Pain After a Stroke: Symptoms to Watch Out For
Left untreated, spasticity progresses into something more painful: contractures. Contracture develops in more than 50 percent of stroke survivors and most commonly affects the hips and shoulders.
Over time, contracture causes loss of motion. It starts with the shortening of soft tissue structures, usually spanning more than one joint, including skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joint capsules. With reduced range of motion in any of these areas, a stroke survivor’s joint mobility declines causing pain, stiffness and ultimately, contracture.
The good news is that the affected soft tissue can lengthen again with proper stretching. Usually, low-intensity prolonged stretches (around 6–12 hours/day) are needed to stretch out the affected muscles. The more functional use a patient can get out of the contracted limb, the better their results and relief from pain.