What are the signs of paralysis problems?

Paralysis is the loss of muscle movement in the body. Our sense of movement is controlled by communication between the sensory nerves (which are part of the peripheral nervous system) and the central nervous system (comprised of the brain and spinal cord). Disruption of communication of nerve impulses anywhere along the pathway from the brain to the muscles can impair control of muscle movement and cause muscle weakness and loss of coordination. Muscle weakness can progress to paralysis, loss of the ability to move the muscles.

Muscle Problems Spotlight

Paralysis symptoms can occur anywhere in the body. They may occur on both sides of the body (bilateral) or one side (unilateral). Paralysis occurring in the lower half of the body, below the midsection, is known as paraplegia. Quadriplegia is paralysis occurring in both the arms and the legs.

Paralysis can be caused by trauma or spinal cord injuries. Neurological disorders, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, Bell’s palsy (inflammation of the facial nerve), and other types of nerve damage (such as neuropathy) can cause paralysis. Some cases of paralysis are caused by autoimmune disorders such as Guillain-Barré syndrome, multiple sclerosis, or rheumatoid arthritis. Stroke and transient ischemic attack are common and potentially life-threatening causes of paralysis. Exposure to toxins and poisonings are also known to cause paralysis. These include exposure to the botulinum toxin, certain toxins in shellfish, or venom from snakes or jellyfish.

Sudden paralysis is a serious symptom signaling a medical emergency such as stroke or spinal cord injury. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, experience loss of coordination on one or both sides of your body; confusion or loss of consciousness for even a brief moment; disorientation; numbness; inability to speak; or memory loss.

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with paralysis symptoms?

Paralysis may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition.... Read more about paralysis symptomssymptoms

CAUSES

What causes paralysis symptoms?

Paralysis is the loss of muscle movement in the body. Our sense of movement is controlled by communication between the sensory nerves, known as the peripheral nervous system, and the central nervous system, which comprises the brain and spinal cord. Disruption of communication of nerve impulses along the pathway from the brain to the muscles can impair control of muscle movement and cause muscle weakness and loss of coordination. Muscle weakness can progress to paralysis.... Read more about paralysis symptomscauses

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Brain and Nerves