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What Causes Paralysis?

Athlete racing in a wheelchair.
Contaminated oysters can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning, leading to paralysis.
The exact type of paralysis that a person experiences depends on the underlying cause.
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  • Written By: Shannon Kietzman
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 01 September 2014
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Paralysis is a medical condition characterized by the inability to move one or more muscles. In most cases, a person experiencing this condition also loses all feeling in the affected area. It may be temporary or permanent, depending on the cause. If it is the result of damage to the nervous system, it is usually consistent. Sleep paralysis, on the other hand, only affects a person during the time that immediately precedes sleep or immediately after waking up.

There are many potential causes of paralysis. The two most common are stroke and trauma, particularly to the nervous system or the brain. Certain diseases or afflictions, such as poliomyelitis, peroneal dystrophy, spina bifida, Bell’s palsy, and multiple sclerosis may also cause paralysis. Botulism, paralytic shellfish poisoning, and certain types of poisons, particularly those that directly affect the nervous system, may also lead to this condition.

The precise type of paralysis a person experiences depends on the underlying cause. With Bell’s palsy, for example, the inability to move is usually localized, which means it only affects a small area of the person’s body. Typically, only one side of the person’s face becomes paralyzed as the facial nerve on that side becomes inflamed. When only one side of a person’s body is affected, the condition is considered unilateral. When it affects both sides, it is bilateral.

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A person who has experienced a stroke, on the other hand, may experience weakness throughout his or her body. This is referred to as global paralysis. Conversely, the person may only experience weakness on one side of his or her body. Medically, this is known as hemiplegia.

Generally, the most severe form of paralysis is caused by damage to the spinal cord. A person who experiences trauma in his or her upper spinal cord may develop quadriplegia as a result. A person who is quadriplegic is unable to move his or her arms and legs. Injury to the lower spinal cord may cause paraplegia, which results in either the legs or the arms becoming paralyzed.

In severe cases, it may be necessary for the individual to be fed through feeding tubes. Occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy may also be necessary to help treat the condition.

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anon926047
Post 65

My gf was had a big pain inside her legs so she was taking 6 pills of 400 mg painkiller, and after taking this she is now suffering from paralysis. What can i do for her improvement?

anon360010
Post 64

My wife is 46 years old. She has paralysis on he left side in her arm, hand and leg and face from three weak times My wife also has had sugar problems for 15 years. Please send me the cause for that and the treatment.

anon354400
Post 63

My father aged 63 years, had a paralysis attack in May 2013. He has recovered from it very slowly, but he cannot speak fluently. What is the treatment for this?

anon345034
Post 62

My uncle is 45 years old and his hand and leg move automatically. In his village, most people have this disease. What is this? Please tell me.

anon326307
Post 61

I have suffered from a throat (left side) infection for the past year. I have taken a lot of antibiotics (Ceftum 500). After stopping the medicine, the infection appears again. My VDRL test is sometimes positive and sometimes negative, but I don't know why. This time I am doing a homeopathy treatment for my throat infection. Please tell me is it curable or not?

For the last 10 days, after I wake up, my right arm's finger is so weak it's like there is no more blood circulation. What is this? I am very scared about that. Please help me.

anon311380
Post 60

I recently had a strange vibration/tingling sensation throughout most of my body. It occurred while vomiting but continued to progress after the analysis stopped to the point where my hands were uncontrollably deformed. My thumbs were pressed into my palms with their tips bent 90° backward. The other fingers were bent awkwardly - similar to someone with arthritis. I was transported to the emergency room, but this issue was not addressed. What may have been the cause and should I be concerned that it might happen again?

anon285062
Post 59

My wife has pain in her right hand, and she is feeling electrical shocks from her shoulder to her entire hand. Is this a symptom of paralysis?

anon275245
Post 58

My mother is 65 years old. She suffered an ischemic stroke in April 2010. She has recovered to some extent and she is left hemiparesis. But she eats much less, she has foot drop, cannot taste, eats only a few foods, and has difficulty in swallowing. She has severe food reflux and whatever she eats if tries to come out. She has also been diagnosed of having lax hiatus. Medications are not helping her to relieve the food reflux. She is totally dependent and able to do all the basic things only with support.

