There are different neurological conditions, and they can cause different types of injuries. Some of these conditions are a secondary effect of different medical conditions that normally damage your nervous system, including cerebral palsy, brain injury, or stroke. Sometimes these conditions affect a person’s mobility, and you may be unable to care for yourself.
People with neurological conditions usually rely on devices such as wheelchairs. Also, caregivers usually help them to carry out different daily tasks. Fortunately, it is possible to regain movement since the nervous system can rewrite itself.
There are different neurological conditions, and below we’ll focus on hemiplegia, also known as hemiparesis, a condition mainly caused by spinal cord or brain injury leading to paralysis on one side of your body. The condition can cause issues with muscle control, muscle fitness, and body weakness. The degree of symptoms also varies depending on the extent and location of the injury.
If you suffer from this condition before birth, it is referred to as congenital. If it develops later in life, it is acquired, and the symptoms won’t worsen once it begins.
Signs and Symptoms of Hemiparesis
For neurological conditions such as hemiparesis, the symptoms usually vary depending on the nature of the injury. Some factors that can impact the symptoms involve the location and size of the injury. For instance, spinal cord injuries usually impair movement below where the injury is. In contrast, brain injuries usually impair movement on the side of the body that is affected, starting from the face to the leg.
Below are five symptoms that people with hemiparesis may experience:
- Trouble Walking
- Muscle weakness
- Poor balance
- Permanently contracted muscles
- Trouble grabbing objects
Children with hemiparesis usually take longer to achieve developmental milestones than their peers. If hemiparesis results from brain injuries, some of the issues you may experience include trouble concentrating, memory issues, speech issues, seizures, and speech issues.
Causes of Hemiparesis
Brain infections usually damage the brain’s cortex permanently. Bacteria typically cause most infections. Some infections can also be fungal or viral.
Strokes are among the common causes of neurological injuries. After a stroke, you’ll experience muscle weakness depending on the location and size of the stroke.
- Brain Trauma
If you get hit on the head, depending on the impact, you may experience permanent brain damage. Some common causes of brain trauma include assaults, car collisions, and sports injuries.
- Brain Tumors
Brain tumors usually lead to different physical issues. As the tumor grows, the symptoms of the neurological condition you’re suffering from will grow.
Treatment Options for Hemiparesis
Treatment options usually vary depending on the cause of the hemiparesis. The severity of the symptoms also matters. Depending on the condition you’re suffering from, you may be required to undergo multidisciplinary rehab, which involves mental health professionals, rehabilitation therapists, and physical therapists.
Let’s delve into the available treatment options below:
When you work with a physiotherapist and suffer from a neurological condition, you can coordinate movement, develop your balance, and build strength. Physiotherapists usually stretch out spastic and tight muscles.
- Assistive devices
Some therapists will recommend the use of a walker or wheelchair. When you use assistive devices, you can improve mobility and muscular control.
You need to consult a healthcare professional, and they will advise you on the best assistive device you should use. They can also recommend modifications you can make in your home, including ramps or a raised toilet seat.
- Mental Imagery
Imagining that you can move paralyzed parts of the body can help activate parts of the brain responsible for movement. Mental imagery is usually paired with different forms of therapy; however, it is rarely used.
- Electrical Stimulation
Medical professionals can use electrical pads to stimulate muscular movement. The electricity usually allows the muscles that you’re unable to move to contract. Electrical stimulation usually helps to reduce imbalance if one side of your body is unable to move.
Is Hemiparesis Permanent?
Hemiparesis is usually permanent, which means the condition cannot be cured. It is a non-progressive disease since the symptoms cannot worsen with time. People with hemiparesis usually undergo treatment to help improve the symptoms with time. A person with hemiparesis cannot lead an active and independent life and must use mobility aids.
How to Prevent Neurological Injuries
It may be impossible to prevent some neurological injuries; however, some measures can help reduce the risk of suffering from neurological conditions.
You can prevent blunt force trauma by:
- Wearing safety equipment while at the work site or when taking part in contact sports
- Wearing helmets while at the construction sites or when riding a motorcycle
- Wearing a seatbelt in a car
To prevent a stroke, you should make some changes to your lifestyle, and your heart will benefit in the long run. Some of the changes you can make include:
- Ensuring your diet is rich in fiber and nutrients
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining and achieving moderate weight
- Avoiding excessive alcohol
- Quitting smoking
- Getting regular checkups for blood pressure and cholesterol
- Managing cholesterol and blood pressure levels
- If you have a heart disease, follow the recommendations by the medical professional
Living with Hemiparesis
It is stressful and challenging to live with hemiparesis. Nonetheless, there are different ways that people with hemiparesis can adjust.
Some of the changes people with hemiparesis can make to their daily routine and home to improve their safety include:
- Installing grab bars in the bathroom
- Using plastic strips and a tub bench to limit your risk of slipping
- Using electric toothbrushes
- Using brushes with a long handle
- Installing showerheads that are handheld
People with hemiparesis should also discuss their condition with family and friends. Support from such individuals can reduce the risk of suffering from mental health issues.
Supporting Someone with Hemiparesis
The severity of the condition matters; to support someone with this condition, including assisting them with daily tasks and installing different safety features in the house. It is also important to offer emotional and financial support. If you’re suffering from hemiparesis and you’re unable to work, you can go ahead and apply for financial disability support.