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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.

Most paralysis is due to strokes or injuries such as spinal cord injury or a broken neck. Other causes of paralysis include

Polio used to be a cause of paralysis, but polio no longer occurs in the U.S.

Symptoms of Paralysis

The following features are indicative of Paralysis:
  • rapid onset of mild weakness on one side of the face
  • drooling
  • pain around the jaw or in or behind the ear on the affected side
  • increased sensitivity to sound on the affected side
  • headache
  • hoarseness
  • noisy breathing
  • loss of vocal pitch
  • choking or coughing while swallowing food, drink or saliva
  • inability to speak loudly
  • loss of the gag reflex
  • ineffective coughing

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Common Causes of Paralysis

The following are the most common causes of Paralysis:
  • stroke
  • spinal cord injury
  • broken neck
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • viral infection
  • hand-foot-and-mouth disease
  • injury to the vocal cord during surgery
  • neck or chest injury
  • Parkinson's disease

Risk Factors for Paralysis

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Paralysis:
  • third trimester of pregnancy
  • upper respiratory infection
  • diabetes
  • undergoing throat or chest surgery
  • Parkinson's disease
  • multiple sclerosis

Prevention of Paralysis

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Paralysis. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • prevent yourself from injuries
  • eat a balanced diet
  • keep the muscles strengthened by exercising

Occurrence of Paralysis

Common Age Group

Paralysis can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Paralysis can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Paralysis

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Paralysis:
  • Electromyography: To confirm the presence of nerve damage
  • Imaging scans: To rule out other possible sources of pressure on the facial nerve by MRI and CT scan
  • Laryngoscopy: To view the vocal cords directly to determine the movement and position of the vocal cords
  • Laryngeal electromyography: To test the measures of the electric currents in the voice box muscles
  • Blood tests and scans: To identify the cause of the paralysis

Doctor for Diagnosis of Paralysis

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Paralysis:
  • General practitioner
  • Neurologist
  • Speech-language pathologist
  • Otolaryngologist

Complications of Paralysis if untreated

Yes, Paralysis causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Paralysis is left untreated:
  • irreversible damage to the facial nerve
  • misdirected regrowth of nerve fibers
  • partial or complete blindness of the eye
  • choking on inhaling food or liquid

Procedures for Treatment of Paralysis

The following procedures are used to treat Paralysis:
  • Physical therapy: Massage and exercise of facial muscles to correct paralyzed muscle
  • Surgery: Relieves the pressure on the facial nerve by opening the bony passage
  • Surgery: To improve the ability to speak and to swallow
  • Structural implants: Reposition of the vocal cord
  • Replacing the damaged nerve: Replace the damaged vocal cord that improves voice
  • Tracheotomy: Allows air to bypass the immobilized vocal cords

Self-care for Paralysis

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Paralysis:
  • Keep the eyes lubricated: Moisturized eye keep the facial muscles relaxed
  • Regularly physical exercise: Relaxes and strengthens your facial muscles

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Paralysis

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Paralysis:
  • Do meditation and yoga: Relieves the muscle tension and chronic pain
  • Acupuncture: Stimulate the nerves and muscles
  • Biofeedback training: Helps you to use your thoughts to control your body
  • Vitamin therapy: Helps in nerve growth

Patient Support for Treatment of Paralysis

The following actions may help Paralysis patients:
  • Education: Educate yourself about the problem
  • Take help from speech therapist: Helps you in developing the skills

Time for Treatment of Paralysis

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Paralysis to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 3 - 6 months

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 3/17/2019.
This page provides information for Paralysis.

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