What Causes Paralysis?

Paralysis is most often caused by damage in the nervous system, especially the spinal cord. Major causes are stroke, trauma with nerve injury, poliomyelitis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), botulism, spina bifida, multiple sclerosis, and Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Temporary paralysis occurs during REM sleep, and dysregulation of this system can lead to episodes of waking paralysis. Drugs that interfere with nerve function, such as curare, can also cause paralysis.

There are many known causes for paralysis, and perhaps more yet to be discovered.

''Pseudoparalysis'' (''pseudo-'' meaning false, not genuine) is voluntary restriction or inhibition of motion because of pain, incoordination, or other cause, and is not due to actual muscular paralysis. In an infant, it may be a symptom of congenital syphilis.

Further Reading

This article is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article on "Paralysis" All material adapted used from Wikipedia is available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Wikipedia® itself is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.

Last Updated: Feb 1, 2011

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  1. Ron Hardin Ron Hardin United States says:

    My wife has been diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome for 3 years after being treated for a dystonia in the lumbar region of her back for a couple of more years  Her back is extremely contorted (hyper-lordosis). She has had no positive effect from IVIG, Plasma Exchange, Bacflen infusion, hyper dosage of Diazapan, Botox injections, and physical therapy.  We have sought treatment at Kansas University Medical Center and the Mayo Clinic.  Over the last 2 months, she has periodic episodes of almost total paralysis.  She can talk and swallow a pill if I feed it to her, her muscles are locked and rigid.  I cannot pry her limbs from their position.  She experiences severe pain while in this condition, which lasts from 2 to 4 hours.  This always happens while she is in bed and she usually wakes to this problem, which has happened about 8 times.  I don't feel like anyone believes us.

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