Paralysis is a condition where the body’s muscles are paralyzed due to damage or disease. The term “paralyzed” refers to the fact that a person cannot move their limbs normally. There are different types of paralysis:
1) Motor neuron diseases (also called motor neurone disorders): These conditions cause damage to specific parts of the brain that control muscle movement.
For example, Parkinson’s Disease affects certain areas of the brain responsible for controlling voluntary movements such as walking and breathing. Other types of motor neuron diseases include Friedreich’s Ataxia and Huntington’s Disease.
2) Spinal cord injuries: These are usually caused by accidents or trauma to the spinal cord.
They may affect the nerves that carry signals from one part of your body to another. Examples include stroke, head injury, traumatic brain injury, and other forms of blunt force trauma.
3) Neurodegenerative diseases: These diseases result from abnormal cell death.
Some examples include Alzheimer’s Disease, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and Huntington’s Disease.
4) Traumatic brain injury (TBI): TBI occurs when a hard object like a bullet hits the back of the skull causing severe bleeding into the brain.
This type of injury can cause loss of consciousness within seconds or minutes. Other symptoms may occur immediately or take time to develop.
5) Bleeding in the brain: When bleeding occurs inside the skull, it can put pressure on the brain and cause a range of health effects.
An aneurysm is a weak area in a blood vessel which can suffer a small puncture or tear. The vessel then swells up and puts pressure on the brain. Aneurysms can also burst (rupture) causing bleeding into the brain.
6) Infections: Certain types of infection can spread to the brain and cause health problems.
If this occurs, it is called encephalitis. Viruses, bacteria, and parasites like worms or ticks can all cause encephalitis. Viral infections are the most common cause of encephalitis. Other causes include fungal infections and parasitic infections.
7) Tumors: Tumors are abnormal masses of tissue that grow in the body.
They can be either benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). Benign tumors do not spread to other parts of the body like malignant ones do. They are also less likely to recur after treatment. Malignant tumors can spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream or lymphatic system or directly invade nearby tissues.
8) Head injuries: Any injury that affects the head can result in paralysis.
This is particularly common in car accidents where the head hits the dashboard, window, or another hard object. It can also occur in sports or other accidents such as a fall.
9) Other: In addition to the causes listed above, paralysis can also occur due to poisoning, blood loss, or a number of other medical conditions.
It can even be inherited in some cases.
In this world there are many kind of paralysis, but the two most common ones are spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries. The first kind is less serious since you still have feeling and limited movement but the second kind is more serious since all movement is gone. More information about these conditions soon.
Most people who suffer paralysis can still lead an independent life in the assisted living facility of their choice. For example, there is a paralyzed man who lives on his own by himself and even drives his car. However, as you can imagine life with paralysis can be very challenging. A lot of people have trouble adjusting to their new life situation and give up quickly.
This could lead to depression or suicide in severe cases.
And finally, there are various types of equipment designed to help people with paralysis live more independently. These devices can be useful, but they can also be expensive and require maintenance over time. It is best to check with your doctor before making a purchase.
As you can see, paralysis is a very complex topic. However, there is a good chance you or someone you know may one day suffer from this condition. In the next section we will discuss the most prevalent causes of paralysis and how it can be treated.
Before we begin, here are some helpful definitions to review:
Nerve Root: This is where a single nerve emerges from the spinal cord in the spine. There are two sides to the spinal cord, the left and right. Each nerve root provides sensation and movement to a specific area of skin on the body.
Nerve Fibers: These are long fiber-like formations that transmit electrical signals from one nerve to another.
Degeneration: This is the term for when cells in the body begin to die or no longer function normally. It can also refer to when cells lose their structure and organization.
Now that we have the definitions out of the way, here are the different causes of paralysis:
1) Trauma to the spinal cord or nerves: This is by far the most common cause of paralysis.
