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What are the Different Types of Paralysis Therapy?

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  • Written By: Jessica F. Black
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2016
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There are various forms of paralysis therapy available, depending on the type of paralysis a patient is experiencing, and include constraint induced movement therapy (CIMT), physical therapy, occupational therapy, life skills therapy, and electrical stimulation exercise therapy. Two less common therapies are voice therapy and leech therapy. Paralysis is the inability to move specific muscles generally caused by nerve damage, stroke, or diseases that affect the nervous system.

CIMT is a partial paralysis therapy that focuses on restraining the portion of the body that is unaffected by the paralysis in order to retrain the side that is only capable of partial movement. The patient undergoes intense physical therapy using the injured limb while the other limb is strapped for the majority of each day. Daily activities are performed by the partially paralyzed side, which progressively grows stronger throughout the course of the therapy. The brain and damaged limb eventually reunite, and increased mobility is usually the final outcome of CIMT.

Occupational therapy assists in retraining the body to perform basic hygiene and self-care procedures. Life skills therapy, similar to occupational therapy, focuses on the patient learning new skills and performing with his or her disability. A trained professional helps the patient physically compensate for their disability and use other methods to perform activities. There is a variety of exercises used to assist the patient, which are individually designed for different forms of paralysis.

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Electrical stimulation therapy uses electricity to stimulate muscles and cause them to contract. This is the primary theory behind cycling therapy, which uses electrical pads to stimulate leg muscles while on a specially crafted exercise bike. The electrical currents sent through the legs usually cause them to begin pedaling, and this type of frequent exercise may restore function to the damaged area. The use of paralysis therapy that promotes exercise can also keep the body in shape during recovery.

Vocal paralysis occurs when there is damage to the nerves of the laryngeal muscles, which can occur after trauma to the neck or chest, viral infection, growth of tumors that strangle nerves, and other complications to the neck or chest area. Vocal paralysis therapy offers a few techniques to ease discomfort and restore vocal mobility through voice rest, vocal exercises with a trained voice clinician, and educating patients on the functions of the laryngeal muscles. The therapy varies depending on the injury and extent of damage. An experimental approach to vocal and other types of paralysis is leech paralysis therapy, which allows leeches to work on the affected area, promote blood circulation, and administer healthy chemical enzymes through their saliva.

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