Paralysis; Paresis; Loss of movement; Motor dysfunction
Sudden loss of muscle function is a medical emergency. Seek immediate medical help.
After you have received medical treatment, your doctor may recommend some of the following measures:
- Follow your prescribed therapy.
- If the nerves to your face or head are damaged, you may have difficulty chewing and swallowing or closing your eyes. In these cases, a soft diet may be recommended. You will also need some form of eye protection, such as a patch over the eye while you are asleep.
- Long-term immobility can cause serious complications. Change positions often and take care of your skin. Range-of-motion exercises may help to maintain some muscle tone.
Splintsmay help prevent muscle contractures, a condition in which a muscle becomes permanently shortened.
Call your health care provider if
Muscle paralysis always requires immediate medical attention. If you notice gradual weakening or problems with a muscle, get medical attention as soon as possible.
What to expect at your health care provider's office
The doctor will perform a
- What part(s) of the body are affected?
- Does it affect one or both sides of the body?
- Did it develop in a top-to-bottom pattern (descending paralysis), or a bottom-to-top pattern (ascending paralysis)?
- Do you have difficulty getting out of a chair or climbing stairs?
- Do you have difficulty lifting your arm above your head?
- Do you have problems extending or lifting your wrist (wrist drop)?
- Do you have difficulty gripping (grasping)?
- Do you have pain?
- Do you have
numbness, tingling, or loss of sensation?
- Do you have difficulty controlling your bladder or bowels?
- Do you have shortness of breath?
- What other symptoms do you have?
- Time pattern
- Do episodes occur repeatedly (recurrent)?
- How long do they last?
- Is the muscle function loss getting worse (progressive)?
- Is it progressing slowly or quickly?
- Does it become worse over the course of the day?
- Aggravating and relieving factors
- What, if anything, makes the paralysis worse?
- Does it get worse after you take potassium supplements by mouth?
- Is it better after you rest?
Tests that may be performed include:
- Blood studies (such as
CBC, white blood cell differential, blood chemistry levels, or muscle enzyme levels)
CT scan or MRI of the heador spine Myelography
- Nerve conduction studies and
- Muscle or nerve
Review Date: 02/06/2010
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, and Department of Anatomy at UCSF, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.