Pain isn’t a symptom people typically associate with stroke. However, many stroke survivors suffer from post-stroke pain. Sometimes it doesn’t start for weeks or even months after a stroke. It can come in the form of headaches, pain in parts of the body because of tissue injury, or neuropathic pain. Understanding why post-stroke pain happens may help you to assist your aging relative to cope with it.
Types of Post-Stroke Pain
There are three main kinds of post-stroke pain. They are:
- Headaches: Headaches are more common after having a hemorrhagic stroke but can also occur with ischemic strokes. The blood that leaks into the brain after a hemorrhagic stroke can irritate the tissues, causing pain. Some medications may also have headache as a side effect. In addition, post-stroke fatigue may cause headaches as well.
- Injury Pain: Because people who have had a stroke may be less mobile, they can experience tissue injuries, such as stiffened muscles and joint pain.
- Neuropathic Pain: This is nerve pain that can happen because of damage to the parts of the brain and nervous system that process pain. It may feel like burning, prickling, stabbing, or numbness.
Pain caused by a stroke can be either acute or chronic. Acute pain lasts only a short time and is usually easier to treat. Chronic pain is long-lasting. The cause of it may be harder to determine and, therefore, harder to treat.
How Post-Stroke Pain is Treated
How your aging relative’s post-stroke pain is treated will depend on the type of pain and the cause. Often, treatment requires a combination of approaches. The older adult may need physical therapy, occupational therapy, and medications.
Medications that are typically used to treat the pain include:
- NSAIDs: NSAIDs stands for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These kinds of medications are not used in seniors who have had a hemorrhagic stroke since they increase the risk of bleeding. However, they may be used for other kinds of strokes.
- Aspirin: In some cases, the doctor may suggest aspirin. However, aspirin should not be combined with NSAIDs for people who have had a hemorrhagic stroke.
- Narcotic Painkiller: Narcotic painkillers may be effective in reducing pain, but they can make the older adult tired. In addition, if cognitive abilities are impacted, narcotics can make it worse. Narcotics are also addictive.
If your aging relative is dealing with pain due to a stroke, senior care can help them to cope with it. A senior care provider can offer emotional support and comfort measures, such as a hot or cold pack or supporting a limb with pillows. Senior care providers can also remind the older adult to take medications prescribed for pain.
If you or an aging loved one is considering senior care in Spotswood, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care Serving Somerset and Middlesex/Union Counties today. Call (732) 607-8870.
Dr. Shelly, as he is fondly known, has served as an Alzheimer’s Support Group Facilitator in Mercer County and is a Certified Dementia Instructor. Knowledgeable, compassionate, and unusually devoted, his guidance is crucial in helping families understand their options and render decisions for their loved ones’ care plan. Dr. Shelly’s extensive experience, sincere and pleasant demeanor, and professional affiliations have made him a vital asset to Care Street.
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