Paralysis is the loss of muscle function in part of your body. It happens when something goes wrong with the way messages pass between your brain and muscles. Paralysis can be complete or partial. It can occur on one or both sides of your body. It can also occur in just one area, or it can be widespread. Paralysis of the lower half of your body, including both legs, is called paraplegia. Paralysis of the arms and legs is quadriplegia.
The signs and symptoms of paralysis will depend upon what caused the paralysis, as well as what parts of the body are affected. Loss of movement and feeling can be sudden and immediate, such as with trauma or stroke, or it can begin with muscle weakness and gradually progress, particularly when it is caused by certain diseases or illnesses.
Diagnosing paralysis is not usually necessary if the cause is obvious – for example, if paralysis has occurred after a stroke.
If tests are needed to help diagnose paralysis, the type of tests required will depend on the underlying cause.
Some tests used to help determine the extent of paralysis include:
- CT Scan
The aim of treatment for individuals with paralysis is generally for them to live as independently as possible with the highest quality of life.
The optimal management for each individual with paralysis depends on the type of paralysis and the effect this has on their quality of life.