What is Flaccid Paralysis?

16 August 2017

When you can't move parts of your body and your muscles feel weak, this can be alarming - particularly if you haven't suffered from any obvious trauma in the area. If you've experienced any of these symptoms, you might be suffering from flaccid paralysis. This condition affects the muscles in your body, even the muscles that affect our breathing. At Wrist Supports, we've put together a guide to help you understand flaccid paralysis and what you should do if you experience any of the symptoms.

What Is Flaccid Paralysis?

Flaccid paralysis is a condition affecting your muscle tone. In most cases, your muscles become weak, limp or paralysed and are unable to contract properly. The condition can make you lose control of just a single limb, several, or even your entire body. Experiencing paralysis in your limbs makes all the tasks we take for granted, like walking or holding objects, feel impossible.

Do I have Flaccid Paralysis?

The main symptoms of the condition are paralysed or weakened muscles. Although this seems serious, treating the cause of the condition usually prevents the muscles from deteriorating further and allows you full use of your limbs again. However, as the illness can affect your breathing, it's vital that you seek medical treatment as soon as you experience any of the symptoms.

What Causes the Condition?

Flaccid paralysis has a wide range of causes, but the majority of cases occur in rural or developing areas of the world. The condition can either be caused by infections or brain and spinal cord damage. In each case, the muscles and the brain are no longer able to communicate properly, so your muscles don't know how to function. The condition is usually caused by one of the following:

  • Polio
  • Botulism
  • Curare

Polio Virus

The most common virus that causes flaccid paralysis is polio, a serious viral infection. The virus can cause temporary or permanent paralysis and there is currently no known cure. However, most people have been vaccinated against the condition and it affects less than 1 in 100 people in the UK.

Botulism Condition

Botulism can be contracted for a number of reasons, including when food hasn't been preserved or canned properly and it contains the clostridium botulinum bacteria. The condition causes flaccid paralysis and must be treated quickly to ensure it doesn't spread to the muscles controlling your breathing.

Curare Plant

If you find yourself in the Amazon rainforest, watch out for the curare plant as this also causes paralysis. Native tribes in the area use the toxin as an arrow poison when they hunt. If curare enters your bloodstream, it causes paralysis. The plant can be fatal for man or game if it affects the respiratory muscles as this can cause suffocation.

Treatment Options for Flaccid Paralysis

How you go about treating flaccid paralysis depends on how you contracted the condition. Usually, if the underlying condition is treated, your muscles and brain can begin to communicate again. In the case of polio, treatment plans focus on supporting bodily functions while you fight off the infection.

If you've lost muscle tone as a result of the condition, you'll usually have to work with a physiotherapist to regain muscle strength and avoid further muscular atrophying. Splints and braces are also useful in helping to support and rest your weak limbs and joints.

Flaccid Paralysis at Wrist Supports

At Wrist Supports, we've hand picked some braces and splints to help stabilise and support your wrist when you're trying to treat flaccid paralysis. We also have a range of hand rehabilitation aids you can use to strengthen the muscles in your hand and forearm, though these should only be used when your physical therapist says you're ready. Living with weak muscles can even prevent you from being able to lift up objects, but this can be improved with simple exercise and immobilisation. Click the button below to view our range for flaccid paralysis wrist supports.


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