25 Stroke Side Effects

Every stroke is different, so every survivor has different side effects. 

There are many conditions that may develop after a stroke. Most are common and will improve with time and rehabilitation. It’s important to become aware of the common effects of stroke and how to improve your physical and emotional well-being.

Here are the most common ones.

Physical Stroke Side Effects

1. Hemiparesis (Weakness on One Side of the Body)

Learn more about hemiparesis.

2. Hemiplegia (Paralysis on One Side of the Body)

Learn more about paralysis.

3. Spasticity (Stiff, Tight Muscles)

When affected muscles become stiff and tight, it’s due to a condition called spasticity. See this page.

4. Contractures (Extremely Stiff, Painful Muscles)

Contractures are an advanced stage of spasticity characterized by extreme stiffness in the muscles, joints, or connective tissue.

5. Shoulder Pain

6. Shoulder Subluxation (Dislocation)

7. Frozen Shoulder

Because the shoulder socket is particularly vulnerable to injury, many stroke patients experience shoulder problems. See this page.

8. Foot Drop

7. Curled Toes

See this page for more about legs and feet.

8. Balance Issues

Rehabilitation exercises, particularly for the legs and core, can help restore movement in the body and improve balance. See this page.

9. Learned Nonuse

This condition causes your brain to completely forget about the affected muscles. Learn how to prevent learned nonuse.

10. Visual Problems

Learn more about vision problems after a stroke. A stroke in the temporal lobe or occipital lobe might result in prosopagnosia, face blindness.

11. Dysphagia (Difficulty Swallowing)

Learn more about dysphagia.

12. Aphasia and Difficulty with Language

Learn more about language problems after stroke.

Sensory Stroke Side Effects

13. Hemineglect

Hemineglect causes a stroke patient to not notice things in the environment on their affected side.
Learn more about hemineglect.

14. Sensory Issues

Many patients experience sensory issues such as numbness, tingling, pins-and-needles, and issues with feeling hot/cold. Luckily, these issues can be treated through sensory reeducation. Learn more about sensory reeducation.

15. Post-Stroke Pain

16. Localize Pain

Localized pain after stroke can be caused by other stroke side effects like spasticity or contractures. This type of pain is best treated by addressing the underlying condition.
Learn more about chronic pain.

Medical Complications After Stroke

16. Incontinence

Learn more about incontinence after stroke.

17. Seizures

About 5% of stroke survivors will experience seizures after stroke. Learn more about seizures after stroke.

18. Bedsores

Bedsores often happen during longer hospital stays, and they are unfortunately very common in stroke patients. Learn more about bedsores,

19. Pneumonia

Sometimes stroke patients with dysphagia accidentally inhale food into the lungs, which can lead to pneumonia in stroke patients.
Learn more about pneumonia after stroke.

20. Deep Venous Thrombosis

Deep venuous thrombosis is a medical condition where blood clots form in veins of the legs, often due to impaired mobility. Learn more about DVT after stroke.

21. Headaches

Headaches are a common and worrisome stroke side effect because thay signify further medical complications. Learn more about headaches after stroke.

22. Post-Stroke Fatigue

Learn more about sleep after stroke.

Emotional Complications

23. Pseudobulbar Affect

24. Personality Changes

25. Post-Stroke Depression and Anxiety

Random bouts of laughter and/or crying may stem from a post stroke side effect known as emotional lability or pseudobulbar effect.

Learn more about emotions after a stroke.

See also