The paralysis of four limbs can be either partial or complete which means it can occur on one or both sides of the body.

Paralysis of four limbs

A loss of muscle function in part of your body or loss of ability to move some part or all of the body.

It occurs when something goes wrong with the way messages pass through your brain and muscles.

It can also impact in only one area, or it can be widespread to other areas of the body.

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What are the four types of paralysis?

  1. Monoplegia, which affected only one arm or leg.
  2. Hemiplegia, which affects one arm and one leg on the same side of your body.
  3. Paraplegia, which affects both of your legs.
  4. Quadriplegia, or tetraplegia, which affects both of your arms and both of your legs.

Paraplegia is paralysis that affects the lower half of the body, including both legs. Tetraplegia, also known as quadriplegia, is paralysis caused by illness or injury that results in the partial or total loss of use of all four limbs and torso; paraplegia is similar but does not affect the arms.

The loss is usually sensory and motor, which means that both sensation and control are lost.

Major causes of Paralysis of four limbs

Paralysis is often caused by damage to the nervous system, especially the spinal cord.

Other major causes are a stroke, trauma with nerve injury, poliomyelitis, cerebral palsy, peripheral nephropathy, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, botulism, spina bifida, multiple sclerosis, and Guillain–Barré syndrome.

The loss of muscle function after these types of events can be severe.

Often it will not completely return, even with treatment.

Paralysis can be temporary or permanent. It can affect a small area (localized) or be widespread (generalized).

The symptoms of paralysis

The symptoms of paralysis of four limbs are usually easy to identify.  If you experience paralysis, you’ll lose function in a specific or widespread area of your body. Sometimes a tingling or numbing sensation can occur before total paralysis sets in. Paralysis will also make it difficult or impossible to control muscles in the affected body parts.

What may look like an obvious symptom of paralysis may not be paralysis.  Numbness, weakness in muscles or muscle cramps may ‘feel’ like paralysis, but it is not so.  It’s only the complete loss of muscle function that is construed as paralysis.  Paralysis may affect either one side of the body or both sides, upper limbs, or just the legs; sometimes the whole body is paralyzed except for the eyes.


Is paralysis painful?

The pain that concerns most individuals with paralysis is neuropathic pain which is pain due to miscommunication of the nerves as interpreted by the brain. Neuropathic pain can be a signal from a nerve below your level of injury that sends a pain message to the brain but it may not take the correct route.

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How is paralysis of four limbs diagnosed?

Diagnosing paralysis is often easy, especially when your loss of muscle function is obvious. For internal body parts where paralysis is more difficult to identify, your doctor may use X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, or other imaging studies.

If you experience a spinal cord injury, your doctor may use myelography to assess your condition. In this procedure, they’ll insert a special dye into the nerves in your spinal cord. This will help them see your nerves more clearly on X-rays.

They may also perform electromyography. In this procedure, they’ll use sensors to measure electrical activity in your muscles.

  • X-ray: This test uses small amounts of radiation to produce detailed images of the dense structures inside the body, such as the bones.
  • CT scan: CT uses computers to combine many X-ray images into cross-sectional views of the inside of the body.
  • MRI: MRI uses a large magnet, radio waves, and a computer to create clear images of the body.
  • Myelography: This test uses a contrast dye that is injected into the spinal canal to make the nerves show up very clearly on an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI.
  • Electromyography (EMG): This test is used to measure the electrical activity in the muscles and nerves.
  • Spinal tap: A long needle is injected into the spine to collect spinal fluid.

Paralysis of Four Limbs treatment and support

Paralysis can give a big impact on the patient lives, but support is available to enable them to live as freely as they can and have the best possible quality of life. Help that need will largely depend on what’s causing the paralysis.

Some of the things that can help paralysis patient include mobility equipment such as wheelchair, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and medicine. All depend on the particular hospital.

Some of the things that can help people who are paralyzed include:
• Mobility equipment – such as wheelchairs and limb support (braces).
• Medicines to relieve problems such as pain, stiffness and muscle spasms.
• Physiotherapy to help you maintain as much strength and muscle mass as you can.
• Occupational therapy to help you adapt your homes tasks such as dressing and cooking.

How is paralysis treated?

A treatment plan will depend on the underlying cause of the paralysis, as well the symptoms experienced. For example, a doctor may prescribe:
• surgery or possible amputation
• physical therapy
• occupational therapy
• mobility aids, such as wheelchairs, braces, mobile scooters, or other devices
• medications, such as Botox or muscle relaxers, if you have spastic paralysis

In many cases, paralysis of four limbs isn’t curable. But a healthcare team can recommend a variety of treatments, tools, and strategies to help manage symptoms.

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Levine Lee

Life Planner at Red Cover Life Planning
Levine Lee is an expert AIA insurance agent and life planner. She has over 12 years of working experience with AIA and ING Insurance as an insurance agent and life planner.This makes her efficient and effective to manage clients for AIA Group Insurance Plans, AIA Life Insurance and AIA Takaful policies.Based in the Klang Valley in Malaysia, Levine serves her customers all over Malaysia, as they move between cities because of job changes.

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Paralysis of Four Limbs
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Paralysis of Four Limbs
Paralysis of four limbs or Quadriplegia is paralysis caused by illness or injury that results in the partial or total loss of use of all four limbs. Read our article here about the disease, symptoms and treatment available to treat the illness.
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