What is it?

Hemiplegia is a condition that describes paralysis of one side of the body. Hemiparesis, a similar term, describes weakness or a slight paralysis of one side of the body. This conditions are caused due to damage to the spinal cord or parts of the brain responsible for movement. There are many possible causes for hemiplegia or hemiparesis. In childhood, the most common cause is cerebral palsy (a condition in which brain damage occurs before, during or soon after birth). In adulthood, the most common cause is stroke (a sudden cessation of blood flow to the brain). Other possible causes are infection, tumor, or trauma to the brain or spine.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Flaccid Hemiplegia
- Spastic Hemiplegia

Signs & symptoms

Symptoms are weakness or paralysis of one side of the body, sometimes also affecting half of the face. Additional symptoms depend on the site of the injury and its cause, and may include loss of pain and temperature sensation, constant contraction or stiffness of muscles (spastic hemiplegia) or additional brain functions losses.


Diagnosis of hemiplegia or hemiparesis requires a physical examination, including a thorough neurological examination. Additional tests may be brain or spine imaging (using CT or MRI), and lumbar puncture (LP) – a procedure in which sample of the spinal fluid is taken and its properties are examined.


Treatment of hemiplegia or hemiparesis depend on the cause and the severity of symptoms. It may include physiotherapy, occupational therapy, maintaining a physically active lifestyle and using assistive devices (such as a cane). Although it is usually a permanent condition, patients with hemiplegia or hemiparesis who gets professional and effective treatment may be able to improve their symptoms over time.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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