How physiotherapy can help patients with paralysis

Paralysis refers to the loss of muscle use in a particular part of the body. As a result, the patient will not be able to properly move that meticulous part. Patients suffering from paralysis lose all the sensation in the affected part of the body and may not notice a pin or hot object pressed against the paralysed limb. This explains there’s something not right with the signals passed between the brain and the muscles.

What are the causes of paralysis?   

When blood supply to the brain is interrupted, it is deprived of oxygen which leads to stroke. Lack of blood supply to the brain may happen due to a head injury. A person suffering from stroke may have difficulty with speech, understanding, swallowing and movement.

The left side of the brain affects the right side of the body and vice-versa. The place of the stroke determines where paralysis may occur. In most of the cases, paralysis occurs due to the damage to nervous system, particularly the spinal cord. Primary reasons behind paralysis are stroke and trauma along with nerve injury. Other factors may include poliomyelitis, spina bifida, multiple sclerosis and Guillain-Barré syndrome.

What are the different types of paralysis?

The type of paralysis depends on which part of the spinal cord is injured. Cauda Equina Syndrome affects the nerves in different parts of the body. Paraplegia affects the legs, abdomen and can also affect the chest. Quadriplegia is a form of paralysis that can affect the arms, legs, chest or stomach.

Are there any treatment options for paralysis?

Unfortunately, there’s no cure for paralysis at the moment. However, treatment helps patients in becoming independent. Treating the underlying cause of paralysis sometimes helps in restoring mobility in the affected body part. Medicines, physiotherapy, surgery and exercises are means of treating paralysis.

Physiotherapy should be started at the earliest. It relaxes muscles and helps improve blood circulation. It also takes care of the progress of paralysis. Treatment can improve muscle tone and the overall well-being of the patient. When a brain has suffered an external injury, physiotherapy may reduce swelling and help in speedy recovery.

Physiotherapy focuses on keeping the patient as mobile as possible. It also helps maintain and build strength in the affected muscles. This further prevents the limbs from becoming deformed. As limbs are recovering, physiotherapy can be used to help retrain the nerves and muscles. A physiotherapist may recommend the use of adaptive equipment such as braces, canes, or wheelchairs.

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