You’ve found the ideal place if you’re searching for information about effective treatments for stroke-related pain.
It’s crucial to know what you’re up against, so it’s helpful to start by learning about the many forms of pain that can occur after a stroke. Then you can begin thinking about your therapy alternatives.
What follows is a comprehensive guide on relieving the discomfort that follows a stroke.
Stroke Pain: The Different Types
First, we’ll discuss the many forms of pain experienced by stroke survivors:
Stroke-related central discomfort. The central nervous system dysfunction is the source of this ongoing pain. It may feel like you’re being frozen or burned at the same time. This is a very long-lasting type of stroke-related discomfort that might manifest even years after the initial event. Feelings as gentle as a breeze on the skin can be misinterpreted as severe stabs of discomfort.
Subluxation of the shoulder. This is the painful process of a shoulder “dropping” out of its shoulder socket.
Scapula froze. In the early stages, this is characterized by pain in the shoulder area because the shoulder joint “freezes” and locks.
Spasticity. Stroke causes muscle stiffness and tightness when the brain is unable to send messages to the affected muscles. They constrict in painful ways when provoked.
Contractures. Contractures, typically painful, result as spasticity intensifies. Because of the tightness of the muscle bands, the person suffering from a contracture will have a very difficult time using the affected limb for any practical reason.
Pain resulting from damage to the nervous system. Stroke causes significant neurodegenerative changes in the brain, leaving many survivors with chronic neuropathic pain. This type of pain, known as central post-stroke pain or neuropathic pain, can last for a long time (CPSP).
If you’re experiencing discomfort after a stroke, consult your medical team to determine the root of the problem.
Now that you know the many kinds of pain that can occur after a stroke, we can talk about treatment options.
Managing Chronic Pain from a Stroke
Some of the more effective approaches of relieving pain following a stroke are outlined here. If any of these treatments seem promising, discuss them with your doctor to determine if they are an option.
1. Rehabilitative Exercise
Physical therapy is useful for pain treatment because it helps “get the brain on board.”
Neuroplasticity, which is facilitated by physical therapy, allows the brain to reorganize itself to transmit healthy signals to the damaged muscles. Spasticity and shoulder discomfort may find relief from this.
Physical therapy is not always successful in relieving central post-stroke pain. However, other options are provided in the following paragraphs.
2. Stimulation via Electrical Currents
When electrodes are put on the skin, electrical currents can be used to diminish pain signals, making physical therapy even more effective.
Electrical stimulation may be helpful for all types of post-stroke pain, including central post-stroke pain and neuropathy.
A combination of high and low frequency transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) may help some people with central post-stroke pain (a form of electrical stimulation).
Before trying this, talk to your healthcare provider or therapist.
3. Specialized Gears
Arm slings can help alleviate shoulder pain by removing pressure from the tendons and muscles in the shoulder. However, it is crucial to keep up with physical therapy because the discomfort will only become worse without treatment.
Botox may alleviate spasticity-related discomfort following a stroke. Botox is a stroke treatment licensed by the FDA that temporarily relaxes tight muscles.
To maintain the benefits of your increased mobility following Botox, it is recommended that you keep up with your physical therapy sessions. Since Botox ultimately wears off, touch-ups are usually necessary.
Physical treatment, on the other hand, can help convince the brain to join in. This means that part of your progress will be visible even after the Botox stops working.
Medication is a viable option for treating stroke-related pain. The right painkillers can be found with the help of your doctor.
Anticonvulsant medications like gabapentin and pregabalin may be helpful, despite the fact that central post-stroke pain is less responsive to therapy.
6. Mirror Therapy
Reducing stiffness and increasing movement, particularly in the arm and hand, are two benefits of mirror therapy for stroke patients. However, central post-stroke pain may also be alleviated by mirror therapy, which is not widely known.
Central post-stroke pain was observed to be alleviated by this method in one patient 5 years after a thalamic stroke. This shows potential for reducing central pain, despite the study’s small size. Also, because it isn’t intrusive, you can do this therapy right in the comfort of your own home.
7. Emotional Support
Living with pain is difficult, to say the least, and having a solid support system is important for reducing or avoiding emotional side effects like depression. Gaining the help of loved ones and close friends at this time is crucial to getting through it.
8. A Diversion
For those suffering from agony after a stroke, distraction can be a lifesaver. There may be advantages to bearing the pain of continued activity despite the fact that they are not without their drawbacks.
Despite the increased discomfort, getting up and about and getting some work done helps her feel more in control of her life and less like the pain is.
Depression is a real possibility in the wake of stroke-related suffering, but adopting this mindset can help you cope with it.
Overwhelmingly, stiffness and nerve issues are to blame for post-stroke discomfort. Physical therapy, Botox, and medication are all methods used in the management of spasticity.
Treatments include electrical stimulation, mirror therapy, and distraction are effective for nerve-related pain like CPSP. Discuss your treatment options with your healthcare providers.
We hope this post-stroke pain management guide has given you some much-needed optimism.
For more information on chronic pain management, pain disorders, chronic pain resources, psychogenic pain, effective chronic pain treatment options or other physical therapy, you should book a consultation session with a specialist at Chronic Therapy today, to give you professional advice that will suit your personal experience.
Also, for people with chronic pain who are constantly worried on how to treat chronic pain or get their chronic pain treated, our specialist at Chronic Therapy have made huge success over the year in recommending reliable resources to manage chronic pain from nerve pain or any other developing chronic pain conditions.