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.