Whether you are new to paralyzed living or if you want to learn more about this condition because you have a loved one who is living with paralysis, you have found to the right source for getting answers to your important questions. From learning to do things for yourself again to know how you can help a spouse, you may have a lot of questions. While we can’t answer every question here, we want to present the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about being paralyzed.
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What Is Paralysis?
Paralysis is the loss of voluntary movement of part or all of the body. Medically, the term plegia is also used. The term paresis refers to reduced ability to move a part of the body voluntarily.
What Are Some of the Common Causes of Paralysis?
There are about 20 different things that can cause paralysis. However, the vast majority of people living with paralysis can categorize the cause in one of four ways:
Cerebral Palsy – This condition results from the brain failing to develop properly in the womb. As a result, a person may lack motor function in individual limbs or other body parts.
Multiple Sclerosis – This is a condition in which the body attacks its own nerves. As scar tissue forms, paralysis and other symptoms can occur.
Spinal Cord Injury – Trauma to the spine often causes paralysis from the point of the injury downward.
Stroke – When blood temporarily stops reaching parts of the brain, those cells can die. If the parts of the brain that are affected control motor functions, paralysis can result. Paralysis as the result of a stroke often affects one side of the body.
What Secondary Conditions Are Associated with Being Paralyzed?
Being paralyzed involves a lot more than adjusting to paralyzed living. There are many secondary conditions that can be dangerous and require attention. A few of the more prominent associated conditions include:
Blood clots – You may need to wear special support hose to keep clots from forming in your legs.
Pneumonia – The higher your spinal cord injury, the higher the risk because the lungs cannot properly expel secretions.
Bedsores – Any part of the body that doesn’t change position frequently enough can develop sores.
Low blood pressure – This is especially common when shifting from a prone to an upright position rapidly.
Pain – You may expect that a part of the body with no feeling should also have no pain, but unfortunately, neuropathic pain may result in a burning or tingling sensation. This becomes a chronic issue for many people living with paralysis.
UTIs – When the bladder does not empty fully due to the paralysis, this can lead to chronic issues with UTIs.
Depression – One study shockingly revealed a suicide rate among patients with spinal cord injuries that was five times higher than expected. This highlights the importance of seeking treatment for the depression you may experience as a result of living with paralysis. It also reveals the importance of having places to go for support.
What Treatment Is Available for People Living with Paralysis?
Living with paralysis is about learning to manage the condition since treatment options are limited unless you are experiencing paralysis as the result of a condition that can be reversed. There are several factors when it comes to paralyzed living that you should know about.
Physical therapy – While you cannot move the paralyzed parts of your body voluntarily, a physical therapist can use massage, heat, and exercising of the parts of your body that are not paralyzed to stimulate your muscles and nerves.
Occupational therapy – This is a type of therapy that is specifically designed to help you learn to carry out day to day activities in your new circumstances.
Mobility aids and other support devices – From wheelchairs to braces, these are the support devices that help you stay mobile.
Assistive and adaptive tech – From hand controls on a car to voice-activated devices, these are the tech advances that allow you to carry out daily activities without needing all of your voluntary movement.
Can You Thrive with Paralysis?
The answer is a resounding yes! If we did not genuinely believe that, this website would not exist. You can read many inspirational stories right here on our website of individuals living with paralysis who continue finding joy and meaning in life. This includes the inspiring story of our founder, who is continuing to thrive with paralysis and enjoy life with his wife, children, and extended family.
Where Can You Find Hope?
Our goal is to bring hope and healing to the millions of people living with paralysis around the world. While you have to learn to live with paralysis, you don’t have to give in to the despair that often comes along with it. We are confident that our regularly updated blog will provide you with essential insights and encourage you to keep looking for what will allow you to experience satisfaction with life despite the challenges that you will have to face daily. Join us on a journey to help people all over the world to thrive with paralysis.
We hope this living with paralysis FAQ was beneficial for you. For other questions that were not answered here, feel free to submit our online contact form. You will get a direct response, and you may even see your question answered in a future blog post.
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Dr. Bill Davis survived a spinal cord injury on November 26, 2011. After years of hopelessness he found a renewed purpose and is now on a mission to share hope and healing with the paralysis community for the glory of God.