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n. muscle weakness that varies in its extent, its severity, and the degree of spasticity or flaccidity according to the nature of the underlying disease and its distribution in the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, or muscles. See flaccid; spastic paralysis. See also diplegia; hemiplegia; paraplegia; poliomyelitis. —paralytic adj.

Oxford | Concise Colour Medical Dictionary | Jonathan Law, Elizabeth Martin

Paralysis, or PALSY, is loss of muscular power due to some disorder of the NERVOUS SYSTEM. Weakness – rather than total movement loss – is sometimes described as paresis. Paralysis may be temporary or permanent and may be accompanied by loss of feeling.

Paralysis due to brain disease The most common form is unilateral palsy, or HEMIPLEGIA, generally arising from cerebral HAEMORRHAGE, THROMBOSIS or EMBOLISM affecting the opposite side of the BRAIN. If all four limbs and trunk are affected, the paralysis is called quadraplegia; if both legs and part of the trunk are affected, it is called paraplegia. Paralysis may also be divided into ?accid (?oppy limbs) or spastic (rigid).

In hemiplegia the cause may be an abscess, haemorrhage, thrombosis or TUMOUR in the brain. CEREBRAL PALSY or ENCEPHALITIS are other possible causes. Sometimes damage occurs in the parts of the nervous system responsible for the ?ne control of muscle movements: the cerebellum and basal ganglion are such areas, and lack of DOPAMINE in the latter causes PARKINSONISM.

Damage or injury Damage to or pressure on the SPINAL CORD may paralyse muscles supplied by nerves below the site of damage. A fractured spine or pressure from a tumour may have this e?ect. Disorders affecting the cord which can cause paralysis include osteoarthritis of the cervical vertebrae (see BONE, DISORDERS OF), MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS (MS), MYELITIS, POLIOMYELITIS and MENINGITIS. Vitamin B12 de?ciency (see APPENDIX 5: VITAMINS) may also cause deterioration in the spinal cord (see also SPINE AND SPINAL CORD, DISEASES AND INJURIES OF).

Neuropathies are a group of disorders, some inherited, that damage the peripheral nerves, thus affecting their ability to conduct electrical impulses. This, in turn, causes muscle weakness or paralysis. Among the causes of neuropathies are cancers, DIABETES MELLITUS, liver disease, and the toxic consequences of some drugs or metals – lead being one example.

Disorders of the muscles themselves – for example, muscular dystrophy (see MUSCLES, DISORDERS OF – Myopathy) – can disturb their normal working and so cause partial or complete paralysis of the part(s) affected.

Treatment The aim of treatment should be to remedy the underlying cause – for example, surgical removal of a displaced intervertebral

disc or treating diabetes mellitus. Sometimes the cause cannot be recti?ed but, whether treatable or not, physiotherapy is essential to prevent joints from seizing up and to try to maintain some tone in muscles that may be only partly affected. With temporary paralysis, such as can occur after a STROKE, physiotherapy can retrain the sufferers to use their muscles and joints to ensure mobility during and after recovery. Patients with permanent hemiplegia, paraplegia or quadraplegia need highly skilled nursing care, rehabilitative support and resources, and expert help to allow them, if possible, to live at home.

Medical Dictionary | Health Dictionary

Complete or partial loss of controlled movement caused by the inability to contract 1 or more muscles. Paralysis may be temporary or permanent. There may also be loss of feeling in affected areas.

Paralysis of one half of the body is called hemiplegia; paralysis of all 4 limbs and the trunk is called quadriplegia. Paraplegia is paralysis of both legs and sometimes part of the trunk. Paralysis may be flaccid, causing floppiness, or spastic, causing rigidity.

Paralysis can be caused by brain disorders such as stroke, brain tumour, brain abscess, or brain haemorrhage. Some types of paralysis are caused by damage to parts of the nervous system (such as the cerebellum and basal ganglia) concerned with fine control of movement. Paralysis can also be caused by damage to or pressure on the spinal cord as a result of injury or disc prolapse. Diseases affecting the spinal cord (such as multiple sclerosis and poliomyelitis) and muscle disorders (such as muscular dystrophy) may also cause paralysis. Nerve disorders, called neuropathies, may cause varying degrees of paralysis.

The underlying cause is treated, if possible, and physiotherapy is used to prevent joints from becoming locked and to strengthen muscles and joints.

BMA Medical Dictionary | The British Medical Association

Loss of ability to move a limb or the whole body. Flaccid paralysis (with wasting of muscle) is due to lesion of a spinal or peripheral nerve. Spastic paralysis is due to “stroke” in the brain. Diagnosis: wasting follows damage to a surface nerve. In damage of the spinal cord there will be no wasting but loss of use of muscles.

Treatment. Depends upon the cause. Though cure is impossible, some herbs tend to prevent stiffening, and ameliorate symptoms. Others may assist function as in paralysis ileus (paralysis of muscles of the intestinal walls) where Ispaghula seeds provide bulk and promote peristalsis. To strengthen the nervous system: Oats. Circulatory stimulants and nerve restoratives are indicated. Nettle tea is helpful. Limbs have regained temporary sensation on being beaten with the herb; others have lost rheumatism. Virginia Snake root had its reputation among early American Eclectics.

For a mild or temporary condition:– Teas: Nettles. Yerbe Mate.

Other alternatives:– Tablets/capsules. Prickly Ash. Black Cohosh.

Formula. Equal parts: Gentian, Ginger, Ginkgo.

Dose – Liquid extracts: 1-2 teaspoons. Tinctures: 1-3 teaspoons. Powders: 750mg (three 00 capsules or half a teaspoon). Thrice daily.

Cystitis: to relieve: Bearberry or Cranesbill tea.

Practitioner. Tincture Nux vomica: 10 drops in 100ml water. Dose: one teaspoon every two hours (temporary).

Thomson School. 1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper mixed with 2 teaspoons Lobelia herb or seeds. Half a teaspoon to each cup boiling water; infuse 15 minutes. Half a cup 2-3 times daily with honey.

Diet. Lacto-vegetarian.

Supplements: B-complex, B6, B12, E. Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc.

For other paralytic conditions see: MOTOR NEURONE DISEASE, MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS, MYASTHENIA GRAVIS, POLYMYELITIS, STROKE, SYRINGOMYELIA.

Treatment of severe nerve conditions should be supervised by neurologists and practitioners whose training prepares them to recognise serious illness and to integrate herbal and supplementary intervention safely into the treatment plan. 

Bartrams Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine | Health Encyclopedia


Paralysis | Health Encyclopedia

The keywords of this medical terms: Paralysis

Bulbar Paralysis

See PARALYSIS; MOTOR NEURONE DISEASE (MND).... Medical Dictionary

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Medical Dictionary

Erb’s Paralysis

Erb’s paralysis is a form of paralysis of the arm due to stretching or tearing of the ?bres of the brachial nerve plexus. Such damage to the brachial plexus may occur during birth, especially when the baby is unusually large, and it is found that the arm lies by the side of the body with elbow extended, forearm pronated, and the ?ngers ?exed. The infant is unable to raise the arm.... Medical Dictionary

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Medical Dictionary

Facial Paralysis

paralysis of the facial nerve, causing weakness and loss of function of the muscles it serves. It occurs in *Bell’s palsy. The commonest cause is infection with the herpes simplex virus.... Oxford | Concise Colour Medical Dictionary

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Oxford | Concise Colour Medical Dictionary

General Paralysis Of The Insane

An outdated term used to describe the stage of mental and physical deterioration that occurs in untreated or unsuccessfully treated syphilis.... BMA Medical Dictionary

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BMA Medical Dictionary

General Paralysis Of The Insane

(GPI, general paresis) a stage of tertiary *syphilis characterized by *dementia and spastic weakness of the limbs (paresis). Deafness, epilepsy, and *dysarthria may occur. The infecting organism can be detected in the brain cells and tests for syphilis in blood and cerebrospinal fluid are usually positive. When the symptoms are combined with those of *tabes dorsalis, the resulting condition is called tabo-paresis. The condition is now rare due to widespread treatment of earlier stages with penicillin and other antibiotics.... Oxford | Concise Colour Medical Dictionary

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Oxford | Concise Colour Medical Dictionary

General Paralysis Of The Insane

An outdated term for the tertiary stage of SYPHILIS.... Medical Dictionary

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Medical Dictionary

Infantile Paralysis

An old name for POLIOMYELITIS.... Medical Dictionary

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Medical Dictionary

Klumpke’s Paralysis

Injury as a result of the stretching of a baby’s brachial plexus during its birth may cause partial paralysis of the arm with atrophy of the muscles of the forearm and hand.... Medical Dictionary

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Medical Dictionary

Klumpke’s Paralysis

a partial paralysis of the arm caused by injury to a baby’s *brachial plexus during birth. This may result from an obstetric manoeuvre in which the arm is raised at the shoulder to an extreme degree, which damages the lower cervical (neck) and upper thoracic (chest) nerve roots of the spinal cord. It results in weakness and wasting of the muscles of the hand. [A. Klumpke (1859–1927), French neurologist]... Oxford | Concise Colour Medical Dictionary

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Oxford | Concise Colour Medical Dictionary

Klumpke’s Paralysis

Paralysis of the lower arm, with wasting of the small muscles in the hand, and numbness of the fingers (excluding the thumb) and of the inside of the forearm.

Klumpke’s paralysis is caused by injury to the 1st thoracic nerve (one of the spinal nerves) in the brachial plexus, which is usually the result of dislocation of the shoulder.... BMA Medical Dictionary

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BMA Medical Dictionary

Paralysis Agitans

See PARKINSONISM.... Medical Dictionary

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Medical Dictionary

Paralysis, Periodic

A rare, inherited condition that affects young people. Periodic paralysis is characterized by episodes of muscle weakness, which vary in frequency from daily to every few years and last from a few minutes to a few hours. In some cases, there is a drop in the potassium levels in the blood; in others, the levels rise. A carbohydraterich meal may trigger an attack. The condition often clears up without treatment by age 40.... BMA Medical Dictionary

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BMA Medical Dictionary

Sleep Paralysis

a terrifying inability to move or speak while remaining fully alert. It occurs in up to 60% of patients with *narcolepsy and may occur in other conditions, such as severe anxiety.... Oxford | Concise Colour Medical Dictionary

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Oxford | Concise Colour Medical Dictionary

Sleep Paralysis

The sensation of being unable to move at the moment of going to sleep or when waking up, usually lasting only a few seconds. It may be accompanied by hallucinations. Sleep paralysis most often occurs in people with narcolepsy. (See also cataplexy.)... BMA Medical Dictionary

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BMA Medical Dictionary

Spastic Paralysis

Inability to move a part of the body, accompanied by rigidity of the muscles. Causes of spastic paralysis include stroke, cerebral palsy, and multiple sclerosis. (See also paralysis.)... BMA Medical Dictionary

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BMA Medical Dictionary

Spastic Paralysis

weakness of a limb or limbs associated with increased reflex activity. This results in resistance to passive movement of the limb (see spasticity). It is caused by disease affecting the nerve fibres of the *pyramidal system, which in health not only initiate movement but also inhibit the stretch reflexes to allow the movements to take place. See also cerebral palsy.... Oxford | Concise Colour Medical Dictionary

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Oxford | Concise Colour Medical Dictionary

Thyrotoxic Periodic Paralysis

a condition in which attacks of sudden weakness and flaccidity occur in patients with *thyrotoxicosis, seen most often in males of Asian descent. The attacks last from hours to days; they can be prevented by potassium supplements and subsequent treatment of the thyrotoxicosis.... Oxford | Concise Colour Medical Dictionary

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Oxford | Concise Colour Medical Dictionary

Todd’s Paralysis

(Todd’s palsy) transient paralysis of a part of the body that has previously been involved in a focal epileptic seizure (see epilepsy). [R. B. Todd (1809–60), British physician]... Oxford | Concise Colour Medical Dictionary

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Oxford | Concise Colour Medical Dictionary

Todd’s Paralysis

Weakness in part of the body following some types of epileptic seizure (see epilepsy).

The weakness may last for minutes, hours, or even days, but there is no lasting effect.

The cause is thought to be temporary damage to the motor cortex (the area of the brain that controls movement).... BMA Medical Dictionary

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BMA Medical Dictionary