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Common Problems after a Stroke

A list of common problems experienced after suffering a stroke are given below;

  • Cognitive Problems

Memory Problems
– Short term memory problems.
– Storing new memories.
– Slower memory recall speeds.

Attention Problems
– Difficulty selecting what information requires attention and what does not.
– Easily distracted.
– Struggle to focus on the task at hand
– Filter out distracting information, like background noise.
– Reduced ability to multi-task.

Perception Problems
– Problems perceiving the world around you.
– Brain struggles to organize the information it receives.
– Reduced ability to interpret information received

  • Emotional Problems

– If you are anxious you will probably have feelings of fear or unease. This can be accompanied by sweating, rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, dizziness and tremor. Anxiety can very suddenly arise, or may develop slowly over a long period of time.

– Since your stroke, you may have become more emotional than usual and/or have difficulty controlling your emotions.

Personality Changes
– A stroke can cause changes to your personality so that to others you may seem like a different person altogether.

– You’re bound to feel some anger and frustration after a stroke. It’s a normal part of the recovery process – a sign that you are aware of the changes the stroke has caused to your everyday life.

But you might find you experience anger much more frequently.

  • Vision Problems

– Visual problems are common after a stroke. They often resolve themselves in time as the brain recovers, although where recovery doesn’t happen, they can be quite difficult to adjust to.

Visual problems after a stroke falls into several categories, depending on exactly where in the brain the stroke occurred. These categories include:

– central vision loss – the partial or complete loss of vision in one or both of your eyes.
– visual field loss – you are unable to see properly either to the left or to the right of the centre of your field of vision.
– eye movement problems, and
– visual processing problems.

Eye movement problems are common after stroke. Problems can include:

– impaired eye movements
– inability to move both eyes up, down or sideways
nystagmus, and
– impaired depth perception.

  • Communication Problems

– can affect how you speak, your ability to understand what is being said, and your reading or writing skills.

– happens when a stroke causes weakness of the muscles you use to speak. If you have dysarthria, your voice may sound different and you may have difficulty speaking clearly.

– of speech happens when you cannot move muscles in the correct order and sequence to make the sounds needed for clear speech. You may not be able to pronounce words clearly

  • Physical Problems

Weakness and Paralysis
– Weakness of an arm, leg or both is probably the most common and widely recognised effect of a stroke.

Weakness can vary in its severity. Some people have very mild weakness in one part of their body, but many people find that one whole side of their body has been affected.

Paralysis is the loss of the ability to move a part of your body.

– Following a stroke, muscles can feel stiff and tight, and can become painful. This is known as spasticity.

Problems with Walking
– After a stroke, your toes may catch on the ground as you walk. This is known as ‘drop foot’. Walking can be more difficult and you may be more likely to trip or fall. You might feel unsteady on your feet and struggle to find your balance.

Changes in Sensation
– After a stroke, you may be less sensitive, for example to touch, so may not feel something you bump into.

You may have increased sensitivity, which can affect a range of senses such as taste, hearing, touch and muscular sensitivity to pain.

You may experience abnormal and unpleasant sensations such as the feeling of burning, cutting, tingling, stinging or numbness.

Often these sensations improve in time.

  • Other Problems

– After a stroke, you may feel like you lack energy or strength and feel constantly weary or tired. Post-stroke fatigue does not always improve with rest and is not necessarily related to recent activity. So it is not like typical tiredness.

Post-stroke fatigure can range from relatively mild to severe and the intensity of the tiredness does not seem to be related to the severity or type of stroke you have had.


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Robert Gurnee, MSW, DCSW, Director

Past president of the International Society of Neurofeedback & Research

Past president of the Neurofeedback Division of the Association of Applied Psychophysiology & Biofeedback

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Scottsdale Neurofeedback Institute
8114 E. Cactus Road - Suite 200
Scottsdale, Arizona, 85260

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Fax: (480) 424-7800