Paralysis

Paralysis is the inability or reduced ability to voluntarily move one or more muscles, muscle groups, or limbs. There are many different kinds of paralysis.



Types of paralysis

Motor paralysis — paralysis of the voluntary muscles — is differentiated into peripheral and central paralysis depending on where the damage occurred.

In cases of peripheral paralysis, the nerve is diseased or damaged, either in its course after leaving the spinal cord (e.g., severed by an injury) or where it originates in the spinal cord (e.g., in the case of poliomyelitis). These are always cases of flaccid paralysis. The affected muscle groups or limbs exhibit no tension whatsoever.

In cases of central paralysis, the paralysis site is located higher, either in the pyramidal tracts of the spinal cord (spinal paralysis), or in the brain itself (cerebral paralysis); for example, following a stroke. Cases of central paralysis are often spastic, which means the tension of the affected muscles is elevated. Depending on the extent of paralysis, it may be referred to as monoplegia (paralysis of only one limb), paraplegia (paralysis of the upper or lower limbs), tetraplegia (paralysis of all limbs), or hemiplegia (paralysis of one side of the body).

Sensitive paralysis (sensory paralysis) is caused by diseases of the peripheral or central nervous system. In cases of sensitive paralysis, the ability to perceive sensory stimuli such as cold, heat, pain, or touch is eliminated or reduced in certain body regions.

Other types of paralysis In some cases, paralysis is due to an illness of the muscle itself (myogenic paralysis). Paralysis for mental reasons (psychogenic paralysis) is also possible but occurs rarely.

Causes

Paralysis can affect any part of the body. It can be caused by a variety of neurolgical and life-threatening conditions, infectious or autoimmune diseases, trauma, and environmental factors.



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