Balance

Hi I'm 9 months post stroke ,caused by heart surgery .I have regained movement on my left side ,but permanently lost the peripheral vision in my left eye. I still feel very off balance when I walk and find for some reason I find myself veering off the the right ,I find this very frustrating and often feel slightly drunk when I walk ,if I go out with my daughter I often hold her arm to steady myself ,is this normal to feel this way ? X

Hi Nicola, Balance is an issue for many of us survivors. I lost a little peripheral vision, but having a weakness on one side also means we are less sure footed and have a tendency to compensate by using our strong side more. I had a lot of physio in hospital, including standing on a balance machine for 15 minutes a time. After hospital, I went to strength and balance classes and now go to an active seniors exercise class three times a week. My exercise classes has a lot of emphasis on strength and balance and have helped me enormously.

I walk with a stick outdoors, but do not use one indoors. I was warned to expected falls when I left hospital and did have a few, fortunately not many. I had been taught how to get up from a fall and that also helped. Three years on my walking varies. I have the odd ‘good’ day, but tend generally to have a rolling gait (a bit like being drunk). I refuse all help, other than when I have to go down steepish slopes. I do not like walking on uneven ground or gravel, as these tend to make me feel less sure footed.

Hope my experiences will give you a bit of reassurance. Three years on, I try to improve my walking every day. Nothing post stroke is easy I’m afraid.

As always, John has given xcellent advice. I have left sided weakness and I have been pretty much ignoring it for three years. Bad error on my part. My right side is now cracking up because it has been covering for the weak left side. I have taken a short course on basic, gentle yoga. Not the full blown stuff, but gentle and mainly seated. It has taught me to establish where my core is and how to "ground" my feet.

Now I am reviving my walking etc.

Please note I do not have "neglect" which is more severe than weakness. Your diagnosis should give you hints on what the doctors concluded.

Getting someone (your daughter) to steady you is good, provided that you are quietly working at reducing the help so that you are steady yourself in due course.

Physio and balance classes etc are worth their weight in gold.

Please persist, be positive and smile a lot.

We are here for you Nicola, you are not alone

Best wishes

Colin