When most people think about the effects of a stroke, they probably don’t think about pain. In fact, lots of people aren’t aware that stroke survivors can experience pain caused by the stroke itself. The truth is, more than 50 percent of people who suffer a stroke feel pain of some kind after the stroke. Sometimes they feel pain nearly all the time and sometimes the pain is intermittent. Understanding post-stroke pain can help you to better care for your aging relative after a stroke.
Types of Post-Stroke Pain.
There are several kinds of post-stroke pain, but they are usually described as two main types:
· Local Pain: This kind of pain happens most often in the joints. It’s very common for stroke survivors to have shoulder pain.
· Central Pain: Central pain is a result of damage to parts of the brain. It can be constant pain that is either moderate or severe. The damage makes the brain misinterpret messages so that they don’t feel things like touch or cold in the same way. Instead, even the slightest touch may cause pain.
Central Pain Signs and Symptoms.
Around 10 percent of people who have a stroke experience central pain. If your aging relative has central pain, you may notice some of these signs and symptoms:
- · Pain can either be constant or intermittent.
- · Pain occurs on the side of the body where the stroke occurred.
- · Pain may affect the face, arm, leg, or trunk.
- · Pain may be described as itching, burning, stabbing, sharp, or aching.
Managing the Pain.
Whether your aging relative is experiencing local or central pain, there are several things that can be done at home to help manage the pain. Some of those things are:
- · Help the senior to avoid pain triggers, such as hot baths, tight clothing, or pressure on the side of the body impacted by the stroke.
- · Do the exercises recommended by the physical therapist.
- · Use heat packs to ease pain.
- · Use pillows, armrests, or other cushioning to support paralyzed limbs.
- · Wear a shoulder support to take pressure off of the shoulder while walking.
Because chronic pain can be extremely difficult to live with, it can sometimes cause depression. If you notice signs of depression in your aging relative, talk to a doctor. There are medications and other treatments available.
Home care can help older adults who have had a stroke to manage post-stroke pain. Home care providers can remind them to take pain killers suggested by the doctor. A home care provider can also assist the senior to get comfortable when sitting or lying down by positioning their limbs comfortably with pillows or other kinds of support.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering home care in Victorville, CA, talk to the caring staff at Cambrian Home Care today. (562) 498-1800 / (877) 390-4300