Submissions from Readers

Sensory problem

by Kate

Question:How normal is it to lose the sense of heat and cold on the side of the stroke? My partner cannot determine hot things at all. What can I do to help him?


Answer It is not uncommon to have sensory issues after stroke including impairment with detecting hot and cold. This particular sensory pathway controls pain and temperature. You can visit the sensory re-education page on this website for ideas if he is having other sensory issues as well. Ideas to help with problems detecting heat/cold include:

Apply cold and warmth in alternating fashion to his skin and see if he can detect temperature differences (you can put very warm water in a cup and ice cold water in another cup and alternate placing them against his skin for at least 3 seconds each). Have him focus on any difference he feels so that he can become more aware of temperature. He may not feel hot/cold but may notice subtle differences in the sensation felt which he can begin to identify with hot or cold. It's best to do the activity with his eyes closed.

If he cannot detect the difference at all, apply the heat/cold first to his non-affected side and then to his affected side to help give him some feedback.

Tell him to always check the temperature of water with his non-affected hand before getting into a bath/shower or washing his hands. He should also avoid standing around hot surfaces and using sharp objects as he will have trouble detecting pain/temperature on the affected side.

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I thought I was the only one
by: Ike Sweat

I had a stroke a year and a half ago, and since then I've had no sense of hot or cold and recently discovered Needles have no effect on me either.

But here's the deal. A month ago I had surgery on my left leg for a femoral artery bypass, and although I had much discomfort the pain was actually minimal. I was ready to go home the next morning, and my nurse mentioned (offhand) that people usually stay much longer and bitch a lot more. I suppose that was a red light but I didn't give it much thought.
This past Thursday I had the same procedure done on my right leg___KILL ME! I WANNA DIE! THE PAIN IS EXCRUCIATING, I CAN'T STAND IT.

I seriously expected the same thing as a month ago... I'm such an idiot.

Thanks for your page, at least I know there are more of us out there.

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Loss of sensation

Question: My husband had a stroke in October 2009. He has lost all of the sensation on the left side of his body including his hand. What activities could I do with him to help him to regain sensation in his hand?

Question: I'm looking for a sensory program for stroke patient with home health care.


Answer: There are various sensory re-education techniques you can try. These can be found at www.stroke-rehab.com/sensory-re-education

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Sensory Re-education for Leg

by Prabha
(Coimbatore)

Question How can you give sensory re-education to the legs at home?

Answer: Sensory re-education techniques are more often used for the hands, but some of the same principles can be used for the legs. Some of these techniques can include:

Try to differentiate between textures that are rubbed against your legs (i.e. cotton, sandpaper, satin, velcro, velvet, etc.)

Have another person touch you on one spot with your eyes open, then with your eyes closed. Try to associate where you saw object touch your skin to how it felt on your skin.

Have another person keep pressure still on your skin then move it around. Watch and pay attention how it feels. Close eyes and try to identify when the pressure is still versus when it is moving.

Have another person apply cold and or warmth to your skin and see if you can detect temperature differences.

Close eyes and have someone else position your affected leg. See if you can tell what position your leg is in (e.g. my knee is bent, my foot is pointing down, my leg is out to the side, etc.) then open your eyes to see what position it is in.

Close eyes. Have someone else place a lighter object on your leg then a heavier object. Try to determine which object was heavier or lighter.

Place your foot on a lightweight object (e.g. a paper sack that is opened). Only apply enough pressure to feel the sack without collapsing it.

Place your foot on a scale and experiment with placing different pressures on the scale. See if you can feel the difference between a little, medium, and maximal force applied.

Have your leg massaged or use vibration along the leg.

Use your imagination - basically any activity you can do with your legs that involves touch/pressure/temperature would be a sensory re-education activity. Do not use sharp items or extreme temperatures though as this would not be safe for a sensory impaired limb.

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Hot and cold

Question: The right side of my body can not sense hot or cold. How long does this last and are there any treatments?

Answer: I have seen this last permanently is some individuals and return in others. You will have a better idea whether you will get return as you heal from your stroke. Your doctors may be able to provide insight based on the area of the brain damaged and the extent, but they will probably tell you the same thing that I do that only time will tell. You could look into the tab under sensory re-education on this website for treatment ideas.

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Stroke and Constant Numbness

by Kevin
(Orlando Fl)

Question: I recently had a stroke in my right cerebral lobe and occipital lobe. My angiogram showed no blockages up through my carotid arteries. My question is why do I have constant numbness in my left arm and leg? My doctor gave me lyrica to help but it doesn't seem to work well.

Answer The occipital lobe is one of the lobes of the cerebrum. There are four cerebral lobes commonly identified and these are the parietal, occipital, frontal, and temporal lobes. The occipital lobe is mostly associated with vision. Numbness in the affected limbs is not uncommon after stroke and can be unrelenting for some patients. Mirror therapy/sensory re-education might be beneficial in helping the brain perceive normal sensory input from your left side. Mirror therapy has been used effectively in helping decrease phantom limb pain in amputees and has shown some promising results in other patient populations with sensory and pain issues. To find out more about graded motor imagery and mirror therapy, you can visit gradedmotorimagery.com or search mirror therapy online. There are also many helpful youtube videos on mirror therapy (make sure it's a credible source).

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Sensory impairment

Question:: Is there a specific Type of stroke, or Area in the brain that will results in a sensory impairment?

Answer: Damage to the parietal lobe where the somatosensory cortex is located can cause sensation issues. Damage to the thalamus and brainstem which relay sensory information to the cortex can also cause sensation issues. If you know the specific location of a stroke (e.g. a middle cerebral artery infarction), you can research it online to see the specific effects.

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