What can be done for mouth sensitivity after a stroke?

Graygraduate asked...

After my stroke the right side of my lips tongue and right thumb and forefinger was sometimes cold and extremely sensitive. Now after six months the sensitivity seems to have increased and the right ide of my lips and tongue burn,, pulsate, so sensitive that I can't put any type of moisturizer or lip stick on my lips. My lips and tongue feel as if they we scolded with something hot. What can I do?

Expert Answer

James Castle, M.D. is a neurologist at NorthShore University HealthSystem (affiliated with The University of Chicago) and an expert on strokes.

Often times, after a stroke, people will get "phantom" sensations in their face or body. The medical terms often used to describe these sensations are "allodynia" and "dysesthesia". They are due to an interruption of the normal sensory pathways to the brain. These sensations can sometimes improve significantly over time. However, if they do not, and remain troublesome to you, I would recommend trying a medication to relieve the problem. Gabapentin and amitriptyline are inexpensive and often very effective. Lyrica and Cymbalta are more expensive, but can also provide helpful relief. In some cases, I also recommend accupuncture, but I am not sure that the accupuncturist would be able to help for sensations coming from the inside of the mouth. He/she would likely be able to help the sensations on the chin and in your thumb.

Good luck!