Paralysis, Types & Symptoms

The condition that brings about a loss of control over a muscle or a group of muscles is known as paralysis. If any part of the relay system is damaged like the brain, spinal cord, or nerves, the signals are not carried through the nerve cells to the muscles which results in loss of control leading to paralysis.

Paralysis can occur in different parts of the body and can be categorized based on the area that has been affected:


Affected areas


Only one limb is affected, such as the leg or an arm


One side of the body, such as leg & arm of the same side


Same area on both the sides of the body, such as both the arms, both sides of the face


When both the legs or sometimes part of the trunk is affected


Affects both arms & legs, and sometimes entire area from neck down.

Paralysis can also be classified based on the type or degree. The condition can be called:

  • Partial, also known as paresis, is the condition when people still have some control of the muscle.

  • Complete, when the muscle doesn’t move at all.

  • Permanent, when the control lost cannot be reversed.

  • Temporary, when the control can be gained again.

  • Flaccid, when the muscles start becoming flabby and also shrink.

  • Spastic, when you notice muscle spasm, the muscles jerk in an odd manner, or become stiff.

Paralysis can occur due to a birth defect or can be a result of an accident or a medical condition.

Some of the most common causes of paralysis are:

  • Stroke

  • Injury to spinal cord or head

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Cerebral Palsy

  • Peripheral Neuropathy

  • Toxins/poisons

What are the symptoms of Paralysis?

The causes of paralysis are one of the factors that define the symptoms of the condition. When the underlying cause is a birth defect or a medical condition such as a stroke or an injury, the person affected will be partially or completely unable to move the affected body parts, will have decreased feeling in the affected areas, and notice stiffness in the muscles. There will be tingling or numbness in muscles before total paralysis occurs in any part of the body.

When a person suffers from facial paralysis, the common symptoms will include:

  • Facial drop, making it difficult for facial areas to move

  • Drooling

  • Headache

  • Increased sensitivity to sound and decreased ability of taste

  • Pain around jaw or ear on the affected side

Apart from these symptoms, there would be changes occurring in other parts of the body due to paralysis. Some of the issues faced commonly are:

  • Changes in the normal function of tissues and glands

  • Blood clots, especially in the legs

  • Breathing, blood flow, speech, and heart rate issues

  • Behavioral changes along with frequent mood swings

  • Changes to muscles, joints, bones

People suffering from paralysis are generally prescribed with physical or occupational therapy, medications such as muscle relaxers in case of spastic paralysis or surgery. They can definitely help patient to manage their lives in a much more organized way and avoid potential complications.

If you think you or any of your loved one is showing signs of paralysis, consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis of the condition and have a treatment plan set out at the earliest.

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