

welcome to btg glad you have found us many of the problems you discribe are normal to almost everyone on here. tiredness is normal and also headaches the main thing is to keep up your fliud levels many on here will advise you better than i can you will have to slow down there are a few who have taken up the mantle of returning to training some cycling others running pleae learn to slow down a little and listen to your body and pace yourself others will be along to advise you and support you take care and enjoy life

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Hi Scooby Doo.

I had my SAH while I was in the gym. So I can wqell understand how you feel.

I started exercising as soon as I could & they were, indeed, baby steps.

I began with taking short walks (at first I couldn't walk a hundred yards without needing to rest) then built those up to longer walks. then I walked to the local swimming baths and spending a little while swimming (I took a packed lunch for the trek home). After a while I was ready to go back to the gym. Now I can go for 30 minute runs again followed by a work out afterwards.

So there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Just listen to your body, drink lots of fluids and rest when you feel the need.

Good luck.


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Hey Scooby Doo.

I don't remember taking anything slow at 18 so I'm sure it's doubly frustrating but the advice is sound. Take things slow, you can't jump back in at the level of activity you had prior to the bleed but in time I'm sure it will be fine. Pleased to hear you're getting scanned to be sure there's no side effects. In the meantime listen to your body and head and don't push it.

Hope you're nowhere near the fires.


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Exercise is very frustrating to me. I get headaches, basic yoga or water exercise is best for me. Any repetitive motion is a no no. But i have fibro and that is part of that. Since SAH I really have to fight the fatigue and the headaches that come with it. It seems if I am in the least bit worn out it is best to skip it as it does me more harm than good. I cannot like put my head back in that position so I am sticking with the water where my midn and body become weightless.

Good Luck~ I am 53 so I am sure I am not boncing as well, and I work full time so that uses up most of my engery.

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Welcome to BTG :-D

I'm two years on. I started with a very gentle yoga a few months after SAH. Took me a long time to build up from there and I'm still not jogging the way I did pre-SAH. Fatigue is a big issue so it's important to find the right balance of exercise without bringing on fatigue and all the neuro symptoms that come with it. Go very slowly. What you are able to do one day may make you awful the next day. Pay close attention to how you feel. Your brain will tell you if it needs rest.

It does get easier, just takes a long time.

Sandi K.


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Take it slow,you are young tut tut lol

It has been approx. 3 years since my SAH and I am up to eating 2 cakes in one go, so tiring lol j/k

Seriously as others have said take it easy, I cannot walk that far so hubby got me a treadmill/running machine at

Christmas I can now walk 120 metres and then my back goes, my aim is to go shopping again and see the top shelves.

so do things in moderation xx

Good luck on recovery

WinB143 xx

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Hello and welcome to BTG!

My Dr okayed me starting to run again at about the 1yr mark. He told me that I must start as an absolute novice and so I was doing slow runs of 30 secs running, 90 secs walking for half an hour twice a week. I was just about thinking of increasing to three times a week when I started my new role and went full time. I did get headaches to begin with but these passed after a few weeks. I miss running because of how much better it makes me feel emotionally but there is no way I can use that amount of energy and work full time too.

Dawn x

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Felt compelled to answer to this. I'm an avid exerciser. I went from pushing a walker 3 weeks out from my SAH upon release from hospital January 2012 to riding my bike at 7 weeks. I also started driving again as vision had returned. Started golfing at 8 weeks. Took some introductory flight lessons at 3 months, returned to my gym at 5 months with only the restriction of no heavy weights for one year. Retuned to both hiking and running by July. Curling started September 2012 2-4 x per week. Seasons ski pass December 2012 and I try to go once per week. I also returned to work June 1st. Full time by September. Oh, Santa brought me snowshoes for Christmas and I'm going to try those out soon.

I'm an activity junkie. Have no problem. I know I don't drink as much water as I should, but no problems with headaches - I don't get very many. I will work on getting better with hydrating. I just passed the one year mark. I feel no different except for tiny ear noises which don't really bother me so not really worth mentioning.

