As I read through everyone's comments and replies, I'm a bit confused. When mentioning spasticity, is that the same as muscle spasms? And, is botox the same as cortisone? For example, I have gotten shots on my left shoulder, but they were not labeled as botox shots. I was told that I was getting cortisone shots. Could they possibly be the same thing? My shots actually helped a lot. My left shoulder was in fiery pain once the nerves started to wake up. Anything that brushed against my shoulders ( my hair, bra strap, pajama top, a shawl, or a hug from my girls) would literally have me in tears! It was one of the worst pains that I have ever experienced! Thankfully, I no longer hurt like that and am now able to move my arm, hand, and fingers. I still go to therapy sessions where they're helping me with a full range of arm motions. It's difficult to lift my arm straight up to the sky. I was told that I have a frozen shoulder, and my therapist is helping with trying to loosen it. Also, spasticity is something that I experience on my arm and fingers. When I'm tired or cold, my arm automatically tends to bend and stay close to my body. My fingers want to close and also stay close to my body in a flexed in position. When I notice this happening, I quickly try to do stretching arm, hand, and finger exercises because, otherwise, if the fingers close too tightly, it's very painful to try to open them again. Aaah, the joys of recovering from a stroke! Not! :-(
On my left leg, I have experienced what my doctors have referred to as muscle spasms. Those felt like extreme (very painful) Charlie Horses! I kid not, those darn spasms would awaken me in the middle of the night and I was barely able to breathe! I was placed on a muscle relaxer, Tizanandine, 4 MG,for about half a year, and luckily, I no longer suffer from those monstrous muscle spasms! Thank God.
For the arm, hand, and finger spasticity, I'm on a nerve pain medication: Gabapentin, 100MG. I take 2 in the morning, and 3 at night. They help. I have tried getting off Gabapentin, but after a day, the spasticity pain is back. I feel it mostly on my shoulder when it hits me hard. So, for now, I will continue taking it, per doctor's orders.
By the way, I'm Margaret. I suffered a stroke last year -- May 2009 -- at the age of 48. It's believed that the stroke was caused by the low-estrogen birth control pill YAZ. I was on it for only a month . It was supposed to help me with the lovely transitional stages of menopause. My doctor intended for me to stay on YAZ for 2-3 years. Little did he or I know that on the night of May 15, as I slept, the right side of my brain was going to be attacked! I never felt it coming, nor felt anything while it happened. I was fast asleep. I awoke the next morning, May 16, 2009, unable to move. The left side of my body was paralyzed! This past year has been almost surreal in nature. At times I believe that it was a nightmare from which I still haven't quite awakened from. The good news is that my boyfriend proposed and we had a lovely, quaint wedding ceremony early this past February. Also, about a week and a half ago, I passed my driving test, and am now able to get behind the wheel again! My left arm tends to go into spasticity when I drive, and that worries me. My therapist said that with practice and time, the arm will do better, and the feeling of spasticity will diminish. I hope she's right because I find myself tensing up as I drive. I only allow myself to go short distances, and I get behind the wheel only if I really need to go somewhere. No joy riding for me -- not yet. I do not feel secure enough to hit the open highways yet!
I have no medical history of strokes in my family. I have never smoked, do not have high blood pressure, no high cholesterol problems, no weight problems. I have (had) always been pretty healthy with only the occasional winter cold or allergies. I did suffer from work-related high stress, and often had terrible migraines as a result of the stress. Other than that I was always one of the lucky ones who always received a clean bill of health during my annual physical exams. This goes to prove that strokes can strike at any time and no one is really immune to them. :-(