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Hemiparesis: types, symptoms, causes and treatment

Hemiparesis: types, symptoms, causes and treatment

July 19, 2024

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

But when something interferes with the proper functioning of this system, carrying out any body movement can become really complicated. One of these special conditions in which the person sees limited ability to move is hemiparesis , in which the subject sees his body mobility reduced only in one half of his body.

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What is hemiparesis?

Hemiparesis is not defined as a disease, but, rather, as a neurological condition of variable causes that hinders the movement of one half of the body . Specifically, hemiparesis refers to the decrease in motor force or partial paralysis that affects an arm and a leg on the same side of the body.

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

Types of hemiparesis

Hemiparesis can be grouped into different types according to the causes of appearance, so that there are different types according to the degree of muscle weakness and its causes .

1. Hemiparesis on the right side

This hemiparesis is caused by a lesion in the left hemisphere of the brain, so that the person will see reduced muscle mobility of the right part of his body.

2. Hemiparesis of the left side

When the 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 what affects infants or young children, and usually occurs due to problems in the spinal cord or brain damage from birth.


As mentioned in the previous point, the causes of hemiparesis are varied. The particular muscular weakness can be caused by injuries in the spinal cord affecting the nerves that innervate the muscles and causing the weakness of these.

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

Brain damage can also lead to a decline in muscle strength, with stroke being one of the most frequent reasons that causes a person to suffer from hemiparesis. In addition, this muscle weakness is one of the main signs that a person will suffer a stroke.


When a patient goes to the health center with hemiparesis, the first step is to determine the germ of muscle weakness . Medical imaging studies are necessary to accurately detect the location of the lesion; Likewise, an interview with the patient is necessary to collect information and thus elaborate a clinical history in order to identify the most evident risk factors.


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

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

With this treatment the patient restores the control he has over his muscles, strengthens his muscular mass and his motor capacity. The person affected by hemiparesis can also use the aid of devices, such as walkers or orthopedic devices, to help supplement the treatment; and that they support the execution of their daily activities and move the affected area with greater and better development of the activity.

There is no minimum time limit for the partial or total recovery of hemiparesis, since the recovery depends on the intensity of the treatment carried out, the degree of muscle weakness or the causes that have caused the affectation.

Usually, hemiparesis can be solved in its entirety, leaving, at most, minor sequelae that can be perfectly harmonized with the patient's normal life rhythm.

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 therapeutic approach focused on the solution of problems in the evaluation and treatment of patients with disorders or problems of function, postural control and movement, due to injuries of the central nervous system; including here the hemiparesis.

This is a therapy that is based on the ability of the brain to reorganize from peripheral sensory stimuli, looking for intact brain areas to compensate for the functions that were performed by injured parts of the brain.

The main attraction of the Bobath Concept is to favor the functioning of the affected side of the body as much as necessary, and thus adapt its movements in a manner consonant with the less affected side of the body; looking 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 following the milestones of the neurophysiological neurodevelopment 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 that It provides the person with elements that can be applied according to individual needs and responses , thus involving the patient in their own recovery.

What is Cerebral Palsy? (July 2024).

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