Is there any remedy for this? How soon she can be back to normal.

anon258941
Post 57

My wife's right arm and leg are vibrating when see feels pain in the body part like stomach pain, chest pain. The vibration continue more time and his age is now only 24. What's the reason of this vibration?

anon189805
Post 56

my father is suffering from paralysis in his right hand and right leg and also he cannot speak. he got this problem 18 days ago. please tell me what i have to do. my father is 65 years old and he has blood pressure problems.

Wahi
Post 55

Pune doctors claim that they have cured paralysis by treating the patients with the both the allopathic system of medicine and ayurvedic system of medicine. That means allopathic medicine stops the progress of disease where ayurvedic medicine treats the root cause of the disease and thereby the patient is cured.This is a big success in the history of paralysis treatment and I congratulate Pune doctors for this success.

Wahi
Post 54

Paralysis is common problem after 40 years of age, due to improper blood circulation in limbs, which can be treated with herbal drug in India, found from traditional knowledge.

anon176625
Post 52

my uncle's left arm stopped working nine months back then right arm and then both of his legs.

He cannot move either his legs or arms.His voice has started stammering and thus not audible at all.

He remains sitting all the time on his chair and that is also with the help of another person. He needs another person to feed him or drink water.

He even cannot discharge urine without the help of another person. He eats very, very little food. What is the disease and how long will his life be?

anon175126
Post 51

My father had a paralysis attack on the right side of the body and he couldn't speak clearly. So can you please suggest what type of treatment is required?

imkiyani
Post 50

My baby sister at age of two years fell from her bed. After one week, she was not able to move her right hand properly. We tried different therapies but they were no use, and now she is five years old and still not able to hold anything in her right hand. Please suggest any useful home therapies in context of her age.

anon163797
Post 46

My niece who is 6 years old is not able to play with her left hand. She is not able to lift her left wrist or hand properly and cannot open and close her fingers. Any clues what could be the cause of this problem and what treatment is suggested for this cause.

anon143548
Post 45

Same here. I woke up one day and couldn't move my left leg. for a few days it went on like that. when it was time for me to go to the doctor i was in tremendous pain and i couldn't support my body at all, i had to be lifted to the doctor. they gave me a shot and compression socks to wear. After that i haven't experienced it again. it happened when i was 9 and I'm now 18. I do feel some numbness in my legs though. Oh, when i was a baby i was very ill to the point of dying. Maybe there is a connection, but i doubt it.

anon135350
Post 43

My father had paralysis on the right side three years back. He could not move his right limbs and could not speak, either.

The doctor said that there is a blockage in his mind and the neurons of the speech centre have been degraded. The neurons can not be regenerated. The only hope is the nearby neurons will perform the functions for degraded ones, but it may take several years.

Can anybody suggest a further course of treatment for my father. Amit from India.

anon131647
Post 41

My father is 65 years old. he is facing paralysis on left side on his arm and leg from a weak time and my father also has had high sugar and high blood pressure problems for three to four years. Please send me the cause for that kind of paralysis and the treatment i.e. physical therapy exercises and speech therapy etc. Shabbir from Pakistan

anon124270
Post 39

my mother is 86 years old. she has been paralyzed for 18 days on the right side. b.p is only 60. her weight is only 143kg. pl tell me what I should have do to.

anon123557
Post 38

My uncle is 58 years old. Two days ago he had vomiting and severe hypertension with diastolic pressure 110 then. now he fell with complete paralysis and was put on a ventilator without stroke and no brain or spinal cord affected. It was normal and the c.s.f normal. Normal blood, no viruses with high bilirubin. His case is deteriorating fast. I want a fast response, please.

anon121936
Post 37

I'm 16 and I have had RND for the past five years. Just recently I have started to experience episodes where I cannot move my legs and I have a loss of sensation.

My muscle strength is ok but I cannot walk more than five yards without starting to lose control of my legs. With rest it has gotten a little better but I cannot do much or put too much stress on my body.

The only thing good about this is that when I lose control of my legs I can't feel the pain anymore. What should I do? --E

anon114334
Post 36

My uncle is 52 years old. he is facing paralysis on the right side of his hand and leg and both eyes from a weak time and he used to take alcohol like anything. He is also having blood pressure problem. please send me the cause and the treatment.

anon114282
Post 35

My nephew died due to paralysis. there is no diagnosis. his paralysis started at his toes for one week and it slowly went up to his heart. Until now we do not have the clear reasons for his death. it is so sudden.

anon107913
Post 34

my father is affected with paralysis on his right side hand and leg. It has been two years and I want to know a place where it can be completely cured.