I don't measure my progress against others, just my own goals. Positive mind set and grateful to be here.

Don't give up. It will come.


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Hi Scooby Doo

I had my SAH in the gym (a particularly strenuous sit up I seem to recall...!) - but I was determined to get back in the gym and I think I went for the first time after about 3 months. Did running, circuit training quite happily (though not to the same fitness level) for around 4/5 months. then stopped - was tired, lethargic, couldn't be bothered. I think I was busy at week for a few weeks and slacked off and couldn't get back into it. Then I started to ahve headaches again a bit like you and that continued for around 2 months. In hindsight, I was stressed and trying to do too much. I have now started getting the train to work each day rather than driving as it means an hours walk a day. This is great - as it's exercise, makes me feel like I am at least doing something, but I have had to acknowledge that I really don't feel up to the gym and the moment and not give myself a hard time about it!

So, you should do what you feel like, even if that is just walking. If you suddenly have a burst of energy, go for a run. but don't be surprised or upset if you have to take it easy for a few days afterwards!!

My GP said it will take around a year to feel a biit more myself - well its a year this month and I think I still have a bit to go - especially around my tiredness. Easy to say - but try and chill out a bit and don't worry. (says she who constantly gives herself a hard time for not exercising as much as she used to...!)


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I had one definition of exercise before SAH...go hard and go faster than last time.

Sine SAH, I have reevaluated it all as I, like you, could not tolerate it. It didn't give me headaches, but it made my legs feel like they were floating away all day long. So, I'm doing yoga and doing different levels on different days depending upon how well I tolerate it. It's hard because I get the runners high in about 5min of starting anything physical and yet I pay dearly for it later. I say explore different ways of looking at exercise and find one that doesn't give you the headaches and does get you out of the house around others. Slow, light-weights with many reps might also work. Don't give up, you can definitely find something that works. I tried X-country and that is good for me too as long as my goal is to have fun instead of go fast. Redefine.


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Hi Scoobs!

I had my SAH about a year ago. I'm older than you, but like you extremely active. A "normal" weekend for me would be coaching my running group on a 15 mile run, and then Sunday running a marathon (26.2 miles). I taught bootcamp 2 nights a week, taught school 5 days a week, coached new runners on Saturday mornings, ran myself about 40-60 miles a week. I swam, biked, and had the 2012 goal to run a 100 miler race and complete at least three half Ironman competitions.

So as you can imagine after having an SAH I was really chomping to get back into exercise. A lot of who I am I have defined by my activity level (personal trainer, ultra marathoner, "that crazy lady we see running everywhere"). In addition, a lot of my social life is running with others and it would be SO depressing seeing photos on FB from my friends at marathons I had registered for and had to give up.

As of now I am almost all the way back to previous fitness level. I still deal with nasty headaches but energy and fitness capacity is back. Sometimes the headaches will go away with a run, other times that's not a good idea and I adjust accordingly. I will say though that I have found that I have a condition called Fibromuscular Dysplasia in my vertebral and carotid arteries and they might be why I have the headaches. (It was found on one of my angiograms, but was just revealed to me in December. I had scans that confirmed it on Friday.)

You'll get there! I know how frustrating it is, BELIEVE ME, I feel you but you'll get it back. It may be slightly different, but I doubt it. I have a feeling you will not only come back, but your story will motivate so many others. My husband always jokes that when they make my lifetime movie, I'll be crossing a finish line.

Last weekend I ran a 50k relay with another friend who had an SAH six months before me. Both of us are in the group Marathon Maniacs and both had hoped to do the whole 50k, but our heads had another idea. So we teamed up, she did 15 miles, I did 19 miles ('cause I got lost...shhh). We were team "Brain Explosion." Don't give up hope. Hers was MUCH worse than mine, but she was 29 when she had it. Your age is a benefit and you'll be back in business. I'm sure of it.

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  • 2 months later...

