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Classification according to ICD-10
G83.9 Paralysis syndrome, unspecified
ICD-10 online (WHO version 2019)

Under a paralysis or Plegie ( ancient Greek πληγή CARE , German , Blast , paralysis') refers to a complete loss of function of skeletal muscles . The term paralysis is often used as a synonym (from Greek παράλυσις parálysis , German 'paralysis' , 'solidification'), but it is more broadly defined and also includes muscle or nerve groups that do not move the skeletal system (e.g. In cranial nerves, bulbar paralysis , Argyll-Robertson paralysis , in smooth muscles, paralytic ileus ). An incomplete paralysis is a paralysis called.

Origin and forms

Paralysis can occur for individual muscles or muscle groups if the nerve supplying them or its root cells in the spinal cord are destroyed. Plegia of whole limbs or limb sections occur, for example, in spinal paraplegic syndrome . In humans, due to the great importance of the pyramidal tract , they also occur in cases of damage to the motor cortex (formerly known as “brain softening”. See progressive paralysis ). Individual muscle groups can also fail due to damage to the nerves of the brachial plexus and lumbosacral plexus that innervate them .


As monoplegia the complete paralysis of a limb or a limb section is called.


With paraplegia the complete paralysis of both is referred to (rear) legs or both arms (front legs).


A hemiplegia is the complete paralysis of one side of the body. The term is also used for organs outside the musculoskeletal system, e.g. B. used for one -sided larynx paralysis.


The quadriplegia is the complete paralysis of all four limbs, usually after spinal cord injury in the cervical spine .

Classification of the strength level

Clinically, the extent of the paralysis is often determined using the semiquantitative MRC scale:

  • 0/5: No contraction ( plegia )
  • 1/5: visible contraction without movement
  • 2/5: Movement possible when gravity is lifted (e.g. move arm to the side while lying)
  • 3/5: movement against gravity
  • 4/5: Movement against resistance
  • 5/5: normal strength


Functional electrical stimulation (FES) (direct muscle stimulation) is a therapeutic approach. This at least reduces the muscle atrophy , but does not eliminate the nerve damage.

In hemiplegia after a stroke , physiotherapy should be used as soon as possible in order to reactivate the “affected side” of the patient. The Bobath concept is often used for this purpose, a 24-hour concept in which the entire therapeutic staff involved with the patient is included as far as possible.

Furthermore, occupational therapy is often used as a form of therapy for flaccid plegia . In the case of complete, flaccid paralysis, joint mobilization is used, which counteracts the stiffening of the joints and the total undersupply. Prophylactic mobilization to prevent joint stiffening is essential because regaining nerve functions can never be ruled out.

See also

Squat contracture with paralysis of both legs

Web links

Wiktionary: Paralysis  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Alphabetical index for the ICD-10-WHO version 2019, volume 3. German Institute for Medical Documentation and Information (DIMDI), Cologne, 2019, p. 490
  2. A. Müller, RW Schlecht, Alexander Früh, H. Still The way to health: A faithful and indispensable guide for the healthy and the sick. 2 volumes, (1901; 3rd edition 1906, 9th edition 1921) 31st to 44th edition. CA Weller, Berlin 1929 to 1931, Volume 2 (1929), pp. 115-119: The paralysis of the mad (brain softening) .
  3. Definition of paralysis ( memento of the original from January 9, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. on the website of the University of Hamburg , accessed on May 13, 2011. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. K. Schnabel, O. Ahlers, H. Dashti, W. Georg, U. Schwantes Medical Skills. Anamnesis, examination, selected areas of application. Stuttgart 2010, p. 148.