My fiance (who is only 27) suffered from a right hemisphere stroke a little over a week ago. Although they still haven't determined the reason for the stroke, he is home now and is starting physical, speech, and occupational therapy.
There are many issues we are learning about and dealing with that are a result of the stroke, but the reason for this post is because of his pain at night.
About three days ago he started waking up in the middle of the night complaining of "shooting pain" in his feet, legs, arm, and shoulders-- mostly on the left side affected by the stroke, but sometimes on both sides. He is miserable and dreads the night because of the pain. It subsides during the day. His doctors have been little help thus far and Advil is certainly not helping. I'm assuming that this is some sort of nerve pain as a result of the stroke.
Does anyone have any experience with this? Any advice on what could help manage the pain? I feel helpless.
I am so sorry for what you are both going through. It is wonderful you found this board. It is filled with very carrying and knowledgable people. I have been one year stroke recovery and I know that pain you are talking about. It seems the nerve pain and muslce spasams intensify at night. I know there are medications out there that help with nerve pain caused by stroke. Your doctor should help you with that. I know its difficult to get them to listen sometimes but I cant stress enough to get a second opinion. My second opinion was a very good thing. In the doctors defence maybe he is waiting to prescribe medication until they find out what caused the stroke. However, sometimes they never find out why. So we need to make sure we are doing everything we can to be comfortable. Its hard to be positive when we are tired and in pain. So important to get good sleeps in. Is he laying down during the day and sleeping? This helps with the healing and especially being sleep deprived he needs to nap.
I wish I could help you more. I still suffer from the pain at night but only if I over do my walking during the day.
You will hear from some very helpful people on this board who may have some good advice for you. Reading other posts also helps you gain information. All strokes are different yet the same. Wish I could help you more.
You are doing a great job helping to find him answers. Keep up the good work
Hello Icochran and welcome to the board.
I am sorry to hear about your fiance's stroke. It is just amazing that a stroke can happen to anyone at anytime, not matter the age. So my heart goes out to both of you. I want you to know that stroke recovery is a long and slow process, so be patient and positive with your fiance. Since he just had a stroke a week ago I am sure you will have many questions in the next week's and month's and this is a good place for you to get information and support from other's that have been right where you are right now. You can also vent and scream if you need to, we all understand because a stroke is very overwhelming to everyone involved.
I would like to comment on the pain and sleeping. I have heard from so many stroke survivors that become to start finding all of these strange pains and other annoying things with our bodies that start to happen after the stroke. I call them "phantom pains" because 99% of the time to doctors have no clue either. I stopped telling my dr. about it, because he really had no answer and kind of started to ignore it. There is a regular writer here - coupe - how has come up with a great saying for us stroke survivors. It is - Accept-Analize-Adapt. I will give you an example with your fiance's pain and sleeping.
I had the exact same thing with me. Right after my stroke I would have horrible pain on whatever shoulder I was sleeping on. And to make it even weirder is that whatever side I was sleeping on, the other shoulder would fall asleep. The one I was not laying on! Figure that one out? I too had horrible sleeps for weeks and for my whole life I have only slept on my sides. So what I did was accept - that when I sleep on my sides my shoulders hurt and this is probably from my stroke. Analized - I need to get a good night's sleep and I am tired of having pain every night. Adapt - If I sleep on my back my shoulders don't hurt, but I can't sleep on my back, but I am going to have to learn how, so I did. I made myself learn how to fall asleep on my back with now shoulder pain and my first good night's sleep was awesome.
I am not saying that sleeping on his back with solve the problem. What I am saying is that since his stroke, his body is different now and it is an big adjustment for everyone and a lot of times, the doctors can't help when dealing with strokes. They do great on the physical side like walking again or moving your limbs again or speech therapy, etc. But there are so many things that they have no clue to or even know where to begin. And that is where every person's stroke is different to each person and I guarantee that each one of us have some kind of weird little things with our bodies after a stroke. None of them are the same, but we all agree that we all have them - these phantom pains. Remember his brain has been altered from the stroke. Just so you know, those pains I had while sleeping eventually went away and I can sleep on my sides again. I hope something here may have helped. Please write back if you have any more questions or just need some support.
I too have lrft side leg pain aggravated by walking. My physio put it down to the way i weight shifted while walking and some referred pain from osteoarthritis in my back. Like you, not walking feels better! I know i should be practising walking more but it reallly HURTTTTS.
I am so sorry to hear about your fiance having a stroke. OMG only 27?! My heart goes out to both of you.
My husband had a stroke back in November. He too had the same pains at night that you are describing. It was horrible and I do know how you feel wanting soo damn badly to be able to help him and make the pain go away.
His was mainly in his shoulder and arm, but sometimes on the leg too. And also his head on the so called "good side" because he had a craniotomy done on that side to relive swelling. So either side he slept on, he was screwed.
Like Tim, he did find that sleeping on his back helped somewhat even tho he was used to sleeping on his side.
After a while we found that massaging his arm or leg helped relieve the pain, so you might try that too? or sometimes a heating pad on the shoulder would also help.
I do think you will find so many more answers here than you can get from the doctors. I know that in my hubby's case the drs very rarely have any concrete answers or advice, but the wonderful people right here on this board are always right there to lend a helping hand and an ear if we just need to vent.
Hugs to you Icho. You are waaay too young to have to be dealing with this. Hang in there and try to be patient. I know how frustrating it can get just wanting to HELP when there is not much you can do.
Know that it is still the very early stages of his recovery and things WILL get better.
The following user gives a hug of support to kel61: Positive Cynic (07-03-2011)
Welcome to you and your fiance. I am 6 months post right side stroke and I too have trouble getting comfy at night. It is mainly my left shoulder &arm and left thigh (like Mulchie, aggravated by walking). I have not explored pain meds so i am sorry i can't offer any advice on that.
I hope the pain issue resolves soon as a good sleep is so important
I just recently was told by my girlfriend that Memory foam that you put on your bed is really really good for hip and knee pain. I dont know if that helps but thought I would pass it along. I am going to try it. Im sure it would help with shoulder pain also.
Best of Luck Hope he is making out ok. God Bless Mulchie
Hello, I am Janet and a survivor of 4 strokes at the same time, about 8 years ago now. I would also like to join the other in welcoming you to our "family" of stroke survivors and the ones who love them, such as you... We are always here to offer whatever support or answers to questions you might have as you go through this journey of stroke recovery with your fiancee'. I am so sorry that you are facing this at your young age, and likely with your wedding in the planning stage. You can get through this, and we are here to help.
Although I did not suffer the pains following my strokes, I have heard my share of reports of others who have. All the advice you have received already is very good, and with the addition of Mulchie's idea about the memory foam, that is a wonderful idea...I would like to expand on that idea a bit.
I have recently had the chance to try out a memory foam bed that was purchased from Wal-mart.com. It offers merchandise not offered in the stores, but still at a very good Walmart price. My man has always woken up in pain, and has never been able to stay in bed for more that a few hours due to his body pain. He decided to buy this bed because of the price compared to the name brand price, which was well over $1,000. He was able to purchase a queen size bed, with an 8 inch memory foam mattress for under $300.00. It was delivered right to the house in a matter of days. This mattress has changed his life! No more pain, much better nights of sleep and days that are not filled with drowsiness and fatigue. It might be something to look into.
Besides making him as comfortable as you can, he also needs a lot of emotional support, for he is likely quite confused and scared at this point. Please trust us in knowing that things WILL get better, and you can do this. I have found that a positive attitude has been the most important thing in stroke recovery. That goes for you too. We will be here at your side as you work through this.
Best wishes for both you and your fiancee, it does get easier with time.