Injury to the spinal cord or nerves can cause temporary or permanent effects depending on how serious it is. If the injury is temporary then the patient may heal completely. However, if there is permanent damage then they may suffer from long-term effects or even paralysis.
2) Infectious diseases: Certain diseases, such as polio or Guillain-Barre syndrome, can cause paralysis.
These are rare in developed countries and patients are usually treated with antiviral drugs or other medicines to help them recover.
3) Degenerative diseases: Over time the ability of the spinal cord or nerves to transmit signals becomes weaker.
Usually this process is slow and painless, but in some cases it can occur suddenly due to disease or trauma. These diseases can cause paralysis by attacking and damaging the spinal cord or nerves.
4) Bleeding in the brain: When patients bleed in the brain it can interrupt the signal from the brain to the rest of the body.
If this occurs in the lower part of the brain, it can cause paralysis of the lower body. The upper part of the brain can cause paralysis of the upper body and face.
5) Infections: Certain types of infection can travel through the blood and infect the spinal cord or brain.
This can cause paralysis by attacking and damaging the nerves or spinal cord.
6) Tumors: Tumors are also capable of causing paralysis as they can grow and damage nearby nerves or the spinal cord itself.
7) Vitamin deficiency: Some people with certain vitamin deficiencies can suffer from nerve problems which can lead to temporary or permanent paralysis.
Now that we have discussed the different causes of paralysis, you may be wondering how it is treated. Unfortunately there is no cure for paralysis, but there are several ways to manage the condition. The main goals of treatment are to prevent any other problems such as pressure sores or kidney failure and to help with daily activities such as walking or breathing.
The two most common forms of treatment are medication and surgery. Medication is used mainly to control any pain and muscle spasms. Surgery is usually only used in cases of trauma where a spinal injury may have caused damage to the nerves or spinal cord. The surgeon will attempt to decompress the spine in order to allow some regeneration of the nerves.
As you can see, paralysis can affect people in many different ways. It all depends on what caused it and where the damage occurred.
You’ve been reading for over an hour now and your head is starting to hurt. Paralysis is a very complex medical condition and you wish your sister didn’t have to deal with it, but at least now you have a better understanding of what she’s going through. You take a deep breath and stare at the Wikipedia page one last time before closing the laptop. You notice it’s already past noon so you hurry to make yourself lunch and then head back to your room to figure out exactly what you want to draw for your project.
You’ve had a couple ideas floating around in your head for a while now and you try to recall them as you munch on your peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The first idea you come up with is a historical figure who was paralyzed, such as Christopher Reeves. Although he’s not a fictional character, you feel like your illustration would have more impact if it was someone most people didn’t know about. Your other idea was to draw a superhero such as Spider-Man or The Flash.
While this would be more fun to draw, you’re not sure if it would relate to your sister’s condition in any way.
You decide to sleep on it and think more about it later.
Over the next few days you see your sister continuing to struggle with her walking. It takes her much longer to get from one place to another and you often hear her screaming out in pain as she tries to move. It breaks your heart to see her suffer like this and you spend a lot of time doing your own research on the Internet to try to find some way of helping her walk easier or cure her paralysis altogether. The only thing you come up with is riding in a car to her physical therapy appointments.
It’s a hassle for you since you have to drive her there and then back home but at least it helps her out.
It’s now been a week since you presented your illustration to your teacher and you’ve finally got it colored in. You think it came out really well and you can’t wait to show it to your sister. You’ve also finally decided on who you’re going to portray in the illustration, and thanks to Google images, you have a good idea of what she looks like.
The next morning you wake up early so you can get your sister before she leaves for school. You quickly brush your teeth and wash your face before running into her room. She still hasn’t gotten around to moving into her new dorm room yet so she’s still sleeping in the mattress that’s on the floor of her closet. You gently shake her awake and watch as her eyes slowly start to open.
“What….?” Lucy asks still half asleep.
“Wake up, wake up, get ready, I’ve got something to show you!” You exclaim a little too loudly in her ear.
Lucy puts a hand over her forehead and closes her eyes as she tries to get out from under the covers.
“Fine, I’m getting up,” She groans.
“Hurry up, I’m not waiting all day.”
Lucy opens her eyes and shoots you a dirty look before swinging her legs over the side of the mattress. She slowly starts to stand up but immediately stops as her legs give out from under her. She curses in pain as she tries to stand up again. You watch as she slowly pulls herself up using the bed.
You want to help her but you know that she would probably bite your head off if you offered so instead you just wait patiently for her to get ready.
Lucy finally makes it over to her dresser and starts getting dressed. You watch as she struggles to put on her clothes without the use of her legs and arms. She manages to get them on pretty quickly and then walks with heavy steps toward you.
“Alright, alright, I’m ready. Now show me this picture,” She says.
You lead her by the hand over to where you have your drawing pinned to the wall.
“Alright, close your eyes,” You say as you spin her around.
“I don’t trust you,” She says laughing.
“Fine, but just don’t show it to me until I open my eyes.”
You smile and nod as she closes her eyes and covers them with her hand. You carefully pick up the drawing from the wall and quickly look at it one last time to make sure you got everything right. You make sure to hold it high enough that she can’t possibly see anything when she opens her eyes.
You walk over and stand behind her as you get ready to unveil the drawing.
“I guess,” She says a bit impatiently.
You bring down the portrait and reveal the drawing in front of her eyes.
“WOW!” She gasps as her eyes open wide with amazement.
You stand there proudly as you watch your sister’s reaction. Her mouth hangs open and she covers it with her hand as she starts to well up with tears.
“Oh my god, this is me…” She says breathless.
Do you like it?”
“I love it!” She exclaims as she lifts the portrait off the floor and hugs it tightly against her chest.
You smile as you watch the joy on your sister’s face. You feel great knowing that this gift was so well received and it makes you even more excited to see her reaction when she sees the one you got for mom.
“I have one more gift for you, but you have to close your eyes again,” You say.
“Ok,” She says eagerly as she covers her eyes with her hand.
You walk over and pick up the other portrait and walk back over to your sister. You then kneel down to her level and hold out the portrait in front of her.
“You can open them now,” You say with a smile.
She opens her eyes and immediately gasps when she sees the second portrait in your hands. Her hands begin to shake as she takes it from you and looks at it. Her eyes are welling up with tears again and this time she doesn’t even bother to hide it. She just stares at the portrait for a few moments while her face is overtaken by an expression of pure joy.
She kisses the portrait of her and your father over and over as the tears roll down her cheeks.
“Don’t cry, I can go get you a handkerchief if you like,” You say concerned.
“These… these are happy tears! I love it, I absolutely love it!
Thank you, thank you so much!” She says as she gives you a big hug.
She takes the portrait and carefully pins it in the middle of the empty wall in her room.
“It looks perfect there,” You say.
“It does,” She says smiling. “I’m glad you didn’t forget him.”
You smile back at her and again feel that sense of happiness you always feel when you make your sister happy.
That night you go to bed and for the first time in a long time, you sleep really well. The next day when you wake up, you’re surprised to find a brand new drawing pad and set of colored pencils sitting on your nightstand. You pick them up and smile as you flip through the pages of the pad.
Maybe things aren’t so bad after all.
Sources & references used in this article:
politics of climate justice paralysis above movement below by POCJP Above – 2012 – fokt.pw
The mechanism of immunological paralysis by DW Dresser, NA Mitchison – Advances in immunology, 1968 – Elsevier
Hypokalaemic paralysis by SK Ahlawat, A Sachdev – Postgraduate Medical Journal, 1999 – pmj.bmj.com
Acute spinal cord compression paralysis by IM Tarlov – Journal of neurosurgery, 1972 – thejns.org
Periodic paralysis by JH TALBOTT – Medicine, 1941 – journals.lww.com