PARALYSIS1 - WatsonsHealth


Paralysis is the inability of muscle movement in the body. It is the result of disrupted communication between the nerve impulses along the pathway from the brain to the muscles, which leads to muscle weakness and progress into paralysis. This loss of muscle movement may occur completely or partially, meaning it can happen on one or both sides of the body.

Several conditions may cause paralysis, including:

  • Stroke
  • Injuries such as in the spinal cord or neck
  • Polio
  • Nerve diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Bell’s palsy, which affects muscles in the face
  • Autoimmune diseases such as Guillain-Barre syndrome, multiple sclerosis, or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Exposure to toxins and poisonings such as botulinum toxin, certain toxins in shellfish, or venom from snakes or jellyfish

Paralysis are classified in several ways such as:

  • Localized Paralysis – This type refers to paralysis that occurs only in one part of the body like the face or hands.
  • Generalized Paralysis – This type refers to a group of conditions that affect multiple body parts.
    • Monoplegia, affect only one arm or leg
    • Hemiplegia, affect one arm and one leg on the same side of the body
    • Paraplegia, affect both of the legs
    • Quadriplegia or tetraplegia, affect both of the arms and both of the legs

The general symptoms of paralysis include:

  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Muscle Cramps

Paralysis may accompany other symptoms depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Immobility due to paralysis also has an indirect effect on the other system of the body producing other symptoms such as:

  • Spasticity of the limbs
  • Muscle spasms
  • Pressure sores
  • Edema
  • Blood clots in the lower limbs
  • Skin injury
  • Bacterial infection
  • Disruption of the normal working of the tissues, glands, and organs
  • Constipation
  • Loss of control of urination
  • Sexual difficulties
  • Abnormal sweating
  • Abnormal breathing or heart rate
  • Balance problems
  • Difficulty thinking
  • Behavioral issues such as mood swings
  • Difficulty speaking or swallowing
  • Vision problems
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Severe headache


Loss of muscle function is an indicator of paralysis. To confirm paralysis or for  internal body parts where paralysis is more difficult to identify, the doctor may suggests imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans or MRI scans. Imaging tests and other laboratory tests may help to determine which causes your paralysis.



Treatment for paralysis may depend upon the underlying cause as well as the symptoms.

Some possible treatments are:

  • Medications, such as Botox or muscle relaxers, if you have spastic paralysis
  • Physical or Occupational therapy
  • Surgery or possible amputation

Mobility aids, such as wheelchairs, braces, mobile scooters, or other devices may help a paralyzed person to move to other places.



To prevent paralysis, you must lower your risk of having diseases or conditions that may cause it. For example, lowering the risk of stroke by controlling high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. To reduce the risk of injury from accidents, use seatbelts, helmets or air bags. Having a healthy lifestyle and mild exercise may help prevent paralysis.

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