Types of Paralysis (Pakshavadha)
Depending on where the paralysis has occurred, it can be classified in the following types:
- Monoplegia, in which only one limb – hand or leg – is affected
- Diplegia, in which both the limbs are affected
- Paraplegia, in which both the trunk and the legs are affected
- Hemiplegia, in which only one side of the body is affected
- Quadriplegia, in which the trunk and all the four limbs are affected
Causes of Paralysis (Pakshavadha)
Paralysis is always caused due to the impairment of the central nervous system, i.e. the brain and the spinal cord, or due to the impairment of the peripheral nervous system, i.e. the system of nerves radiating outwards from the brain and the spinal cord.
The following are the reasons why these nerve impairments might take place, leading to paralysis:
(1) Strokes – Strokes are the leading cause of paralysis. Strokes are the sudden loss of function of a particular portion of the brain. Hence, the brain is not able to send reflexes or receive stimuli from the corresponding nerves. Usually strokes can cause the paralysis of arms and legs, but the torso is not affected.
Further, the stroke itself can be caused due to the loss of blood supply to the brain. The causes for this erroneous blood supply are:
- Atherosclerosis, which may result in clogging of the blood vessel carrying blood to the cranial region
- Hemorrhage, which may be the rupturing of a blood vessel carrying blood to the brain
- Hypertension, which increases blood pressure and makes it more difficult for blood to reach the brain
- Diabetes, which also increases blood pressure and makes it difficult for blood to reach the brain
(2) Tumors – Tumors in the brain or the spinal region can cause pressure to be exerted on the blood vessels to these regions. Consequently, the blood supply to the brain and/or the spinal cord reduces, which may cause paralysis.
(3) Trauma – Trauma refers to direct injuries. These injuries could result into internal bleeding (hemorrhage), which would reduce the blood supply to the central nervous supply. Direct falls on the head or fracture of the vertebral column could cause such traumas.
(4) Multiple Sclerosis – Multiple sclerosis is a chronic ailment that causes the damage to the mucilaginous sheath that covers the nuclear sheath. Due to this the sensory and motor nerves are damages and are not able to carry impulses and bring back responses to particular parts of the body.
(5) Cerebral Palsy – Cerebral palsy is a condition that occurs in babies during their birth. If their central nervous system is impaired either during or shortly after their birth, then their coordination becomes faulty, leading to paralysis.
In addition, there are the following conditions which pertain to the malfunctioning of the spinal cord:
(1) Slipped Disk or Herniated Disk – This happens when the vertebra of the backbone get dislocated. The fractured vertebra could cause an injury to the spinal cord, thus making the portion of the spinal cord permanently impaired.
(2) Neurodegenerative Diseasesp – The neurodegenerative diseases are several conditions that cause serious and permanent impairment of the nerves of the spinal cord (or the brain). These diseases are also associated with loss of memory and dementia.
(3) Spondolysis – Spondolysis is the medical term to the pain and stiffness in the joints of the vertebral column. This condition can cause impairment of the spinal cord.
The above is not a complete list, for there are much too many conditions that can cause paralysis. However, the above are the common causative factors.
Symptoms of Paralysis (Pakshavadha)
Paralysis is very easily diagnosable because its symptoms are too apparent. The following are the common symptoms of paralysis:
There is loss of tactile inputs and outputs in the affected part of the body. That means, the person cannot feel it when something touches him/her or even when someone else touches him/her. The person also cannot feel pain in the affected part. In fact, it has been said that the most painful aspect of paralysis is the painlessness.
Numbness to weather is common. The person cannot feel heat or cold.
There could be tingling sensations in the unaffected parts of the body.
There is generally an impairment of vision.
The person becomes incontinent.