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What are Some Causes of Hemiplegia?

O. Wallace
O. Wallace

Hemiplegia refers to paralysis or abnormal movements on one side of a person, either the right or left. The affected side, or hemisphere, can be completely paralyzed or weakened, or it may move in rigid, stiff movements. The condition may be characterized by many other problems. For example, the use of one hand may be limited, there may be a problem with balance, speech may be affected or visual field problems may exist.

This disorder can present at or around birth, or it may be acquired after birth. The underlying cause is damage to the brain as a result of disrupted blood flow. This disruption can be caused by several factors.

Cerebral palsy is a major cause of hemiplegia.
Cerebral palsy is a major cause of hemiplegia.

There are many different types of this condition. Facial hemiplegia is characterized by paralysis of one particular side of the face. Cerebral hemiplegia occurs when a brain lesion disrupts the flow of blood to the brain. Spastic hemiplegia is characterized by paralysis along with spastic movements of the affected side. Spinal hemiplegia is caused by lesions that have formed on the spine.

Prenatal care may help prevent hemiplegia.
Prenatal care may help prevent hemiplegia.

The most common cause is stroke. A stroke occurs either when a blood clot forms and obstructs normal blood flow or when a blood vessel breaks, cutting off or disrupting blood flow. Stroke is the main cause of cerebral palsy, which is another major cause of hemiplegia. Perinatal strokes, which occur in infants within three days of their birth, can cause cerebral palsy in children. Cerebral palsy limits function not specifically by total paralysis, but rather by uncontrollable spasms.

Hemiplegic cerebral palsy primarily affects one arm and one leg, on the same side of the body.
Hemiplegic cerebral palsy primarily affects one arm and one leg, on the same side of the body.

Another cause can be the resulting disruption of blood flow to the brain due to an injury to the brain’s motor centers. The excessive bleeding that accompanies some head injuries either deprives the brain of blood or affects the blood vessels through swelling. If a person suffers an injury to the right side of the brain, the left side of the body experiences the paralysis or weakness. If the left side is affected, then the right side of the body will experience hemiplegia.

Hemiplegia is similar to another condition called hemiparesis, but it is far more serious. Hemiparesis is usually characterized by one side of the body that is affected not by paralysis, but by a less severe state of weakness.

A stroke is the most common cause of hemiplegia.
A stroke is the most common cause of hemiplegia.

It is difficult to prevent stroke and cerebral palsy in infants, so good prenatal care is essential in preventing this condition. Diabetics and those with high blood pressure and/or cholesterol are at high risk for having a stroke, as are those who are obese, smoke, don’t exercise and drink alcohol excessively.

Discussion Comments


Live your life to the fullest, with no giving up. I have had left side hemiplegia since I was nine months old and now I'm forty. I thank God, even though there are complications, but I am well. I am working well with my right hand. Never give up. My parents didn't give up on me. God bless them abundantly!


My son is a left sided hemiplegic. He recently passed his grade 8 exam and now the school says he is wasting his time studying. Where to from here? Any suggestions?


In 1976, I was in a car accident. I was killed. My driver turned right in front of a semi-trailer, hence my death. I was a month in a coma, and when I woke up, I went through a number of things, like many years of pain you would not believe .

Painkillers had very little effect or no effect at all. Anyhow I now don't believe in the use of painkillers. They cause too much trouble for the kidneys.

I am now a left side hemiplegic, who does most things for himself. I drive, and have driven around Australia, learned karate for nine years, trained in Japan twice and currently work in an emergency type job. I've been doing that for the past 26-7 years. I try not to let things get on top of me physically. I don't give up. I even rode a pushbike for 10 years. It took a full two years of retraining my balance enough to be able to ride quite long distances I'd better go now. If, by any chance, anybody reads this and maybe wants some help, contact me I will try and help.


I'm am 15 year old and I'm a hemi person and i find some things hard in my life, but i don't stop myself from doing what i can do. i am a left-side hemi. i hate when people stare at you when you are walking. sometimes they come up to you and say what's wrong with your leg. i really want to work in an airport but i don't know if i can be one with my hemi condition.


i live with hemiplegia on my right side of my body and i fall a lot, and my pronunciation of words is limited, even on the simple words. is this normal? I also have balancing issues, and my pain tolerance is very high as well as my other feeling sensations. but i was able to train my right leg and hand to grip a mountain bike to ride a 15 speed. is this also normal?


my father had a paralyzing stroke due to a blood clot in brain. He is able to move his whole body but is not able to walk properly and his tongue is also heavy on the left side of his body. It keeps hurting from the inside. Please suggest to me something for his recovery. God bless all of you.


my daughter has left-side hemiplegia. she is now 20 years old and has had it from birth. she has epilepsy and behavior problems. is this caused through lack of oxygen at birth?


@Facebook_User_100001918046176: I do not really know about the effects of the ayurvedic treatment you mentioned. However, i totally disagree with that you have said "you need not take long term physiotherapy."

@ anon131495: I would advise you to continue with your physiotherapy treatment. It may take some time more but the positive changes will occur definitely. You should also discuss about the ayurvedic treatment with your physiotherapist, to be on the safe side.


My son is 5 now and he has a left sided hemi. the docs told me he had it when he was 12 months old. I'm confused about whether he had it from birth or later on. thanks

Yogesh Dachawar

@anon131495: regarding this case, ayurvedic treatment like panchakarma should be used, especially basti chikitsa along with shaahtik shali. pinda sweda can also be used. it helps for nourishing the muscle and improves the tone. you need not take long term physiotherapy.


I am 13, I have got a right sided hemiplegia since birth (caused by a stroke). I have regular physio sessions. my muscles get tight occansily. i stretch them. any other tips?


My father has been affected by hemiplegia since last year on the right side. He has started moving his leg but not arm. Can he recover?


What is the relationship between hemiplegia and hemangiomas?


my mother is affected with hemiplegia on the right side for the last three years. she can move her right leg now and can walk with strong human support, but cannot move her right arm and hand. she pulls her shoulder when asked to exercise her arm. Will she recover on her arm as well. She goes through physiotherapy everyday but is acupressure or acupuncture helpful as well?


i know of a 10 year-old boy who developed postoperativly right paraplegia (no power in right hand and right leg) after mvr surgery.


hi. i am affected by right-side hemiplegia. can it be cured?


Hi I'm from South Africa, My cousin sister has this condition and I read that Acupuncture can help or cure hemiplegia, is it true?


what is the best treatment for left-side hemiplegia?

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    • Cerebral palsy is a major cause of hemiplegia.
      By: Jaren Wicklund
      Cerebral palsy is a major cause of hemiplegia.
    • Prenatal care may help prevent hemiplegia.
      By: WavebreakMediaMicro
      Prenatal care may help prevent hemiplegia.
    • Hemiplegic cerebral palsy primarily affects one arm and one leg, on the same side of the body.
      By: Jaren Wicklund
      Hemiplegic cerebral palsy primarily affects one arm and one leg, on the same side of the body.
    • A stroke is the most common cause of hemiplegia.
      By: joshya
      A stroke is the most common cause of hemiplegia.
    • An injury to the right side of the brain may cause paralysis to the left side of the body.
      By: ArTo
      An injury to the right side of the brain may cause paralysis to the left side of the body.