(NC) June is Stroke Awareness Month and did you know that over 400,000 Canadians currently live with the effects of a stroke – and those include the mental, emotional, and physical challenges that impact the quality of life? There is good news in medical advancements however, so here’s an update.
The physical effects of a stroke vary and they depend on the areas of the brain affected, and the degree of damage. One of the most painful effects for adults is limb spasticity, a condition where muscles become tight and stiff, and resist being stretched. Spasticity affects more than 65 per cent of people within weeks and months of an attack and usually affects the arms, fingers, and/or the legs. Spasticity can also be accompanied by painful muscle spasms. The restriction of movement makes day-to-day life a struggle and may require caregiver assistance for even the most basic movements.
If you are currently managing a stroke or are a caregiver, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s often a long road to recovery taking months and even years. Seeking therapies including physiatry, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and podiatry can help in relieving pain, increasing mobility, and improving quality of life for stroke survivors.
For limb spasticity, there are medications such as muscle relaxants, benzodiazepines (sedatives/anti-anxiety drugs) and lesser known injectable treatments such as botulinum toxin, which are all effective treatment options. These medications can help promote muscular relaxation, thereby reducing spasticity and discomfort. Consulting a medical expert is the first step in determining the treatment option best for you.
For more information and local resources, visit www.beyondstroke.ca. This website offers information targeting long-term physical challenges associated with stroke, not just the immediate effects.