Hello Scooby-doo and Everyone,

I am sort-of in the same spot as Scooby-doo. I had my SAH in Jan 2013 while exercising. I am 42yo just 3 months out but can't walk across the parking lot without feeling very unwell. I used to workout 5-6 days a week and usually did 100km or more per week on my bike. How long did it take you to get to each stage of your exercise? What happened if you pushed too hard? Also, did you have other symptoms besides headaches? Any heat, chills, shivering or tremors, dizziness? I am frustrated that I don't feel any better at 3 months than I did the week that I came home from the hospital and certainly can't exercise?



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You may find that your recovery takes a long time. You are still in the very early stages so don't expect too much too soon, give your brain time to heal.

Fatigue is a common thing but with some it diminishes over time, others are left with it.

I started going to the gym and the pool after about 18 months, doing very little at first. 9 years down the line I still can't do as much as I did previous to SAH, although that could be something to do with my age and not the SAH.

My body thermostat seemed to stop working efficiently and even now is only slightly better. As for dizziness, I am still dizzy after all these years and my balance is almost non existent so I use a frame

Only time will tell and everyone's recovery is different.

Do not push yourself, let time do it's work.

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Hi although you may think Jan was a long time with this it isnt really it takes a long time for some of us even longer, if you push yourself too far your body will let you know thats why we say 'listen to your boday'

Try not to feel frustrated but can I say we've all felt that one I think every single one of us, hey even now I get so frustrated with myself, but cut myself some slack because I know that its going to ease up....

take care

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Weakness has always been there prior to SAH etc..somedays walking up the stairs I thought I could have a stroke, my head would bang and my legs felt like they were in quick sand. Same as folding clothing my arms literally get tired from folding. Somedays at least 1/2 the time I feel as if my muscles have no energy in them. I have tried over the years no wheat etc.. all the fads etc. I eat healthy , whole food meals 95% of the time, no soda or diet anything. I just lack energy in my muscles. Water exericse is the onlly thing that does help this for me. I feel refreshed and energized after the pool.

Just want to add.... that yesterday we had trees cut down and we planned on doing the clean up ourselve Mind you that I suffer greatly from any physical work ( although my job is very physical and mental) and pacing does not seem to matter much_ I know people say it does but really it does not seem to matter to my body. It is where my body is at energy wise and than I have to just know my body will ache badly and I will get a horrible headache.

The past several weeks I have tried a very gentle exercise routine daily alternating what I do- walking, swim, pilates, yoga etc.... does not seem to matter I was trashed. It is something I will ask my neurologist about next month. I knwo they say exercise is so important but ANY repetitive motion is awful for me.

My fibro has always given me a stiff neck if I over do even if I don't sometimes. Along with the fibro I should add I have torn a couple of tendons in foot along with assorted foot issues as well as a painful cysts on bottom on right and another on top where my instep is so it adds to my frustration of trying to get anything done. Partial tear in my rotator cuff as well that had years of bursitis and tendontitis. Also if I get warm I break out and itch due to an autoimmune thing I have. So I really try to not over do any of these areas which is why a love the water!

I worked a half day yesterday - not a good 1/2 day either. When I came home started to pull branches to the street for 4-5 hours. I took my mild pain pills alternating with my muscle relaxers as well. It was my experiment to see if I would be a crippled today. Wondering if I did not allow my muscles to tense up woudl I be ok? I took a hot bath later and laid on ice packs in evening. I am not bad so far today. I normally have to "save" myself for work so I can make a living. I have no idea if any of you get stiffness that adds to your pain etc.....and am not advising anyone to do anything different. Or take medication prior but it is something I have been thinking about with managing the pain etc.

Do you all just get a headache or do you get stiffness and pain befor eheadache? I sometimes just go straight to headache. I however for the first time yesterday also wore my giant sunglasses over my regular glasses and a big straw hat to shield me from any sunshine which gives me an instant migraine. Seemed to work very well for me. I get a really tender head when my head hurts so laying down is difficult. My bleeds was on the back of my head and never had this problem before SAH/ Strokes. Most days I wear my glasses over the top of my ears! Oh such a site I am!

PS I cannot at all tilt my head back to say look at the sky. I think this is only a "me" issue? Maryb

Edited by MaryB
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