Okay, hi again. 🙂 This will be the last installment of Herbal Helps for Stroke Patients. Today, we’ll be talking about…
Another thing stroke victims are often having to deal with is spasticity issues. I used to think of the word ‘spastic’ as in ‘spazzing out’ not realizing what it actually originated from. For me, my right, affected leg is troublesome this way, particularly my foot. Lots of muscle tension and tightness. Many strokies have it much worse than me with their affected limbs curling up and/or paralyzed. Mine isn’t to that point, and has never been so, but bad enough that it does effect my walking and standing.
I was going to a massage therapist for a while, but it was too expensive to keep going. Thankfully, he was willing to talk to me about trigger points and give me pointers for massaging them myself at home. Trigger points are small contractions, painful knots basically, within a muscle. They affect the muscle by keeping it both tight and weak, which in turn pulls at adjacent muscle fibers and joints. Often trigger points are not in the area that hurts, but must be found elsewhere. I know about trigger points because of the plantar fasciitis that I had a couple years before my stroke. I was able to heal it over a couple-three months by working the proper trigger points. So, it was my first thought in dealing with the spasticity in my stroke foot.
The trigger points for my foot pain are found further up inside my calf muscle. I work these every day, sometime several times. This has most definitely helped relieve some of the tension, and while its not put me back to normal, it’s at least allowed me to walk and stand for longer periods of time (which is continually increasing). The book “The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook” has been invaluable. I also have a theracane and a nobble tool to help me reach and work trigger points more easily. Got all three off eBay.
You can also find out more about trigger points online at www.triggerpoints.net or maybe by talking to your physical or massage therapists. Look up trigger points and myofascial release on youtube. If you’re a strokie, you might not be able to do the exercises as shown, as many of them are on the floor, but you might be able to do a little research to find out how a stroke patient can best do these releases.
The whole idea of trigger points is a proven and prove-able science and not a bunch of fru fru. Many conditions, such as fibromyalgia, low back pain, arthritis, headaches, and much more can be helped by finding and working trigger points.
I’ve also been experimenting with herbs for the spasticity. An herb that’s helped much is Crampbark. It is as its name says: it’s good for cramps which includes muscle tension and spasms. Most think of it as a feminine herb, but it also works to effectively soften and relax any area where there’s tension. And it works without causing drowsiness which is important for me. Even simple meds like Tylenol or Ibuprophen cause me to be sleepy, as well as certain herbs. And as a strokie I don’t want to be any more tired than I already am. I take it in tincture form a couple times a day.
Another herb I use that doesn’t make me drowsy is Devil’s Claw. This one is used for pain. It’s one of those herbs that you don’t notice working until you stop using it and then you realize how much it was helping. Traditionally Devil’s Claw is used for arthritis and joint inflammation, but it has been very (very) effective in helping manage my spasticity pain. I take this one in capsules throughout the day as needed.
And lastly, another thing that has helped with my leg is extended stretching. Up to 3-4 minutes at a time with my leg and foot, working various muscles. Also, I have a recumbent bicycle that’s helped to work my hamstrings and keep them from shortening up and tightening my leg.
Well, this wraps up Parts One,Two, and Three of Herbal Helps for Stroke Patients. I’ve shared the things that have helped me in my stroke recovery journey. I’m just passing along the information with no expectation whatsoever that others should do as I do. As I said at the beginning, many stroke patients must work closely with their doctors. I did this for the first several months and recommend it. I didn’t try to buck the system, but introduced herbs slowly and weaned myself off many of the meds a little over time.
Going with herbs for stroke recovery works for me because my body is tuned to herbs, and it has learned to respond to them. Sometimes people think herbs don’t work, but it’s possibly because of all the other stuff they’re taking prescription-wise and/or are ingesting from their diet and getting from the environment that’s keeping the herbs from working effectively. Herbs have the best chance of working well in a clean environment. At this point, I’m only on one med now, I’m careful about what I eat, exercise regularly, and I stay away from a lot of chemicals. I’m not fanatical about it, and splurge on junky stuff occasionally, but for the most part I do watch and am good. Not that these things are the be all and end all of healthiness, but they do help herbs to work better in a person’s body.
Another reason it seems like herbs don’t work is most commercial supplements are junk. It’s important to get good quality herbs and tinctures and not just the supplements from Walmart. Don’t get me wrong, we use some herbs off the shelf, but mostly we make and encapsulate our own with herbs which we’ve wildcrafted ourselves or which we’ve purchased from quality sources. This way we know they’re potent and actually working as they should.
Through Jordan’s Crossing we’ve decided to offer some of the herbs we use for sale. Right now, we offer Turmeric, Magnesium, & Devil’s Claw in capsules, and Motherwort & St. John’s Wort in tinctures as described in these articles. Follow the links to find out pricing (We’re still working on getting descriptions uploaded so please bear with us). If you’re a stroke victim share with us your story and we’ll give you a 5% discount. We know the financial impact a stroke, or other long term illness, can have on a family, and we want to help you if possible.
Thank you all again for listening. If there’s any way we can help you, don’t hesitate to contact us. We might not have the answer, but we will listen.
God bless, 🙂
The purpose of Jordan’s Crossing Herbal Connections is to promote the sharing of information about healthy, natural products and dietary supplements. JCHC’s views and opinions are INFORMATIONAL ONLY and are not intended to constitute medical advice. If you are sick, injured or pregnant, please consult a licensed health care professional.