Paralysis: Definition, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Paralysis: Definition, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Paralysis is when you are unable to move any part of the body when there is loss of muscle function in that part. It can be partial or complete, temporary or permanent.

It may affect any part of the body and you don’t feel any pain in that part. Person who experience it due to birth defect, or injury can’t move that part.

Someone who experience it by medical condition such as multiple sclerosis (MS) can feel tingling or muscle weakness.

It can create problems with blood flow, breathing, sexual responses, speaking, swallowing, how well your organs work- all these factors depend on how bad your paralysis is.

What are Symptoms

Symptoms of paralysis are very easy to identify. Some are:

  • Loss of function in affected part
  • Feel of tumbling or numbing in specific part before paralysis sets in.
  • Seems impossible to control muscles in affected extremity.

Which Causes Paralysis

It can be occur at any time or in any part of the body depending on many causes.

  • Birth defects
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Stroke
  • Post-polio syndrome
  • Spinal Cord injury
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Neurofibromatosis

Stroke is the leading causes of paralysis in United States. It accounts for 30% of estimated cases. Spinal cord injury accounts for 23% of diagnosed cases.

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Various Types of Paralysis

1. Partial Paralysis

In partial or incomplete, you have partial control on muscles. This is also called paresis.

2. Complete Paralysis

In complete form, you don’t have any control on affected muscle. In this case you don’t have any feeling in that part.

3. Temporary Paralysis

It can be temporary such as Bell’s Palsy is a condition that causes temporary paralysis on your face. Stroke can also paralyzed one part of the body. With proper medications and treatment you may regain feeling in affected part.

4. Localized

It affects only one part of the body such as face, hand, feet or vocal cords.

5. Generalized

It affects multiple parts of the body at same time.

  • Monoplegia: It affects only one limb.
  • Diplegia: It affects same part on both sides such as both arms, both legs or both sides of face.
  • Hemiplegia: It affects one arm and one leg on same side of the body.
  • Paraplegia: It paralyzed both legs.
  • Quadriplegia: It paralyzed four limbs of the body, also known as Tetraplegia.
  • Locked-In Syndrome: It is a condition in which all muscles of the body stop functioning except the muscle which controls eye movements.
  • Spastic Paralysis: It is when muscles are tight and hard. Most people with cerebral palsy have spastic paralysis.
  • Flaccid Paralysis: It can cause your muscles to shrink.
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How it is Diagnosed

Diagnosis is often easy when functionality of muscles is not obvious. It is very difficult to diagnose it in internal parts of the body. Doctors use X-Ray, MRI scan, CT scan or other imaging devices.

How it is Treated

Treatment depends on cause of paralysis and what symptoms one experienced. Doctor can subscribe like:

  • Surgery
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Mobility aids such as wheelchair, mobile scooters etc.
  • Medications as prescribed by doctor.

In many cases paralysis is not curable and doctors will recommend a variety of treatments, tools or strategies to manage paralyze.