Paralysis is a condition characterized by an inability to move your muscles. It is caused by a breakdown in the communication between the central nervous system and nerves in the body. This lack of communication leads to loss of muscle coordination, weakness, and eventually paralysis.
Paralysis can start slowly or come on suddenly. Quick onset or sudden paralysis is a medical emergency. Dial 9-1-1 and seek immediate care. Sudden paralysis can sometimes be reversible with prompt treatment.
At Dignity Health, we provide timely, high quality, and compassionate care for patients experiencing paralysis in Arizona. We offer emergency services conveniently located in Ahwatukee, Phoenix, Chandler, Laveen, Gilbert, Surprise, Goodyear, Glendale, and Mesa. Learn how InQuicker™, our online waiting service, can reduce your waiting time in the ER.
Paralysis Symptoms Treated at Dignity Health
In cases of trauma, the cause of sudden paralysis is obvious. Dignity Health operates Level 1 Trauma Centers at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center and Chandler Regional Medical Center. St. Joseph’s was the first ACS Level I Trauma Center in the state verified by the American College of Surgeons.
Sometimes your doctor will need to learn more about your symptoms to make a diagnosis. Be sure to mention any recent bites from snakes or insects, exposure to chemicals, recent water or food consumption, and illnesses.
Other symptoms that may occur along with sudden paralysis include:
- Drooping face
- Problems understanding speech or speaking
- Problems walking or with balance
- Vision problems
- Memory loss
- Loss of consciousness, even if very brief
- Headache, which may be severe
What Causes Paralysis?
Sudden paralysis can be a symptom of:
- Trauma, including spinal cord injury
- Brain aneurysm or hemorrhage (bleeding)
- Electrolyte or chemical imbalances
- Stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA)
- Infections, including tetanus and West Nile disease
- Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare autoimmune disorder possibly triggered by an infection
- Toxins, including poisons and venom
You may need additional testing to confirm or rule out a diagnosis if the cause of sudden paralysis is not obvious. This may include:
- Imaging exams
- Blood tests
- In-depth neurological exams
- Electrophysiologic testing to measure nerve and muscle function
Our board-certified, emergency medicine doctors and nurses have 24-hour, on-site access to state-of-the-art digital diagnostic imaging equipment and laboratory services to help them make a diagnosis.
Dignity Health provides emergency care for quick onset symptoms, including paralysis, in Arizona.