Hemiplegia: what it is, causes, symptoms and treatment


What is Hemiplegia

Concept derived from the Greek, hemiplegia is a cerebral palsy that affects a complete side of the body, making it impossible to move. When it reaches the right side, the affected area of ​​the brain is the left, and when it reaches the left side of the body, the affected area of ​​the brain is the right.

Hemiplegia is more severe than hemiparesis, since the latter refers only to the difficulty of moving a part of the body and not to the impossibility of movements as the hemiplegia causes.


The causes of hemiplegia can be divided into two groups:

Congenital hemiplegia

It happens when there is a complication in pregnancy.

Acquired hemiplegia

It happens when the person suffers from a debilitation in the brain, such as a Stroke. In addition to a stroke, the person can also acquire hemiplegia through infection, worsening of diabetic conditions and tumors in brain tissues.

Given these causes, the groups of people most at risk of suffering from hemiplegia are children and older people. But, as with all conditions, this is not a rule. Therefore, you need to be aware of the signs.


There are 4 main types of hemiplegia and they are divided as follows:

Hemiplegia Espástica

This type of hemiplegia happens when the muscles become stiff and weak, making it difficult for the person to speak and move.

Hemiplegia Coreoatetóide

Choreoathetoid hemiplegia occurs when the muscles move spontaneously and without control spontaneously.

Hemiplegia Atáxica

The ataxic type of hemiplegia causes the person to have little motor coordination and the movements of the trunk and limbs are unsafe.

Hemiplegia Mista

In mixed paralysis, there is the presence of symptoms of more than one type of hemiplegia, usually spastic and choreoatetoid combined.


The most visible and recurrent symptoms in patients with hemiplegia are spasticity (stiffness) and difficulty in controlling the affected body part. However, as the condition is caused by cerebral palsy, other deficiencies can appear in the person, depending a lot on the severity and recovery of the injury, such as:

  • Joint pain;
  • Difficulty in speech;
  • Arm shrinkage and difficulty in bending the knee on the affected side.

The symptoms below are related to the specific side of the brain that has been compromised.

Signs of left hemiplegia (brain damage on the right side)

  • Difficulty in orienting yourself in relation to the environment;
  • Lack of care for the left side of the body;
  • The person does not dress starting with the affected side;
  • Difficulty with numbers and making accounts.

Signs of right hemiplegia (brain damage on the left side)

  • The person does not recognize the numeric symbols, such as the sum (+), the subtraction (-) and the equal (=);
  • Difficulty in distinguishing the left side from the right;
  • Difficulty remembering what you were going to do;
  • Difficulty in planning and executing tasks.


Hemiplegia is not reversible, but there are several treatments that help in partial recovery of movements and that help the person to have a life as close to normal as possible. In some cases, the injection of botulinum toxin is indicated so that the spasticity of the affected limb decreases and its movements improve. But beware: not everyone is indicated to use this as a form of treatment.

The most common forms of treatment for patients involve physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and, occasionally, the practice of physical activities performed individually and with the instruction of a qualified professional. The techniques of each of these forms are variable and have the purpose of benefiting the physical and mental state of the patient with hemiplegia, thus increasing their capacity.

A last possibility to treat hemiplegia is surgery, which is used when the person develops many contractions in the limbs due to the imbalance of muscle activity. Surgery consists of cutting some ligaments in these limbs in order to relieve muscle contractions.


NEVER self-medicate or stop using a medication without first consulting a doctor. Only he will be able to tell which medication, dosage and duration of treatment is the most suitable for his specific case. The information contained on this site is only intended to inform, not in any way intended to replace the guidance of a specialist or serve as a recommendation for any type of treatment. Always follow the instructions on the package insert and, if symptoms persist, seek medical or pharmaceutical advice.

The sooner the condition is treated, the better quality of life the patient will have!

Living with hemiplegia

Living with hemiplegia can be a great challenge. Depending on the size of the lesion, the patient may have sequelae that make him unable to speak or move around.

Although it is not a completely reversible condition, physical therapy and other complementary treatments can help a person to return to certain movements and live life as close to what is considered normal.

There are also a variety of support groups in which patients and their families can participate. In these groups, participants exchange experiences, talk about their feelings and create a support network.

It is a great option for those who are having difficulties in dealing with the situation, as the person can be heard by others who understand what he is going through and to hear advice from people who have to live with the same problem.

If you have any other questions about hemiplegia, ask here in the comments and we will answer you. 😉