While paralysis is often the result of a spinal cord injury, there are also a variety of conditions—both congenital and acquired—that can cause paralysis.
Specific conditions that cause paralysis include:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)— This is motor neuron disease that affect the communication links between the nervous system and the voluntary muscles of the body.
- Arteriovenous Malformations (AVMs)—Defects of the circulatory system that are thought to arise before or shortly after birth, malformations at the spinal cord can cause paralysis and loss of coordination in one part of the body.
- Cerebral Palsy—This is a group of conditions characterized by faulty development or damage to the brain, which causes inadequate control of movement and sometimes paralysis.
- Friedrich’s Ataxia—This is an inherited disease that causes progressive damage to the nervous system, and can result in paralysis.
- Guillain-Barre— In this disorder the body’s immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system, and can result in varying degrees of temporary and permanent paralysis.
- Leukodystrophies— These are hereditary, progressive disorders that affect the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves.
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)— MS is a chronic disease of the central nervous system, and can be characterized by mild symptoms, or more severe symptoms such as paralysis.
- Spina Bifida— Spina Bifida is a type of neural tube defect in which the spinal cord column doesn’t completely close. The most serious form of spina bifida includes paralysis below the area of the lesion.
- Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)— SMA is a inherited neuromuscular disease that affects nerve cells and the control of voluntary muscles. The neuron cells in the spinal cord disintegrate, and therefore can’t carry messages to muscles. Mild to complete paralysis is often the result.
Treatment of Conditions that Result in Paralysis
In some situations that involve disease or birth conditions the long-term outcome can be dependent upon the type of treatment and care received. Other situations involve the treatment of symptoms only. Your doctor will be able to tell you exactly what to expect, as well as what treatments are best for your particular condition.