What is paresis?
Paresis refers to a condition in which muscle movement has become weakened or impaired. You may also sometimes see it referred to as “mild paralysis” or “partial paralysis.”
Although paresis affects your muscles, it usually occurs due to nerve damage.
A vast network of nerves controls the movement of the muscles in our bodies. If a part of this network is damaged, muscles in the affected area may not work properly.
There are several factors that can cause paresis, and there are many different types of paresis. Paresis is often categorized by the area of the body that’s impacted.
Causes and types of paresis
There are many different factors that can cause nerve damage that results in paresis.
Several examples of causes include:
- head injury
- spinal cord injury
- pressure on the spinal cord or nerves due to things like inflammation, bone spurs, or a tumor
- multiple sclerosis (MS)
- cerebral pals
- certain infections, such as Epstein-Barr virus and syphilis
- Guillain-Barré syndrome
- amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Several examples of different types of paresis:
- Monoparesis. Monoparesis muscle weakness that affects one limb, such as a leg or an arm.
- Paraparesis. Paraparesis is muscle weakness that affects both legs.
- Hemiparesis. Hemiparesis is muscle weakness that affects one side of your body, such as the left arm and left leg.
- Quadriparesis. Quadriparesis is muscle weakness that affects all four limbs.
Treatment for paresis depends on what’s causing it. It focuses on addressing any underlying conditions and improving quality of life.
Examples of possible treatment options include:
- Physical therapy. Physical therapy uses techniques such as exercise and massage to aid in promoting mobility, improving flexibility and range of motion, and stimulating your nerves and muscles.
- Occupational therapy. Occupational therapy can teach you strategies for carrying out your day-to-day activities more easily while you’re experiencing paresis.
- Assistive devices. Assistive devices are items that can help with your mobility and daily activities. Examples include:
- grab bars
- specialized handles and grips
- voice-activated technology
- Medications. In some cases, medications may help treat a condition that’s causing paresis. Examples include:
- antimicrobial medications for infections
- corticosteroids to reduce inflammation that’s putting pressure on a nerve