Hemiplegia & Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)

Hemiplegia can result when a part of the spinal cord is lacerated, as with a puncture wound. This condition can be the result of disease, but it can also happen as a result of a serious accident or other physical trauma.

Hemiplegia notably causes patients to experience loss of motor function and sensation to just one side of the body. This rare condition is also known as Brown-Séquard Syndrome.

Hemiplegia Symptoms

The paralysis is only in one side of the body, the opposite of the side that was injured.

For example, if the left side of the spinal cord was injured, symptoms would manifest on the right side. These symptoms include experience loss of muscle control, pain and temperature. This seemingly odd result reflects the fact that nerves that control movement cross the spinal cord, rather than run along the same side.

Other symptoms can include:

  • Behavioral issues
  • Bladder and bowel difficulty
  • Depression
  • Difficulty balancing and moving
  • Loss of fine motor control
  • Muscle spasms
  • Seizures
  • Speech impediments

In rare cases, Hemiplegia can develop into complete paralysis. This paralysis may be temporary or permanent, depending on the initial cause of the injury.

Hemiparesis is a milder form of Hemiplegia. This refers to a different type of SCI, in which half of the body is left weakened, not paralyzed.


After a spinal cord injury, the immediate goal is to reduce swelling and repair the injury site. With traumatic injuries, the goal may also be to repair damage to other parts of the body.

Long-term and short-term treatment tends to be similar to other types of serious spinal cord injury.

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