Welcome back to the Healthy Life Podcast! Today we get to deal with one of several questions asked. The question of the week I received was also asked in several groups I monitor and interact with ...Question: “I’ve experienced hypersensitivity in my left arm since the stroke... I can’t handle heat and I’m really sensitive to it in water!. Unfortunately this is more common than you might realize but remember the stroke screwed up our data pathways and the information that is being transferred is often misinterpreted.
Ok I want you to imagine you are in a country that speaks a different language than you. How do people in that situation typically react? They usually raise their voice and speak louder and slower... think about the movie “Rush Hour”... our body often raises its “voice” and yells instead of speaking normally... Have you ever typed an entire message... clicked send and the recipient asks if your angry because the entire message was in CAPS. Oops! Hate that slip of the finger that inadvertently hit the caps lock key!
Our bodies often do that too... for those individuals who experience sensation issues I start by explaining and educating. Our body has three kinds of “sensors”... pain sensors, pressure sensors, and temperature sensors... usually the hypersensitivity that is experienced after a stroke is localized and effects a specific limb or part of the body. I personally experienced variations from total numbness to severe pain when feeling and sensation were returning.
When someone experiences differences in sensation they must immediately note it and then make certain to discuss it with your medical professionals treating you. It is often a game we play of “rule out” the cause... as long as it is not disease oriented, an allergic reaction, or medication induced... then it is typically “stroke” related and often put off or ignored all together. Many medical professionals who have not had experience with this do not necessarily understand the implications or importance.
If you consider that pre-stroke (I’m assuming) you had no issues then what is causing them now. Do not assume that pain, discomfort, or an unusual feeling is bad. These “feelings” are indicators to be noticed, noted, and monitored. As a medical professional I was taught to ask questions... regarding pain, discomfort, or an unusual feelings... what brought it on, where exactly is it, what changes it, is it constant or does it ebb like a wave (come and go). If we can ask and even better, answer some of these questions then we are much further along in answering or understanding the underlying issues.
A stroke can mess up or even sever those data lines of communication. Many times in the repair process we can begin to notice those changes in unique and unusual ways... that pain, discomfort, or an unusual feelings that we feel or sense are often times the healing that is going on within the body.
I suffered for three years with no feeling (total numbness) on the entire right side of my body. Now I had thought I had feeling, some sort of impaired sensation but it wasn’t until I was stuck with an 18 gage needle on my right leg and didn’t feel a thing that I was challenged and I didn’t want to admit the obvious. I couldn’t feel a thing! It then became apparent to me that the “feeling” that I thought I had was actually the feeling from my unaffected side as I reached and touched my affected side. My head was so screwed up I had not realized that basic fact and what really amazed me is I’d gone for three years thinking my sensation was there but impaired. Not only that but my doctors had come to the same conclusion!
What a frightening thought! Talk about the blind leading the blind. Well as my “tuina” (medical Chinese massage) continued I went from no feeling to that of excruciating pain. In fact when the doctor came I wanted to lock the door and keep her out... I don’t know what I had really expected. Perhaps to wake up and have my feeling return to normal... almost overnight! It wasn’t to be that way... but the “tuina” did what it was intended to do and everyday my body was beginning to feel more normal. Now I did notice something I called my “dancing ant”... that was particularly evident on my right arm. The feeling was intermittent and seemed to move. Some days it was more intense than others. But the reality was that the feeling was returning and data lines were being repaired.
So although it’s easy to jump to conclusions regarding our levels of sensitivity, I challenge you to push back on that initial or gut reaction. Instead ask yourself...Are you doing the things you need to improve the data streams that were effected? If so... great... if not ... then do those things that will improve data transfer and proper interpretation. Things like the luffa rub... small movements and exercising joints, repetition... relaxation exercises (I’ll do a whole podcast on this issue), practicing isolation and rotation... as data transfer improves... movement improves and stabilizes.
Well unfortunately it’s that time again...that’s all the time we have for today ... I’m glad we had this chance to discuss hypersensitivity and sensations and what we can do to help it... thanks for joining me today and I look forward to sharing with you next week, ...please feel free to leave me a message at stroke.global or on Facebook @stroke.global, I enjoy seeing them all.
It really is an honor and it’s been a pleasure sharing today and I hope you’ve enjoyed this podcast... we keep it brief so it’s easy to add to your day... we want to thank our sponsor TCM Restoration for helping us provide this venue. Feel free to share this podcast with others, offer your feedback and questions and follow us online on our website stroke.global or on our Facebook page. Well I look forward to learning more with you next week.
Welcome back to the “Healthy Life” podcast. Today I want to shift to a topic that was brought up on Facebook. A family member was talking about a relative that suffered a stroke and how devastating it was. I don’t have all the details but I can imagine. Seeing someone who used to be strong is in its self heartbreaking. But don’t stop there... don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the emotion and abandon all else. Sure, acknowledge it, not just for yourself... talk to the stroke survivor too. Let them know that you are committed to helping them restore their health and body. Never say never! I know your approached by many to just be content... hogwash! Fight! I was 2 years away from death.... oh that was 14 years ago! No one knows what tomorrow holds but as long as God gives us life... then I say it’s up to us to live, not simply exist.
To many it’s easy to throw someone else’s life away and think it’s the “kind” thing to do. But as a stroke survivor you don’t know how powerful the thoughts, prayers, and words of others are. Be real... not condescending... honest and supportive. The stroke survivor needs your strength and belief right now because they doubt everything! After all they just got their life, hopes and dreams thrown in their face. Now is the time to go to work at restoration,
I advise all stroke survivors to get ahold of a dry luffa sponge and gently rub it or have it rubbed on The effected area for 10 minutes everyday. Not scrubbed so the area is inflamed... but gently rubbed to promote stimulation and connections... that means arms, face, torso, legs etc. The stroke was in the brain and the connections have been screwed up and we need to retain them, remind the brain, and strengthen them. Regardless of how you “feel” it’s important that we, as stroke survivors, are loved and stimulated every day... to do anything else is condemning someone to a slow death.... remember the babies in the orphanage not given touch and love?
Exercises and movement at this point need to be consistent, involved, and assisted.... not necessarily intense and difficult. Simple exercises like rolling, helping with sit ups... or 45 degree proper sit ups at this point are great. But structured, planned activities are critical. Facial movement exercise is great... not always easy but simple and non stressful. Brushing hair and brushing teeth, gums and mouth are stimulating. Involvement of the effected side is critical. Do not abandon it... use it, involve it, work it with range of motion exercises. Ask others how these are done... we hope to have videos available soon on YouTube. Teach others. Most people want to help and just don’t know how to.
For those who struggle with aphasia... call a retired teacher (elementary teachers are the best) to help...these folks are saints and phenomenal at motivating. Recite word lists, involve the brain... get out and get some sun... don’t stay cooped up inside. Trust me I know how easy it is to “park” yourself but do not succumb to that temptation.
I mention again we are working on a free app that will help stroke survivors and caregivers, friends and family to be accountable and successful. If you want to be notified of its release follow the stroke.global page on Facebook or our website stroke.global. We are trying to make it simple and comprehensive!
As a family member do not under estimate your importance... you are special and many times are the only effective advocate. Be there and be vocal!Well that’s all the time we have for today ... thanks so much for joining me, and remember be willing to stretch and grow ... please feel free to leave me a message at stroke.global or on Facebook @stroke.global.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this podcast we keep it brief so it’s easy to add to your day... we want to thank our sponsor TCM Restoration for helping us provide this venue. Feel free to share this podcast with others, offer your feedback and questions and follow us online on our website stroke.global or on our Facebook page. See you back here tomorrow!