General Health
Health & Wellness

What Causes Paralysis: Understanding Types, Symptoms and Treatment

Paralysis is a medical condition causing muscle function loss in a person, resulting in improper strength and organ mobility. Certainly, the source is the damaged nervous system; the dilemma lies between the nerve connections of the brain and the body parts. The patient feels sensory loss in the body.

Human nervous system is a complex but an integral part of the body that controls different body parts. Whatever we do, speak or think, are the result of signals sent from the brain and performed by the body organs. Consequently, when a person’s body part stops working, it is mainly due to the lack of signals received from the nervous system. 

In simple terms, paralysis is the reason for the disruption of brain signals that results in loss of body movement or muscle strength.

What causes Paralysis:

There are several pretexts behind the paralytic condition based on the different types of paralysis that one person goes through. As perceived, it is commonly caused due to the spinal cord injury. Incidents such as car accidents, sporting injury, fall etc. can be a valid reason for paralysis..

Other potential cause of paralysis can be:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Traumatic Brain Injury [TBI]
  • Stroke
  • Spinal Tumor
  • Autoimmune disorder
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis [ALS]

Types of Paralysis:

When we see a person in paralysis condition, we majorly find that they are unable to move. However, if observed precisely, we will find that there are different types of paralysis. It can be a complete paralysis or the person might be struggling with partial immobility. It can detain the full body or both legs, or each side of the body.

It depends on the area of the nervous system that is affected. For instance, if you got a brain clot on the right side, your left body side will be stunned.

Further, experts distinguish the paralysis condition into 4 types:

1- Monoplegia:

It is a condition when a single area of your body is affected, mostly a limb. You feel no sensations or cannot move the specific body part. That means, you have control on the rest of your body but not on the affected limb.

This can be a temporary suffering and is a common after-effects of a brain injury. Apparently, it is possible to regain the organ functions with the help of physical therapies and exercises.

Causes of Monoplegia:

Cerebral palsy is termed as the major reason for the condition, whereas there are some other ailments and injuries that can cause the condition as well. These include stroke, tumor, nerve damage, motor neuron injury and brain injuries.

2- Hemiplegia:

When a person is affected with a paralysis condition where an arm and leg of the same side becomes crass, it is generally due to the hemiplegia type. It may differ from person to person and the condition may get better over time.

At the beginning stage, the patient feels like a needle prick sensation that gradually leads to frail muscles and turns into paralysis. Early intervention and treatment such as occupational therapies can improve the patient’s condition.

Causes of Hemiplegia:

Alike monoplegia, the prevalent cause of hemiplegia is cerebral palsy. Other common causes include nervous system disorder, brain injury and spinal cord injury.

3- Paraplegia:

This condition is a different type where a patient suffers paralysis below the waist; both legs and hips. In this state, the person also loses the lower body functions such as elimination and sexuality. Certainly, a person with paraplegia can't walk, stand or move the lower body.

It refers to substantial disablement in movement and functioning, however, it is treatable and not a permanent paralysis condition. Though we won't spontaneously recover due to the complex brain and spinal cord functionalities, the sufferer may regain strength with physical and functional therapies.

Causes of Paraplegia:

In case of paraplegia, spinal cord injuries are the commonest cause. The physical outrage hinders the brain’s ability to send indications to the site below the injury. Other causes of paraplegia are spinal cord infections, brain tumor, brain infection, brain or spinal cord oxygen deprivation etc.

4- Quadriplegia:

Quadriplegia or tetraplegia is a condition where a person’s body stops responding below the neck. That means, all four limbs and torso are being affected. Though it can be termed as full body paralysis, the condition varies person to person; the degree of muscle function loss is not certain. In most cases, patients slowly retain their strength using dedicated physical exercises and therapies.

Causes of Quadriplegia:

Spinal cord injuries are the main source of quadriplegia.

Seemingly, it is a temporary condition caused due to any brain injury, nerve compression of spinal cord or stroke. Many patients experience quadriplegia right after any injury that certainly relaxes to another paralysis type as the swelling goes under.

Other causes of quadriplegia are spinal or brain tumor, infection, lesions, nerve damage, and drug overdose.

Can paralysis be cured:

In simple terms, it depends on the paralysis condition, if it is a temporary or permanent cause. For instance, temporary paralysis is caused due to stress, and the symptoms get relaxed spontaneously over time without any serious treatment. Whereas permanent paralysis is incurable and difficult to reverse. It is mainly a result of injuries to the brain and spinal cord, and requires lifelong care including physical treatment and medications.

Treatment of Paralysis:

As per the condition of the patient, physiotherapy sessions and physical therapies are recommended that will aid in regaining muscle movement and functions. With these efforts, many patients can even find improvements in the initial months.

Apparently, functional electrical stimulation will help patients struggling with feet or lower leg paralysis. The treatment will also reduce pain and help in relaxation.

Overall, it will take some time and require strong will power from the patient to recover. 

When to visit a doctor:

If you feel any numbness or tingling sensation in any of your body parts, you must consult a neurologist for any underlying disease check.

Seemingly, if a person shows any signs of stroke, it is advised to take him to the hospital on an immediate basis. The person might be struggling from partial or serious paralysis outcomes. You can identity a stroke with the early signs of:

  • Facial muscle drop
  • Weakness in arm muscles
  • Mumbling of words
  • Blurry vision

Related Blog: Women's Health: 6 Common Issues for Women in India

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