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Stroke

Stiffness in limbs after stroke

11/21/2006

Question:

I am a 39 year old male and was fit and healthy until 1st September 2006 when I suffered a stroke (infarct) behind my right eye. This has effected my left hand side and I have had a loss of all of my peripheral vision to the left.I have been told that my vision will not improve. I have got numbness on the left side of my head and face and my left leg and arm in particular are very stiff - my arm feels like I have been `pumping iron`. It has also effected the co-ordination of both the arm and leg. Are these the normal symptoms and what is the liklihood of my arm, leg & face returning to pre-stroke condition/feeling? Thank you in anticipation ...

Answer:

These symptoms are expected after a stroke.  Vision can improve, but this is probably less likely than the possibility of recovery of sensory function.  Things may get better over time--unfortunately, we do not understand the recovery process well enough yet to be able to give you a prediction about how likely recovery will be.

I presume that you are receiving rehabilitation.  If the stiffness (often referred to as spasticity) continues, it may require treatment both for your comfort (it can be quite painful) and to help with your recovery.  You might ask the therapists or your doctors about what treatments are available locally.  Medications can be helpful, and for some patients injections of botulinum toxin can also help.

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Response by:

Brett   Kissela, MD Brett Kissela, MD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Director, Neurology Residency Program
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati