Paralysis is the inability or reduced ability to voluntarily move one or more muscles, muscle groups or limbs. There are different kinds of paralysis.
Motor paralysis (paralysis of the locomotor system) is differentiated into peripheral and central paralysis depending on the level where the damage occurred.
Peripheral paralysis: The nerve is diseased or damaged, either in its course after leaving the spinal cord (e.g. severed by an injury) or where it originates in the spinal cord (e.g. in case of poliomyelitis). These are always cases of flaccid paralysis. The affected muscle groups or limbs exhibit no tension whatsoever.
Central paralysis: The paralysis site is located higher, i.e. in the long nerve tracts, known as the pyramidal tracts of the spinal cord (spinal paralysis), or in the brain itself (cerebral paralysis), for example following a stroke. The course of central paralysis is often spastic, i.e. the tension of the affected musculature is elevated. Depending on the extent of paralysis, one speaks of monoplegia (paralysis of only one limb), paraplegia (paralysis of the upper or lower limbs), tetraplegia (paralysis of all limbs) or hemiplegia (paralysis of one side of the body).
Sensitive paralysis (sensory paralysis)
This type of paralysis is caused by diseases of the peripheral or central nervous system. Here the ability to perceive sensory stimuli such as cold, heat, pain or touch is eliminated or reduced in certain body regions.
Other types of paralysis
In some cases, paralysis is due to an illness of the muscle itself (myogenic paralysis). Paralysis for mental reasons (psychogenic paralysis) is also possible but occurs rarely.