Skip to main content
Paralysis

Paralysis is the loss of the ability to move some or all of the body.

It can have lots of different causes, some of which can be serious. Depending on the cause, it may be temporary or permanent.

Symptoms

The main symptom of paralysis is the inability to move part of your body, or not being able to move at all.

It can start suddenly or gradually. Sometimes it comes and goes.

Paralysis can affect any part of the body, including:

The affected part of the your body may also be:

When to see your GP

See your GP if you have paralysis or weakness that:

Your GP can do some tests to see what the cause might be.

They may refer you to a hospital specialist for more tests if they're unsure what's causing your symptoms.

When to get emergency help

Call 999 for an ambulance if you or someone else has paralysis or weakness that:

These problems could be a sign of something serious that needs to be treated in hospital straight away.

Causes

There are many possible causes of paralysis.

But don't try to identify the cause yourself. See a doctor to get a proper diagnosis.

Main causes

Some of the main causes of paralysis are:

Other causes

Other causes of paralysis include:

Treatment and support

Paralysis can have a big impact on your life, but support is available to help you live as independently as you can and have the best possible quality of life.

The help you need will largely depend on what's causing your paralysis.

Some of the things that can help people who are paralysed include:

For more information about the help and support available, see: