Partial paralysis can be described as a condition where a muscle or muscle group loses some of its function. The muscles still have some capacity to produce movement, unlike muscles that are completely paralyzed.
Common Causes of Partial Paralysis
Strokes occur when a hemorrhage or blockage in an artery cuts off the blood supply to the brain. The result is damage to a part of the brain. Paralysis one of the common disabilities caused by strokes. The majority of stroke survivors suffer from partial paralysis immediately after a stroke. Commonly, they have a weakness or inability to move one side of their body. The affected aspect of the body is usually the one opposite to the side of the brain that was damaged. The partial paralysis that follows a stroke can include one-sided weakness, difficulty swallowing or stiff muscles.
• Spinal Cord Trauma
An injury to the spine can cause damage to the spinal cord that results in partial paralysis. Spinal cord injuries can lead to the partial or full loss of movement and sensation. These injuries are described as either complete or incomplete. Patients with complete injuries have no sensation or muscle function below the point of the trauma. With incomplete injuries, the patient has some level of function below the point of the injury. Cells in the spinal cord are different from other cells in the body in that they do not regenerate after injury.
Certain types of poisoning can produce partial paralysis, including lead poisoning. Lead can damage peripheral nerves, which may cause a condition known as lead palsy. Individuals with lead palsy will suffer from the partial paralysis that will usually start in their hands and wrists. Lead poisoning is no longer a common health condition.
Bell’s palsy is a form of partial paralysis and can result from several health conditions. Bell’s palsy patients suffer from a one-sided facial nerve paralysis that can occur overnight. The condition can often be a product of Lyme disease and most often occurs in the second stage of the disease. Lyme disease is transmitted by the bite of a tick.
Treatments for Partial Paralysis
The treatments for partial paralysis depend on the cause of the disease. For paralysis resulting from spinal cord trauma, there is often no way to reverse the effects of the injury but surgery may be used to remove bone fragments and other objects compressing the spinal cord. Methylprednisolone may be administered to relieve inflammation at the site of the trauma. For stroke paralysis, rehabilitative therapy may help patients recover the use of their paralyzed limbs. Lead poisoning can often be treated by removing the contamination source; however, chelation therapy may be used to treat higher levels of exposure. A combination of steroids and antivirals can be used to help patients recover from Bell’s palsy.
The long-term outlook for partial paralysis is dependent on what caused it as well as how quickly the patient receives treatment. The quality of the treatment administered and how the patient responds to it are also factors in their prognosis. In many cases, it will be possible for them to recover fully; in others, the partial paralysis will be permanent.