What Are the Different Types of Paralysis?

What Are the Different Types of Paralysis?There are several different types of paralysis. The type of paralysis that you have determines which portions of your body and what limbs might be affected. It may depend on the type of injury you have and how your body responds to treatment and physical therapy. This condition has the possibility to be temporary or permanent.

Paralysis can be caused by any number of accidents or acts of negligence. Among the most common are car, truck, and motorcycle crashes, though sports-related trauma is another common cause. Falls from heights can lead to paralyzing spinal trauma, especially for construction workers.

Paralysis can also be the result of medical negligence. Improper use of forceps or vacuum extractors can lead to facial paralysis for newborns. Failing to perform a timely c-section or the misuse of medications like Pitocin can damage the brachial plexus nerves, leading to partial paralysis. Mistakes made during the administration of an epidural can paralyze pregnant women, too. At other times, paralysis is the result of a congenital condition or can be brought on by a medical emergency such as a stroke.

The four different types of paralysis

If you are new to the term “paralysis” or do not know much about it, you are likely also unaware that there are a few different types of this condition. The reason for this is because the body and nerves can be injured and damaged in various areas and ways. Here are the four different types of paralysis:


Quadriplegia, also commonly called tetraplegia, is when a person is completely paralyzed below their neck. This means that they cannot move their legs, arms, or torso area in any way. However, some people who are quadriplegic still have some sense of functioning and movement, or their ability to function and move their arms, legs, and torso may come and go.

Every paralysis case is unique. Therefore, it depends on what type of injuries the individual has, where they are located, and how serious they are. It is important to know that some people who receive a quadriplegia diagnosis do recover and gain some of their movement back, but it is also not unusual for quadriplegics to remain completely paralyzed from their neck down. There are many different types of injuries that can cause quadriplegia, such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, nerve damage, and more.


Monoplegia, a less severe form of paralysis than quadriplegia, is when individuals are only paralyzed in one portion of their body. For example, if a person can no longer move their arm but can still move their other limbs, they have monoplegia. People who receive a monoplegia diagnosis usually do not have any problems moving and functioning with their other limbs, and they may even eventually regain movement in their affected limb with the proper physical therapy and medical treatment options.

However, it depends on what type of injury caused the monoplegia to occur. Some of the different types of injuries that frequently cause monoplegia are nerve damage, traumatic brain injuries, sliced or cut nerves, and more.


Paraplegia typically exists when a person cannot move or use any parts of their body below their waist. This usually includes their legs, feet, toes, hips, knees, and more. While some paraplegics cannot move their limbs below their waist, others might be able to use medical assisted devices and still get around and function without being able to feel anything. It depends on the type of injury and nerve damage they suffer from.

It is important to point out that most people who are diagnosed with paraplegia do not usually recover fully. Instead, they are able to work with physical therapists to reclaim some of their movement and functioning back. The most common types of injuries that lead to paraplegia include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, nerve damage, and more.


Hemiplegia is when an individual is able to move their arm and leg on one side of their body, but they cannot move their arm and leg on the other side of their body. This type of paralysis affects two limbs on the same side. You do not have hemiplegia if you cannot move your right arm and left leg. Most people start to notice signs of hemiplegia by feeling tingling sensations or numbness in their limbs, which often turns into weakness. Eventually, they realize that they are unable to move two of their limbs.

Hemiplegia can be permanent or temporary. If the individual notices any sharp pains, tingling, or weakness in certain limbs, they should seek medical treatment right away. The sooner that they can start physical therapy, the higher chance they have of possibly recovering or regaining some of their functioning back. Spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries are two common injuries that result in hemiplegia.

If you suffer any form of paralysis due to a car accident, truck collision, motorcycle crash, or any other type of accident, the Maryland personal injury attorneys from Plaxen Adler Muncy, P.A. are here to help you. Our team knows and understands the challenges you are going through, as paralysis has the ability to completely change your life. Call our office or complete our contact form to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation at one of our multiple office locations today.