How is paralysis treated?

Currently, there is no cure for paralysis itself. In certain cases, some or all muscle control and feeling returns on its own or after treatment of the cause for the paralysis. For example, spontaneous recovery often occurs in cases of Bell’s palsy, a temporary paralysis of the face. It might also occur to some extent with treatment after a stroke. Sometimes, treatment is important to prevent further worsening of paralysis, for example in multiple sclerosis.

Rehabilitation is often recommended to address problems that can occur as a consequence of the paralysis, to enable the paralyzed person to live as independently as possible and to provide the person with a high quality of life. Some of the rehabilitation treatments used for people with paralysis include:

  • Physical therapy uses treatments such as heat, massage, and exercise to stimulate nerves and muscles.
  • Occupational therapy concentrates on ways to perform activities of daily living.
  • Mobility aids include manual and electric wheelchairs and scooters.
  • Supportive devices include braces, canes, and walkers.
  • Assistive technology such as voice-activated computers, lighting systems, and telephones.
  • Adaptive equipment such as special eating utensils and controls for driving a car.

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