Blog Post – Post-Stroke Sensory Changes and Adaptations

Following a stroke, you may experience difficulty registering the same sensations you once did.

This presentation provides an overview of some common sensory loss implications, as well as recommendations for managing these shifting senses.


We start with some sensation basics before going into current research in somatosensory impairments. This research includes its effect on participation in daily activities, as well as a view of sensory loss from the perspectives of survivors of stroke. We touch on the implications of sensory disturbances before going into some tips, sensory training, and tools that can help bridge the gap.

Sensation Basics

About 85% of survivors of stroke experience sensory changes.

Somatosensation issues can include your perception of touch, your ability to perceive temperature and pressure, discrimination of textures, and your ability to recognize objects through touch.

Effects of Somatosensory Impairment on Participation

One study from 2018 looked at the effect that a loss of body sensation has on a survivor of stroke’s ability to participate in their daily instrumental, social, high-demand, and low-demand physical activities.

Results found that paresis of upper and lower limbs can mask the contribution of sensory loss.

Because of this, researchers suggest motor-based interventions involve a somatosensory component for a more holistic approach.

Somatosensation Loss from Survivors’ Perspectives

Another study out of 2018 looked at some of the most pressing and/or frequent issues survivors of stroke encounter following decreased somatosensation.

These included: personal care & dressing, cooking and eating, and leisure activities.

Overall, participants made it clear that their rehabilitation was spent mostly in working to regain motor function, with very little emphasis or training on sensory impairments.

Implications of Sensation Changes

If temperature sensation is off, skin can be damaged in extreme temperatures.

Hypersensitivity, a change or loss of bladder or bowel sensation, and paresthesias can all change your day-to-day activities and comfort level.

Proprioception is our sense of physical self awareness in relation to our environment and, when this is interrupted, it can affect our ability to walk steadily.

Vision Impairment Tips

Vision issues can encompass problems in: Visual field loss, eye movement issues, and visual processing.

With any visual neglect, make sure to scan your surroundings.

It’s a simple thing to do, but can make life much safer once you’ve formed it as a habit.

Home Modifications and Tools

When modifying your environment, an important concept to strive for is contrast!

Listed in this video are some recommendations available for under $20: the Pan PIckle, Tenura Molded Cup Holder, Cool Touch Oven Rack Guards, and the Purrfect Opener.