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Sensory and Movement Disturbances With a Stroke

Effects of a Stroke on Movement (Including Paralysis)

Paralysis is one of the most common disabilities resulting from a stroke. The paralysis is usually on the side of the body opposite the side of the brain damaged by stroke, and may affect:
 
  • The face
  • An arm
  • A leg
  • The entire side of the body.
 
This one-sided paralysis is called hemiplegia (one-sided weakness is called hemiparesis). People with hemiparesis or hemiplegia may have difficulty with everyday activities such as walking or grasping objects, and some people may have problems with swallowing, called dysphagia. This is due to damage to the part of the brain that controls the muscles for swallowing. Damage to a lower part of the brain, the cerebellum, can affect the body's ability to coordinate movement, and a disability called ataxia, leading to problems with body posture, walking, and balance.
 
(Click Ataxia for more information about ataxia.)
 

Sensory Disturbances (Including Pain)

People who have had a stroke may lose the ability to feel touch, pain, temperature, or position. Sensory deficits may also hinder the person's ability to recognize objects that he or she is holding. Some stroke survivors may experience sensory deficits so severe they cannot even recognize their own limbs. Some people who have had a stroke may experience pain, numbness, or odd sensations of tingling or prickling in paralyzed or weakened limbs, a condition known as paresthesia.
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