After stroke hand and arm problems

Two years after a stroke on the left side, he is left handed, my husbands problems with his left arm and hand are getting worse. He gets a cold hand when the rest of him is,warm, with stiffness and pain intermittently. The symptoms are brought on when he uses it for even a short time…As he is 89 years old and having balance and walkng difficulties the only way he can pass the time entails using his hands.
I have tried to get help from doctors but they just suggest pain killers.
If there is anything we could do to help him i would hate to miss out through ignorance.
I would be grateful for any advice.


Hi Topsy, I’m sorry I don’t know an awful lot to help with here, other’s will be along later with more advice and practical suggestion I’m sure :grinning:

Have you tried using hand warmer packs inside fingerless thermal gloves for instance, I know a lot of golfers use them, particularly in winter. Would a bit of light massage over the whole arm also help improve circulation to heat up his hands. I think this is a any issue that comes to us all with age as we become left mobile :face_with_diagonal_mouth:

Thank you for your reply…you are right massage and gloves do help ,i know it is something we will probably have to accept and he is lucky it could be so much worse, i just dont want to let him down by not exploring every avenue in case there is something out there to really help.

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Oh I know what you mean and I’ll be keeping an eye on this post too. Even now I find my hands…and feet are cold as I sit here typing. But I know as soon as I get up doing other things they will warm up again. In the mean time my son has just brought me a nice warm cup of tea to curl my hands around :smile:

@Topsy hello
I too suffer cold hands, they are like ice to touch, but as @EmeraldEyes said once I start moving around they warm up. Thermal hand warmers were a massive help over the winter. My gp would not give medication, thankfully. On enough pills as it is. Have you tried thera putty it helped keep my fingers moving and aided dexterity. My stroke affected my left side, I’m right handed, but force myself to type with my left hand, using each finger. It takes forever, but works for me.

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@Topsy i also get cold hands & feet. I can often be found wearing gloves. Has he been checked for reynauds ? It is usually accompanied by fingers / toes changing colour but just thought I’d mention it in case it helps.

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@Mrs5K Geesh, it’s very distinctive isn’t it. Just looked at images online.

@EmeraldEyes it sure can be. My sister has it & often has white fingers. Not everyone’s symptoms are that severe though…thankfully.

If I venture into the f4eezer I usually feel like I have frostbite so now wear gloves to retrieve items from the freezer :rofl:

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I’m like that just washing rice under cold water before cooking :cold_face:

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What I am about to suggest might sound a little strange, it is born from my personal experience.
Firstly I think the discomfort and pain is not a backward step. To me it is part of a ‘waking up’ process.
I don’t know if you have ever had part of you body, leg, arm, hand, finger or such ‘go to sleep’, as a result of sitting awkwardly or in a stress position that cuts off blood flow?

The part of the body concerned no longer has sensation or ability to function. As circulation returns there is tingling, maybe intense pain too, then slowly movement again becomes possible. All of this takes place within a minute or two.

I think a similar but much slower process takes place after stroke. The stages of return last longer, take much more time to pass through. When I left hospital after two months I was almost completely paralysed down one side. There was sensation but little or no movement. Since that time, now about a year later, I have gradually become able to perform a very wobbly walk for short distances within the house. I have some slight ability to move and use my affected arm and hand. This has been a very slow, gradual process which I believe may still bring more improvement. I must be patient and use what gains I make to build up. I accept the occasional pain and discomfort being pretty sure that I am headed in the right direction, even if the pace is ‘painfully’ slow.

Early on my hand would not move, it seemed just a dead weight, my leg and foot were unresponsive too. As I lay in bed I sort of imagined moving my limbs, my fingers. I still do. A connection between the brain and the movement does not become immediately apparent. For example, by imagining lifting a finger I gradually regained a little control. Movement was scarcely happening but the connection was there and that connection gradually improved. To remind myself I lifted a finger on my ‘good’ side’ then went through the motions of the same on my weak side. I now do this finger lifting exercise with each one at a time. I’m trying this with my toes too. Mostly it is scarcely discernible but I am intensely aware of it and have found this beginning can be built upon.

As mentioned before, occasionally there is excruciating pain shooting through one part or another of my body, but I bear that, sure that it indicates improvement. I certainly don’'t want to numb it and to return to a period of inaction.

I am not a doctor, neurologist or therapist, my terminology is poor at best. This writing might sound disconnected but it is offered with the genuine hope someone might find it useful.

keep on keepin’ on
:grinning: :+1:


Thank you for your replies, I am hoping hearing how other people cope will make my husband more hopeful , i know his age adds to his problems but talking about it this morning and how lucky we were at the time of his stroke and how others are coping definitely gave him a lift so thanks again and luck be with you all.

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What you are saying is in actual fact true…though I too lack any medical terminology for it either. But I have experienced in the past just as you describe it. I had arthritis for many years and this can throw out the spin and affect how I’d walk. I used to go to an Osteopath periodically and a few days after he’d worked on it, the spin would unlock with snaps, pops and clicks all the way up and down my spin, shooting pains, tingles and pins and needle in my legs. This usually happened in bed at night so I’d have to get up and walk around. It was great, walking more freely, twisting, bending, the back just felt so looser, upright and lovely.

More recently now, I’ve also experienced this from working on my foot drop…that, I think, stems from the hip/lower spine…and the same tingles, pins and needles, sharp pain down my thigh. But it also has me walking normally for a few days. The first time it happened in the night, the foot drop was back by the end of the next day, but that period of normality has been increasing over the months to almost 5 days with maybe a hint of the drop at the end of the day. And so now I know my problem stems from my hip/spine…sciatic nerve pain down my thigh…my spine is out of alignment, at a guess.

Personally I think a certain amount of these affects stem from the resultant bad posture caused by the stroke. Your stroke side collapses, your spin curves over to the left or right, depending, the opposite side tenses up to compensate thus creating pain and such in weird and wonderful areas, shoulders, arms, back, hips, legs, it can even be in the toes.

I’ve found from past experience, a good Osteopath or sports physiotherapist are better able to work out those kinks than any NHS physio has ever been able to do for me. If I could afford one now, that’s where I would be, but as prices have increased I have to content myself with my diy massage hook…and in truth, it’s just as good. I sometimes use the electric one but I can’t dig in deep with that :sweat_smile:

So when it comes to those kinds of pains/pin and needles/whatever, it’s no pain, no gain in my book. Like you Bobbi, I see that as imminent improvements to come :smile:

So strengthen your backs people :grin: Your core muscles. Because that’s where all your motion stems from, that’s where your spine is…which is where you central nerve system is…which is where all pain stems from! Look after that first and you very well reduce your own aches and pains if not free of them completely. :wink:

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After reading these replies i felt i had to say , my admiration to you all, including my husband until you have seen or experienced the affects of strokes you do not realise the strengh of determination in people to recover as much normality and independence as they can…congratulations .


Ah well now, your forgetting the other half of the team here, you yourself play no small part in all the recovery. Our loved ones/carers play an equal part in their support for us and share in the glory of our recoveries. So congratulations to all :wink:


Here, here, @EmeraldEyes and thank you
I am a little late with this reply, but when we discover we are not alone and that our struggle is worthwhile then we get a tremendous boost along the path to recovery.

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