Paralysis, also known as Plegia, is a loss of motor function in one or more muscles. This health condition can be accompanied by a sensory loss (meaning loss of feeling) in the concerned area if there is significant sensory and motor damage.
In short, paralysis refers to the loss of muscle function in the body. As stated earlier, depending on the nature of the damage, paralysis can be partial or complete, temporary or permanent or localised or generalised. First, let's briefly discuss the type of paralysis.
Paralysis can be of different types. These include;
Complete Paralysis: As the name suggests, complete paralysis refers to a health condition when individuals cannot move or control their body parts. It may also result in losing the ability to feel in those muscles.
Partial Paralysis: In partial or incomplete paralysis, individuals can partially feel or even control the paralysed body muscles. This type of condition is often referred to as Paresis.
Localised Paralysis: In localised paralysis, only a specific area such as the face, foot, hands get affected.
Generalised Paralysis: Contrary to localised paralysis, generalised paralysis involves a general area in the body and is categorised by how much the body is affected or damaged. For example, this type of paralysis depends on the areas of the brain and spinal cord injury.
- Monoplegia: This type of generalised paralysis affects one limb, such as one arm or one leg.
- Diplegia: This type of generalised paralysis affects the same area on both sides, such as both arms, both legs, or both sides of the face.
- Hemiplegia: In Hemiplegia, one side of the body gets affected, usually caused by a stroke. This type of generalised paralysis can damage one side of the brain.
- Paraplegia: Paraplegia refers to the condition when paralysis occurs from the waist.
- Quadriplegia: Quadriplegia refers to the condition when all four limbs get paralysed. In some cases, certain organs also get paralysed.
- Locked-in Syndrome: Locked-in syndrome is the rarest form of paralysis and certainly most severe. In such conditions, individuals lose their ability to move their muscles except for the muscles that control eye movement.
Please note that paralysis can be stiff or spastic. Patients suffering from cerebral palsy have this kind of paralysis. On the other hand, paralysis can be floppy or flaccid, where an individual’s muscles loosen and eventually shrink.
It is clear by now that paralysis can affect any particular body part rather than just the limbs. Individuals can suffer from partial or complete paralysis at any point in time. When a person has paralysis, he/she can hardly feel any pain in the affected areas.
Depending on the causes or nature of paralysis, the treatment is categorised into two parts: either cure the patient or treat the condition so that the patient can return to their previous lifestyle as much as possible.
Having gained basic knowledge about the meaning of paralysis, let’s move on to the signs and symptoms of paralysis.