What Happens When Someone Becomes Paralyzed?
Paralysis is the loss of muscle function in one or more parts of the body due to a nervous system injury or disease. Affected nerves cannot send signals to muscles, so people with paralysis cannot move certain parts of their bodies.
Data shows that about one in fifty Americans have some form of paralysis. While some people experience partial or temporary paralysis, permanent paralysis is irreversible, meaning the person never regains muscle control.
The most common causes of paralysis involve:
- Spinal cord injury
- Multiple sclerosis
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Cerebral palsy
A spinal cord injury can happen for various reasons. Some of the most common causes involve a car crash, fall, sports injury, or another spinal cord injury that cuts the spinal cord, stopping the communication between the brain and the rest of the body.
A spinal cord injury can cause various types of paralysis, such as:
- Monoplegia – a paralysis that occurs in one arm or leg
- Hemiplegia – a paralysis that affects one arm and one leg on the same side of the body
- Paraplegia – a paralysis that affects both legs
- Quadriplegia – a paralysis that occurs in both arms and both legs
The first thing your loved one needs to do is learn about their condition. Understanding paralysis can help the person accept their changed life circumstances, consider appropriate treatment and care options, and go on with their life.
Psychotherapy can help your loved one cope with a loss of mobility, so support them by looking for a qualified therapist.