A person may experience a lot of effects physically during and after a stroke. Sensation changes, weakness, paralysis are some of the effects of stroke. A person may also experience pain which may persist after the stroke. Weakness in the body is one common effect of stroke; as a result, even a touch can feel painful. Muscle stiffness and shoulder problems are also other reasons for pain. Pain due to muscle tightness or stiffness is called spasticity. Pain relief measures are always a part of Stroke treatment. There are normally two types of pain: central pain and local pain.
Local Pain: It is the pain which is experienced in the joints. It is a stroke symptom which occurs due to abnormal positioning of joints. This pain is very common among the survivors of stroke. Almost one-third of stroke survivors suffer from a Local type of pain.
Central pain: This pain can be severe, moderate, and constant and can be worsened by movement, touch, temperature change and emotions. It is normally felt on a single part of the body in the leg or arm. Central pain is not felt immediately. It occurs weeks or even months after one has suffered a stroke. After the stroke, the brain is unable to understand the signal such as cold, warmth, touch etc. due to the damaged ending of the nerve. Hence even a trivial sensation seems to be painful.
Survivors of stroke may experience central pain in the following ways:
- Painful and unpleasant pain on simple touch
- Pain increasing due to movements, cold, emotions or stress
- Pain in the entire body or one side that is more affected by stroke
- Pain in leg, torso, arm or face
- Pain like itching, burning, aching, stabbing, etc.
- Severe, moderate or mild pain
- On and off pain or constant pain
- Pain in the shoulder
- Swollen hand
Treatment for pain
- Stretching and shoulder exercise
- Heat stimulation
Always take the expert medical advice and treatment to alleviate the stroke-related pain.