Does stroke cause cold sensation in the left side of body?

A fellow caregiver asked...

Can stroke cause cold sensation in the left side of the body? Since my dad's stroke, he's been complaining about an uncomfortable cold sensation in his left hand and up the left side of his face, around his ear and eye. What could be causing this, and can anything be done to make him feel better?


Expert Answer

Nerissa Ko is an assistant professor of neurology and an assistant director of the Neurovascular Service at the University of California in San Francisco. She specializes in the care of patients with strokes and vascular diseases of the brain.

It's possible that your father's stroke injured a part of his brain related to sensation, so now he perceives any sensation on his left side as cold. This isn't unusual: Some people complain of abnormal sensations like pins and needles, or even a feeling like an electric shock. Needless to say, this can be very annoying to patients.

Unfortunately, this is one of the most difficult types of stroke symptoms to treat. Certain medications can relieve symptoms or at least make them milder. Your father's doctor can tell you more about these.

Some patients also respond well to massage. Your father's nerves aren't sending him normal signals anymore, and a gentle massage might make the nerve connection less irritating. You can try massaging his left side, especially his hand and forearm, and see if that helps. It may actually feel worse in the beginning, but some people find that it helps symptoms subside, at least temporarily. Massage doesn't work for everyone -- in fact, for some people it makes symptoms worse -- but it's worth a try.