Pain Management After Stroke
Life after a stroke can be an uphill struggle that throws blows at you each day. In conjunction with this, chronic pain can debilitate you and have a negative impact on your life. This pain can lead to a decrease in your cognitive ability and take your attention away from the things that are important to you.
Although it may seem daunting, there are steps that can be taken in order to alleviate and relieve you of your pain. Researchers are now finding that roughly 10% of all stroke patients experience some form of discomfort after their stroke. Many of these suffers experienced an Ischemic stroke (stroke caused by an artery within the brain being blocked). If you fall into one of these categories, these are the tactics you can take in which to minimize acute and chronic pain.
Figure Out the Source
The first step that is critical to getting rid of your pain is finding out where it’s located. Many times patients will experience ‘general pain’ with symptoms including dull aches, numbness of limbs, and a pins-and-needle tingling pain in the area.
Once located, avoid excessive pressure on these areas as it leads to flare ups and increases the amount of discomfort that you experience. Similarly, avoid baths of an extreme nature (hot or cold) as this will over-stimulate the area affected by the stroke and cause you excessive amounts of pain.
Local Heat Application
As stated earlier, large amounts of heat and cold can increase the pain instead of dampening it. However, using mild temperature heat packs on the area that the pain resides in can cause great relief from your problems.
While using the heat pack on the area, try to support the limb with a sling or homemade stint. This will cause the muscles and nerves to relax and rest as they normally would within the body.
Supplements and Medication
For individuals who suffer from a great deal of discomfort, supplementation and medicine may be more appropriate. One of the best medicines that you can use to help weaken your symptoms is aspirin. Aspirin is used to target areas on inflammation within the user’s body and prevent new inflammation from occurring.
If pain still persists through an over the counter approach, it may be best to seek guidance from your local medical physician. Doctors often prescribe anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication in which to slightly sedate the nervous system. It should be noted that this is approach is usually used as a last ditch effort to tackle your pain. These medications can cause dependency issues within the user and could cause more harm than good.
Exercise and Stretching
As a final note, there are a multitude of exercises and stretches that can be performed in order to change your life after a stroke. Light workouts like walking on the treadmill, dumbbell curls, and overhead press are all brilliant in building up your musculature. The new-found muscle tissue within your body will act as strength in your battle with chronic pain.
Never forget to stretch the muscles being used during the exercise in order to optimize the recovery of your muscles.