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Paralysis Injury Law
Paralysis, the inability to move muscles, is caused by an injury or disease affecting the motor neurons, or nerves that send impulses to muscles. There are two kinds of motor neurons: upper and lower. The upper motor neurons send impulses from the brain to the lower motor neurons. The lower motor neurons send the impulses on to the muscles. Paralysis can result from a malfunction of either set of neurons. Malfunction of the upper motor neurons usually affects both sides of the body, while damage to the lower motor neurons may only affect one side.
Paralysis can be caused by both injury and disease, and it can come on suddenly or gradually over time. Some common causes of sudden-onset paralysis are:
Spinal cord injury
Trauma to the neck or back
Transient ischemic attack (transient stroke whose symptoms are temporary)
Blood vessel rupture in the brain
The most common causes of the above injuries are auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, falls, violent crimes, and sports injuries.
Causes of gradual-onset paralysis include:
Lou Gehrig’s disease (motor neuron disease)
Polyneuropathies (allergies, poisoning, drug reactions)
Depersonalization disorders (feeling detached from body or mental processes)
There are several symptoms related to gradual-onset paralysis or partial paralysis. These include:
Paralysis can affect the whole body or smaller parts, such as the face, jaw, leg, arm, elbow, knee, foot, finger, or wrist. Paralysis generally takes one of two forms, spastic or flaccid. In spastic paralysis the muscles are tight, which can cause arms and legs to be in an abnormal position. Paralysis can also cause flaccid muscles, which hang limp and weak, and the body can look thin and wasted. Some gradual-onset forms of paralysis begin with flaccid muscles, which later become spastic.
Treatment depends on the cause of the paralysis. In cases of injury the person is sometimes able to regain some or all control of muscles over time. The majority of stroke victims regain a part of their mobility. Degenerative diseases, however, tend to lead to worsening paralysis.
There is no known cure or treatment for paralysis, but there are treatments for various symptoms. Spastic symptoms are relieved through stress-release and relaxation techniques, and patients are advised to avoid certain positions that might worsen the symptoms. Physical therapy is used to prevent the muscle from wasting away and to strengthen muscles that aren’t paralyzed. Anti-spastic drugs can be taken orally or injected into the fluid around the spinal cord, though drugs are not always needed. When spastic muscles are placing limbs in extreme positions, surgery may be indicated. The newest treatment is Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES), which involves electrical stimulation of paralyzed muscles.
The treatment of flaccid paralysis is similar. Attention is paid to positioning the body and physical therapy maintains the muscles. Splints or other mechanisms may be used to support joints. Drugs can sometimes be used to treat the underlying disease, and new surgical techniques involving nerve transplants are expanding rapidly.
If you or a loved one have suffered catastrophic injuries causing paralysis through no fault of your own, contact an experienced personal injury attorney right away. If you would like a free case evaluation, simply fill out our case evaluation form and an experienced personal injury lawyer will contact you for a no cost, no obligation consultation.
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