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Understanding the Tingling Sensation After Stroke: Causes & Treatment Methods

stroke patient touching side of her face to show tingling

Nonpainful tingling sensations after stroke are more common that you might expect. This raises questions about why it occurs and how to make the tingling stop.

Despite 60% of stroke patients experiencing sensory deficits, rehabilitation often goes overlooked. One reason could be that sensation is not exactly necessary for the activities of daily living, causing some clinicians deprioritize or neglect it.

However, if tingling sensations are persistent, it can greatly decrease quality of life for stroke patients. Therefore, it’s time to shed some much-needed light on this condition.

You’re about the learn the mains causes and treatment methods for tingling sensations after stroke.

Causes of Tingling Sensation After Stroke

Before we get started, it’s important to work with your medical team for a formal diagnosis even if you think you know what’s happening. The right diagnosis will help you pursue the right treatment.

With that said, let’s discuss the top 3 causes of tingling sensations after stroke:

First, a stroke in the parietal lobe can cause issues with numbness or tingling after stroke. That’s because the parietal lobe plays a strong role in interpreting your senses, including touch.

Second, tingling could be a sign of non-stroke-related medical complications. For instance, if diabetes goes unmanaged, it can cause tingling in the hands and feet due to nerve damage.

This is another reason why it’s important to work with your medical team for a diagnosis.

Could Tingling Actually Be a Good Thing?

And finally, sometimes tingling is actually a sign of recovery from stroke, especially if spasticity is involved. Some stroke patients report tingling and/or twitching in their affected muscles as spasticity begins to decline.

However, it’s tough to tell whether tingling indicates a problem or progress. This dichotomy makes it critical to take the side effect seriously and work with your medical team for an accurate diagnosis.

However, we previously mentioned that sensory function goes overlooked during rehabilitation. If you receive push-back from your therapist when you ask about tingling sensations, it could be time to get a second opinion elsewhere.

The stroke rehabilitation field has made massive gains in the last couple decades, but there’s still a long way to go. Collectively, your questions could make a big difference to guide attention from healthcare professionals.

Treatment for Tingling Sensation After Stroke

Now that you understand the three main causes of tingling sensations after stroke, let’s discuss recovery.

Some stroke side effects go away on their own — a phenomenon known as “spontaneous recovery.”

However, it’s best to take action to reduce tingling sensations, even if you have hope for spontaneous recovery. Action is always better than no action.

To help reduce tingling sensations after stroke, treatment will depend upon the original cause of the issue. For instance, if tingling stems from a non-stroke-related complication like diabetes, then managing that condition will be the best approach.

However, most patients experience tingling sensations due to the neurological impact of stroke, and fortunately this has a specific solution.

How Sensory Reeducation Helps Tingling After Stroke

For most patients, when tingling issues are caused by damage to the part of the brain that regulates sensation, the best treatment method is sensory reeducation.

By practicing sensory reeducation exercises, you can help retrain the brain to interpret your senses again. While it’s not guaranteed to make the tingling sensation go away completely, there’s a chance that it can greatly reduce it.

One example of sensory reeducation involves “texture hunting.” During this exercise, various objects are buried in a bowl of uncooked rice. The patient reaches the affected (tingling) hand in the bowl and searches for the objects.

This sensory stimulation helps retrain the brain to interpret your senses. But you need to practice sensory reeducation exercises on a consistent basis to see results; because neuroplasticity is activated by consistency and repetition.

Wrap Up: How to Overcome Tingling After Stroke

If you want to overcome tingling sensation after stroke, then sensory reeducation exercises are the best approach. It’s important to have a formal diagnosis from your doctor first though, because they can help identify the problem.

If the tingling sensation is not caused by damage from stroke, then there might be other factors at play that require medical attention. Always exercise caution when new side effects occur after a stroke and seek a formal diagnosis.

Work closely with your medical team so that you can maximize your chances of a full recovery from stroke. Also take as much action as you can on your own by practicing sensory reeducation exercises on a daily basis at home. Good luck!

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