anon101820
Post 33

My father is 55 years old. he is facing paralysis on right side on his hand and leg and right eye from a weak time and my father also has had sugar problems for 15 years. The problem in his eye, he is saying that he has double vision. please send me the cause for that and the treatment.

anon95564
Post 32

My father-in-law is 70 years old. Four days ago, he had an attack of paralysis, with symptoms shown on right hand and leg, and he couldn't speak. The doctors told us there was a blood leakage from his brain. He didn't take any food for the first two days but now he is taking little.

anon94370
Post 31

My grandmother is 58 years old. two days ago, she had an attack of paralysis, with symptoms shown on left hand and leg. please give me your feedback. If you need it, I am ready to provide more information.

anon91188
Post 30

my girl friend had a paralysis attack at the age of 13. at that time she was eight days in the hospital and it took almost a year to get cured. she is now 24 years old, but needs to take life long medicines. Is there any possibility of getting such an attack in her future?

anon89989
Post 28

my boy friend had a paralysis stroke in his childhood. He was treated immediately within 24 hours and was cured as he said. however, as per the doctor, there is a chance of second attack. he is now 28 years old and he suffers from pain in the upper spinal cord and legs up to knee level, numbness of hands, and he has no muscle growth since when i saw him.

Can you tell me any treatment? will he be ok after treatment? We are in a relationship and I am worried now. After sex also he feels week and can't move his body for some time. he says his body vibrates. Please help me!

anon85726
Post 27

My grandmother 65 years old. two days ago, she had an attack of paralysis, symptoms shown on right leg, left hand and on mouth. After treatment she is normal, normal position but after two days she is facing the same problem now glucose level is 140 and BP normal. please give me your feedback. If you need I am ready to provide more information.

anon78510
Post 26

There is numbness in my hand when i get up in the morning. I had pondilises. Four years ago, I had a slipped disc at L4&5. kindly suggest to me what to do. I am taking nirobian twice a day.

anon74717
Post 25

my sister just had Bell's palsy for the first time. she's recovering, however, she can't move her left arm. Her bloodwork came out negative for any evidence of Heart problems. She feels pain and senses touches but cannot lift or move her left arm. She has RA (rheumatoid arthritis) though. Will Bells palsy make her RA worse?

anon74205
Post 24

I have a brother who is paralyzed on the left side of his body. He already has a prosthesis on the right leg. He was using a cane to hop on his left leg but now he's paralyzed on that side. He has given up and is in a care center but I want to get an apartment for him and have some one look after him at home with his family. Can someone direct me to help? For example, I need a hospital bed, and stool. Thank you.

Orange5
Post 23

I have a friend who is suffering a condition where she has short episodes of seizures and has bad headaches. One time she had a problem where she dropped to the ground and her whole body was paralyzed. She tried as hard as she could to scream for help but no one could hear her.

She still experiences bad headaches. I would like to know what this is. Right now she is living in thailand. Nobody knows what it is and the doctors haven't told her anything. All they've done is given her a bunch of pills to take. Please reply. My friend is really scared.

anon71536
Post 21

i have a friend and she has experienced a number of mishaps. she had surgery and about three weeks later she started to experience numbness in her feet. now she is unable to feel anything and her feet are bending inwards and she is not able to walk. what might be the cause of her paralysis?

anon68502
Post 20

About 1.7 years back, my uncle went to a hospital to donate blood to the father of one of his friends. While donating, his BP became high and after that his side leg and arm got paralyzed.

Can you please suggest what might have caused this?

Now he has slight improvement in both. He can walk by his own but still limps while walking.

Please advise some cure for this.

anon63100
Post 18

I am having symptoms of seizures. I see flashing lights and hear noises that are not here, I feel my head rocking back and forth on the pillows, I also am having drop attacks. I am walking and will just drop for no reason. I don't lose consciousness that I am aware of.

I had two episodes very recently where I was completely paralyzed. I tried to yell and scream for help, but nothing would come out, I could see that my hands were flaccid in my lap, even though I was trying with all my might to move. These last over five minutes and are very frightening. I am having horrible headaches on left side of head. Do I need to be seeking immediate help or should I wait and see?

I have a EEG scheduled for Tuesday this week, but am scared. I have a headache now and have had it all day.

anon53616
Post 17

my left eye area shrinks badly. it turns in to a small size frequently. in other words, all conditions and situations just like yoga guru baba ramdev. please if you have any ideas, cause and treatment for me, let me know.

anon52778
Post 16

This was about 15 minutes ago, and I was half-asleep and my body just went in shock and I couldn't move, I could see my foot move up and down thinking it was a ghost or something, because various reasons, it was a weird feeling. BTW, im only 15.

