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.


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