Hemiparesis: types, symptoms, causes and treatment

The central nervous system is a biological structure that is responsible for perceiving stimuli from the outside world, processing this information and transmitting impulses to nerves and muscles, which allows the person to perform all kinds of movements. .

But when something interferes with the proper functioning of this system, performing any bodily movement can get really complicated. Hemiparesis is one of those special conditions in which the person sees that their ability to move is limited., In which the subject sees reduced bodily mobility only in half of his body.

    What is hemiparesis

    Hemiparesis is not defined as a disease, but rather as a neurological condition of varying causes that makes it difficult to move half of the body. Specifically, hemiparesis refers to a decrease in driving force or partial paralysis that affects an arm and a leg on the same side of the body.

    This decrease in movement does not constitute paralysis and is considered to a lesser degree than hemiplegia, which produces total paralysis. When this decrease in movement affects the head and face, it may not be too obvious.

    Types of hemiparesis

    Hemiparesis can be grouped into different types depending on the causes of occurrence, so there are different types depending on the degree of muscle weakness and its causes.

    1. Right side hemiparesis

    This hemiparesis is caused by injury to the left hemisphere of the brain, so the person will see their muscle mobility on the right side of their body reduced.

    2. Hemiparesis on the left side

    When a brain injury occurs in the right hemisphere, it is the left side of the body that is affected by this decrease in muscle mobility.

    3. Infantile hemiparesis

    Infantile hemiparesis is one that affects infants or young children and is usually caused by problems with the spinal cord or brain damage from birth.

    the causes

    As mentioned in the previous point, the causes of hemiparesis are varied. Particular muscle weakness can be caused by damage to the spinal cord affecting the nerves that supply muscles and weaken them.

    This damage to the spinal cord includes injuries caused by trauma, such as one that could result in a car accident. Likewise, diseases such as multiple sclerosis and certain types of cancer can also cause damage to the spinal cord that interferes with nerve activity.

    Brain damage can also lead to decreased muscle strength, with stroke being one of the most common reasons a person can have hemiparesis. Moreover, this muscle weakness is one of the main signs that a person will have a stroke.


    When a patient goes to a health center with hemiparesis, the first step is to determine the source of the muscle weakness.. Imaging medical studies are needed to accurately detect the location of the lesion; it is also necessary to question the patient to gather information and thus draw up a medical history in order to identify the most obvious risk factors.


    To curb the effects of hemiparesis and reduce the consequences it has on the body, it is essential to resolve and / or treat the affected part that caused it. In this way, as a rebound effect, it should improve and even be corrected.

    Another very common intervention with notable positive results is physical treatment with physiotherapy exercises., In which he is forced to work and directly move the areas that have been affected by this decrease in mobility.

    With this treatment, the patient restores the control he has over his muscles, strengthens his muscle mass and motor capacity. The person affected by hemiparesis may also seek the help of orthopedic devices, such as walkers or braces, to supplement the treatment; and to support the execution of their daily activities and to move the affected area with a bigger and better development of the activity.

    There is no minimum time limit for partial or full recovery from hemiparesis, as recovery depends on the intensity of the treatment performed, the degree of muscle weakness, or the causes that caused the condition.

    Usually, hemiparesis can be resolved in its entirety, leaving at most minor sequelae which can harmonize perfectly with the normal rhythm of the patient’s life.

    The Bobath concept

    One of the possible treatments for hemiparesis is the Bobath concept through physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

    The Bobath concept refers to a problem-solving approach to therapy in the assessment and treatment of patients with impaired or impaired function, postural control and movement, due to damage to the central nervous system; including hemiparesis.

    It is a therapy that relies on the brain’s ability to reorganize itself from peripheral sensory stimuli, seeking to keep areas of the brain intact to compensate for functions performed by damaged parts of the brain.

    The main attraction of the Bobath concept is to promote the functioning of the affected band of the body as much as necessary, and thus to adapt its movements in a way in accordance with the less affected side of the body; seeking to balance the body in terms of functionality and mobility.

    Another characteristic essence of this method is the modification of the abnormal movement patterns resulting from the injury itself, facilitating the activity in a functional way and according to the objectives of the neurophysiological development of the person.

    Another point in favor of the Bobath concept is that it does not require strict treatment regimens that must be followed rigorously, but rather it provides the person with elements that they can apply according to the needs and responses of each, Thus involving the patient in his own recovery.

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