Fatigue is a common phenomenon following traumatic brain injury (TBI), with a reported prevalence ranging from 21% to 80% [Ouellet and Morin, 2006; Bushnik et al. 2007; Dijkers and Bushnik, 2008; Cantor et al. 2012; Ponsford et al. 2012], regardless of TBI severity [Ouellet and Morin, 2006; Ponsford et al. 2012]. Post-TBI fatigue (PTBIF) refers to fatigue that occurs secondary to TBI, which is generally viewed as a manifestation of ‘central fatigue’. Associated PTBIF symptoms include mental or physical exhaustion and inability to perform voluntary activities, and can be accompanied by cognitive dysfunction, sensory overstimulation, pain, and sleepiness [Cantor et al. 2013]. PTBIF appears to be persistent, affects most TBI patients daily, negatively impacts quality of life, and decreases life satisfaction [Olver et al. 1996; Cantor et al.2008, 2012; Bay and De-Leon, 2010]. Given the ubiquitous presence of PTBIF, treatment or management of fatigue is important to improve the patient’s quality of life after TBI. However, the effectiveness of currently available treatments is limited.
Although pharmacological interventions such as piracetam, creatine, monoaminergic stabilizer OSU6162, and methylphenidate can alleviate fatigue, adverse effects limit their usage and further research is needed to clarify their effects [Hakkarainen and Hakamies, 1978; Sakellaris et al.2008; Johansson et al. 2012b, 2014]. Therefore, many researchers have attempted to identify complementary and alternative interventions to relieve PTBIF [Bateman et al. 2001; Hodgson et al. 2005; Gemmell and Leathem, 2006; Hassett et al. 2009; Johansson et al. 2012a; Björkdahl et al. 2013; Sinclair et al. 2014]. In this study, we aimed to systematically review randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that evaluated treatment of PTBIF using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to provide practical recommendations for this syndrome. […]