Things That Affect My Stroke Symptoms Negatively aka “Hit My Wall”!

Okay, it’s been just over three years now since my stroke.  I know how lucky I am to have survived, and how lucky I am to have progressed so much.  My days are getting easier, my “brain fuzziness” moments are getting farther and fewer between.

But there are things that negatively affect my “always” stroke symptoms!  These things will make me “lose it”, or as my husband says, “Hit your wall!”

My list of things that can make me “Hit my wall”:

  • Large Loud Crowds – Way too much stimulation!
  • Long conversations – Having to listen and try to participate in a long conversation will usually have me “loosing it” because I lose focus.
  • Lack of Sleep – Nuff Said!
  • Alcohol – Wine has become a very weird thing for me.  Sometimes a couple or more glasses, no problem.  But more and more, I will be fine, and WHAM, half a glass later and I’ve “hit my wall” BIG TIME!  I find that my right side, especially my arm and leg will spasm and tighten up for about a good 15-20 minutes and hurt like hell!

So I’m curious to find out what will make you “hit your wall”?


Spasticity: A Pain in the Ass & Everywhere Else!!

From the National Stroke Association:  Spasticity is a condition in which muscles become tight and stiff, which makes movement, especially of the arms or legs, difficult or uncontrollable. Approximately 40 percent of stroke survivors live with spasticity.


Spasticity can cause long periods of forceful contractions in major muscle groups, causing painful muscle spasms. The spasms produce a pain similar to athletic cramping.

Symptoms include:

  • A tight fist
  • Bent elbow
  • Arm pressed against the chest
  • Stiff knee
  • Pointed foot
  • Stiffness in the arms, fingers or legs
  • Painful muscle spasms
  • A series of involuntary rhythmic contractions and relaxations in a muscle or group of muscles that lead to uncontrollable movement or jerking, called clonus
  • Increased muscle “tone”
  • Abnormal posture
  • Hyperexcitable reflexes


Since my stroke spasticity affects my right side daily.  I take Baclofen, but it doesn’t take away all the pain, stiffness or spasms.  Most nights, I  wake up a couple times.  But sometimes, (like last night), I will wake up four or five times with pain in my right leg & foot.  I will have on/off cramping in my foot & calf muscles, in addition to the ever-present foot spasm.

Some nights I will wake up, sit up, and grab my foot and use a t-shirt or towel to pull the toes up and toward me for 1-2 minutes.  It feels so good to have the foot in this position.

I’ve tried wearing my AFO to bed to keep it in this position, but it’s so uncomfortable.  I have seen a couple “night” type braces that supposedly keep the foot in this position, but I hate to spend money (insurance won’t cover it), order it, and then find out it’s a waste.

Anyone out there tried a night-time brace to help keep their foot in a flexed position with any success?  What have you done/tried for your night-time spasticity pain?

What does it feel like when having a stroke?

I got this question one day from a student therapist and I realized I had never really talked about what it felt like “during the actual stroke!”

Please read my page: How It Felt When Having My Stroke!