Hemiplegia is a type of cerebral palsy that strikes one side of the body, making it paralyzed and very weak.

Hemiplegia can happen due to complications in pregnancy, being called congenital hemiplegia, or due to situations that affect the brain, such as stroke, infection affecting the nervous system, sclerosis and even being a consequence of aggravation. diabetes, being called acquired hemiplegia.

Although it cannot be fully reversed, treatment of hemiplegia should be done as soon as possible to improve the quality of life of the person who is usually done with physical therapy.

Main causes

Hemiplegia can be caused by brain damage, such as bleeding, congestion or embolism, and may also appear as a symptom of atherosclerosis or following a stroke.

Although different types of injuries can cause cerebral palsy, it can occur especially during the early years of life when a child develops serious illnesses such as meningitis, infections or severe dehydration, but in many cases its cause is unknown.

Cerebral palsy is progressive, although symptoms may range from almost imperceptible to severe spasticity (stiffness), in all forms speech may be difficult to understand due to the difficulty in controlling the muscles related to the pronunciation of words.

Characteristics of hemiplegia

Hemiplegia may be characterized by joint pain, decreased sensitivity on the affected side of the body, and difficulty in performing movements. Other features of hemiplegia are:

  • Affected side of the contracted face, leaving the mouth crooked and difficulty opening and closing the eyes;
  • Difficulty in the arm and leg movements of the side affected by the “stroke”;
  • Spasticity or stiffness, where the arm tends to shrink and the leg tends to become very stiff and it is difficult to bend the knee;
  • Difficulty in starting movements with the affected arm and leg;
  • Scoliosis.

Depending on the side of the brain affected there may be other signs and symptoms, such as:

  1. Left hemiplegia – Brain injury on the right side:
  • Difficulty in orienting oneself in relation to the environment;
  • Negligence of the left side of the body;
  • Do not dress starting from the affected side;
  • Difficulty with numbers, being difficult to do accounts, for example.
  1. Right hemiplegia – Left brain injury:
  • Does not recognize numeric symbols (+ – =);
  • Difficulty distinguishing the right side from the left in itself and others;
  • Difficulty remembering what to do;
  • Difficulty in planning or performing tasks.

These changes may not all be present in the person as it depends on the severity of the injury and its recovery.

In addition, according to symptoms, hemiplegia can be classified into 4 types: spastic, choreoathetoid, ataxic and mixed.

How is the treatment done?

The treatment of hemiplegia is aimed at improving the quality of life of the person, usually being performed rehabilitation with functional therapy and physiotherapy, especially since it improves the facial aspect, limb mobility and gives more independence for the person to perform their activities. daily.

In some cases, the use of botulinum toxin is indicated as a way to decrease spasticity and improve the person’s ability to move, but not all are indicated for such treatment. Treatment for hemiplegia is usually only done with physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and sometimes physical activity performed individually with a capable physical educator.

The surgery is performed only in the last case, when the person has muscle contractures, and is done by cutting some ligaments to relieve the contractures.