Chronic pain common after stroke

Updated:Apr 4,2013

If you’ve had a stroke and can’t kick the aches even months later, you’re not alone.

Persistent or chronic pain is a common, yet likely under-recognized, complication of a clot-caused stroke. It may occur even when a stroke is mild or moderate, and may begin months later.

In a large study of treatments to prevent a second stroke, about 10 percent of stroke survivors developed chronic pain. It was more common in women and people with more severe strokes, those who drank alcohol and people with other conditions like depression, diabetes and narrowed leg arteries.

People who developed post-stroke chronic pain were more than twice as likely to lose independent functioning compared to those without pain during their recovery.

Those with chronic pain also were more likely to lose brain function — possibly due to the use of pain medications.
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