Paralysis is a condition when one or several parts of the body cannot be moved. This condition can be caused by muscle or nerve disorders, injuries , or certain diseases.

Paralysis can be temporary or permanent, both in sufferers who only experience weakness or who cannot move certain parts of the body at all.

Treatment of paralysis depends on the cause. The treatment method can be in the form of drugs, physiotherapy, surgery. It can also be the use of assistive devices if the paralysis is permanent.

Causes of Paralysis

Muscles play an important role in controlling every movement of the human body. To move the body, muscles work together with bones, nerves, and connective tissue between muscles, nerves, and bones. When one of these networks is disrupted, paralysis can occur.

Here are some conditions that can cause paralysis:

1. Stroke

 stroke  can cause sudden paralysis on one side of the face, arms, and legs. Stoke is divided into two types, namely ischemic stroke (infarct stroke ) and hemorrhagic stroke . A stroke in a certain part, such as  a brain stem stroke , can even cause total paralysis.

2. Bell's palsy

Bell's palsy  causes paralysis on one side of the face suddenly without accompanying paralysis elsewhere.

3. Brain injury

A hard impact on the head can cause injury or brain function disorders. This risks triggering paralysis in any part of the body, according to the damaged part of the brain.

4. Spinal nerve injury

Paralysis due  to spinal cord injury  can occur in the legs only, in the arms and legs, or sometimes in the chest muscles. Paralysis can occur slowly or suddenly, depending on the severity of the injury.

5. Polio

Polio disease   can cause paralysis in the arms and legs, up to the respiratory muscles. Paralysis due to polio occurs slowly, at least several years after being infected with polio.

6. Guilla in- Barré syndrome

Guillain-Barré syndrome  causes paralysis in the limbs, and can gradually spread to the arms and face after a few days or weeks.

7. Cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy  is a birth defect that causes paralysis on one side of the body, including the arms and legs. This disorder is caused by brain development disorders that occur when the baby is in the womb.

8. Multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis  can cause paralysis in the face, arms, or legs with intermittent symptoms.

9. Myasthenia gravis

Similar to  multiple sclerosis  myasthenia gravis  can also cause paralysis in the face, arms, or legs, with symptoms that come and go.

10. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

ALS  can cause disturbances in the nerves of the brain and spine so that sufferers are at risk of experiencing paralysis in the face, arms, or legs gradually. ALS sometimes also causes paralysis of the respiratory muscles.

In addition to the above causes, paralysis can also occur due to extensive nerve damage due to  botulism . This toxin is produced by the bacteria  Clostridium tetani . This bacteria usually contaminates poorly processed canned foods.

Symptoms of Paralysis

When experiencing paralysis, the sufferer will feel the main symptom in the form of difficulty moving certain parts of the body. These symptoms can appear slowly, suddenly, or sometimes disappear.

The symptoms of paralysis can occur in any part of the body, either only in one part of the body or in a wider area of ​​the body. Body parts at risk of paralysis include the face, arms, legs, and vocal cords. In severe conditions, the respiratory muscles can also experience paralysis.

Based on the location and limbs affected, paralysis can be grouped into:

  • Monoplegia, which is paralysis in one of the arms or legs
  • Hemiplegia, which is paralysis of the arms and legs on one side of the body
  • Diplegia, which is paralysis on both arms or both sides of the face
  • Paraplegia , which is paralysis in both legs
  • Quadriplegia, which is paralysis in both arms and legs, but can also affect other organs in the lower part of the neck, such as the intestines, urinary tract, or respiratory muscles

Paralysis that occurs slowly due to a disease is usually marked by several symptoms that appear before the sufferer experiences total paralysis. The symptoms include:

  • Loss of sensation to touch
  • Tingling
  • Cramps and muscle pain
  • Numbness

When should you go to the doctor?

Immediately check yourself with  a neurologist  if you experience symptoms of paralysis, including symptoms that disappear, especially if the symptoms worsen. The doctor will conduct further examinations to determine the cause.

If the paralysis occurs suddenly or is caused by an accident, immediately go to the nearest hospital IGD. You are also recommended to go to the IGD if the paralysis is accompanied by shortness of breath.

Do routine health checks to monitor blood pressure and blood sugar levels, especially if you suffer from  diabetes  or  hypertension . Uncontrolled diabetes or hypertension is at high risk of causing stroke, one of the main causes of paralysis.

Paralysis can also be caused by polio. Do the polio vaccination  according to the immunization schedule to prevent your child from the risk of paralysis. If you haven't had or are late for polio vaccination, consult your doctor about how to catch up on missed immunizations.

Diagnosis of Paralysis

Doctors can diagnose paralysis when the sufferer cannot move a certain part of the body. In this condition, a nerve examination will be performed to assess the movement of muscles and sensory nerves.

To find out more about the cause and severity of the paralysis, the doctor will perform a supporting examination, such as:

  • X-ray photo
  • CT scan
  • MRI
  • Electromyography (EMG)
  • Lumbar puncture

Treatment of Paralysis

Methods to deal with paralysis will be determined based on the underlying cause. The actions taken by the doctor aim to alleviate the symptoms and help the patient in carrying out daily activities. Some types of treatment that can be done are:

1. Physiotherapy

This therapy aims to restore muscle strength and function of injured body parts, prevent disability and reduce the risk of injury later in life. The type  of physiotherapy  performed will be adapted to the patient's condition.

2. Occupational therapy

Occupational therapy is a series of exercises that aim to improve the patient's ability to perform daily activities. After undergoing  occupational therapy , the patient is expected to be able to carry out activities independently.

3. Medicines

The type of medicine used to relieve the symptoms of paralysis depends on the cause. Some types of medicine that can be given by the doctor are:

  • Corticosteroids , such as methylprednisolone
  • Anticonvulsants , such as phenobarbital
  • Muscle relaxants, such as baclofen and eperisone
  • Tricyclic antidepressants , such as amitriptyline and clomipramine
  • Botox injection

4. Use of aids

Most people with paralysis cannot fully recover. To help movement from one place to another, sufferers can use aids, such as canes or  wheelchairs . The doctor will suggest the type of aid that suits the patient's condition.

Paralysis sufferers need support from family and people around them, and need to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Both of these things will help improve the quality of life of the sufferer. In addition, the sufferer should also remain active and exercise regularly as recommended by the doctor.

5. Operation

Depending on the cause, surgery can also be done as a form of treatment to overcome paralysis. For example, in the case of sudden paralysis due to spinal cord injury, the doctor will perform  spinal surgery  to repair the damage to that part.

Paralysis Complications

Paralysis can occur in any part of the body depending on the cause. The thing to worry about is when the paralysis is permanent, or when the paralysis occurs in the respiratory muscles causing the sufferer to stop breathing.

In addition, paralysis can cause sufferers to experience:

  • Depression
  • Speech and swallowing disorders
  • Decubitus ulcers
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Urinary incontinence  and  fecal incontinence
  • Deep vein thrombosis

Paralysis Prevention

Efforts to prevent paralysis are tailored to the cause. To prevent paralysis due to accidental injury, efforts that can be made are:

  • Drive carefully and obey traffic signs
  • Use a seat belt while driving
  • Avoiding the consumption of alcoholic beverages or drugs that can cause drowsiness before driving
  • Use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and follow the instructor's instructions well when doing high-risk activities, such as rock climbing

As for preventing paralysis due to health disorders or diseases such as stroke, the method is:

  • Avoid foods high in salt and cholesterol
  • Increase fruit and vegetable consumption
  • Exercise regularly, at least 30 minutes every day
  • Quit smoking if you are an active smoker
  • Routinely check blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol levels
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