Moderator's reply: See this topic for more information: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-sleep-paralysis.htm

anon52241
Post 15

my mother is 63 years old. She was in an accident a year and four months ago. she was able to walk after the accident but the next day she couldn't move her legs at all and had a little numbness. now she is able to move her toes a little bit and she has her feelings back in her legs. her toes are still a little numb but she can move her toes. is my mother on her way to walking again? she never stopped using the bathroom on her own. she can control all that. she just is not able to walk and she is off balance when she tries to sit up. She can't stand on her own but if we help her stand she can do it. Her knees used to buckle but now they don't buckle, but they are not strong enough for her to stand on her own. what else can i do to help my mother improve her condition so she can walk again on her own? the question is: is there a chance that she will walk again with all the improvement?

anon50721
Post 14

my son' right half of his body is paralysed. please send adivice for this treatment.

anon44442
Post 13

My mother is 60 years old. Last week she got a paralysis attack. Not her complete body, but the right side of her face is affected. She is going to the physiotherapist once a day but no improvement has been seen in the last week. Can anyone suggest if some precautions need to be taken? I am very upset for her. Also let me know if there anything serious or is there a possibility of increasing or it will be cured as she has started taking treatment in the initial stage only, and how much time it will take to be cured.

anon43582
Post 12

my mother recently had varicous veins removed from her leg carried out by a spinal anesetic procedure. This was three weeks ago and she still has no feeling in her foot or lower leg! She doesn't seem to be getting any straight answers from her GPs.

Can anyone help with this as it is very worrying? Will the feeling come back??

anon42531
Post 11

i need to know what I can do for left hand paralysis?

anon23642
Post 9

my left thumb doesn't move freely as before. my hands also shivers. what is the main cause of it? is there any treatment for this?

anon16214
Post 8

my father in law was suffering from paralysis and after first stroke he was able to walk within 3-4 months. and now again he got second stroke, his condition was so critical, but now he is getting improvement in hand and left movement.

as per my knowledge the best and only way is "physiotherapy", of course it should be done under the direction of a physiotherapist. and also bp & sugar control is necessary and supporting factor to get well soon.

anon13277
Post 7

My daughter is 19 and has been through many stressful situations over the last year and has been having seizures (with unconsciousness) Her last seizure was followed by paralysis of her legs and feet. Her doctors have all agreed that her anxiety and stress has caused the paralysis. Is this possible?

anon13040
Post 6

i am a 30 year old mother of 2. my husband was arrested and jailed for drug smuggling 7 months back. i was in great depression and could not sleep at all since then. i wanted to go to jail to meet my husband, but my parents did not allow me to go. so i thought of going to meet him secretly. i become scared whenever i thought of meeting him and as days passed this problem become severe. one day when i was walking home from office, i had a fall. i was unconscious and wasn't breathing for about 5 minutes. i was taken to hospital. my blood pressure at that time was 190/100, and when i got consciousness i could not move my right leg and right arm (i was having weakness on the right side). i also don't have sensation on the right side of the body and the doctors said that i had a stroke and was right side paralyzed. my parents were not happy about the diagnosis and they took me to another hospital. here the neurologists said that i am not having real paralysis or neurological problem and i need psychiatric treatment. they said its all because of depression and prescribed some medicine. i was then taken to a psychiatrist and he also said that it is a 100% psychiatric problem. he also prescribed some medicines. its been a month and now i can move my hands properly..but still i could not believe that this is a psychiatric problem. i still could not move my leg and hav no sensation on that.

i'd like to know the cause of this paralysis..also is it a psychological or neurological problem..whom should i consult??

my husband is still in jail and i still become scared when i thought of meeting him. because i am very sensitive and am afraid something strange might happen.

anon302
Post 1

When young, I woke up one morning and my legs wouldnt support me. I remember being told to lie without moving at home ( we were too poor for a hospital ) and I was given some type of medicine. For months I lay in bed in a dark bedroom. After months of no feeling in my legs, I recall pain in my legs when they carried me to the bathroom. An eventual visit to the doctors and he said I was cured. I could walk then.

Any ideas what was the cause of this paralysis? I'd had no injuries prior.

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