Paralysis: Meaning, Diagnosis and Overview

What is Paralysis?

Paralysis is loss of the ability to move one or more muscles which in turn is associated with loss of feeling and other body functions. There are different types of paralysis like
  • Monoplegia- where one limb is paralysed.
  • Hemiplegia- where the arm and leg on one side of the body are paralysed.
  • Paraplegia- where both legs and sometimes the pelvis and some of the lower body are paralysed.
  • Tetraplegia- where both the arms and legs are paralysed (also known as quadriplegia).
Paralysis overview

Recovery Time

Recovery from paralysis depends up on what is causing it and how much damage has been done to the nervous system. 


Physical examination of patients medical history to check the incidents of traumas, exposure to toxins, recent infections or surgery, headache, pre-existing metabolic disease, and family history or other neurologic conditions. Imaging studies include :
  • Computed tomography scans (CT scans)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans
  • Myelography
  • Electromyography

FAQs prepared by doctor

Q1.  What is the treatment for spinal cord injury leading to paralysis?
Immediate treatment for acute SCI includes techniques to relieve cord compression, prompt (within 8 hours of the injury) drug therapy with corticosteroids such as methyl prednisolone to minimize cell damage, and stabilization of the vertebrae of the spine to prevent further injury.

Q2.  Can spinal cord injury cure by itself?
Most body parts and organs can repair themselves after they are injured. However the central nervous system cannot. Nevertheless the damage caused by an SCI can be reduced by limiting immediate cell death and reducing the inflammation of the injured cord.
The nerve cell body remains intact, and only the "sending" or "receiving" fibers have to regrow as longer extensions from the nerve cell body. The peripheral nerves, outside the brain and spinal cord can do this quite easily.

Q3.  My friend has the same level of injury as me but he can feel his legs and I can t. Why?
The amount of movement and sensation you have will depend on which parts of the spinal cord have been damaged. Those parts of your friend s spinal cord responsible for transmitting sensory information have been saved while those responsible for controlling movement may have been damaged.

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