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Hemiparesis is a condition when one side of the body, from head to toe, is weak, making it difficult to move. This condition is generally experienced by stroke survivors and must be treated immediately because it can cause permanent weakness and paralysis
Hemiparesis is experienced by 8 out of 10 people who suffer a stroke. This condition can make it difficult for sufferers to do many things, including standing, walking, and even swallowing. Therefore, hemiparesis needs to be treated thoroughly, so that the patient's quality of life can improve.
Hemiparesis is different from hemiplegia, which is paralysis of one side of the body. Hemiparesis can also be called partial paralysis or semi-paralysis. Hemiparesis patients can still move the affected side of the body, but only in small, weak movements.
Causes of Hemiparesis
Hemiparesis occurs due to tissue damage on one side of the brain. Most brain damage is caused by a stroke. In addition, hemiparesis can also be caused by a head injury, brain tumor, or brain infection.
The contents of the body affected by hemiparesis are usually opposite the side of the brain that is damaged. For example, if the left brain is damaged by a stroke, the right side of the body will experience weakness.
However, in some cases, weakness can also occur on the same side as the side of the brain that was damaged. For example, if the damage is to the right brain, hemiparesis may also occur to the right side of the body.
Because hemiparesis causes muscle weakness, sufferers may experience several difficulties, including:
- Difficulty walking
- Difficulty maintaining balance
- Difficulty speaking
- Difficulty chewing and swallowing or choking easily
- Difficulty reaching or holding objects
- Difficulty in coordinating movements
- Tingling or numbness
- Easy to get tired when doing activities
When viewed from the constraints, a person's daily activities can be greatly disrupted when exposed to hemiparesis, from just walking to getting dressed or using the toilet. This can have an impact not only on their productivity, but also on their mental he alth.
Proper Treatment for Hemiparesis
Proper handling can restore the strength of the weak side of the body. Treatment methods to treat hemiparesis include:
1. Drug administration
Treatment of hemiparesis depends on the cause. If your hemiparesis is triggered by a stroke, treatment may include blood pressure-lowering drugs or drugs to increase cerebral blood flow. However, if the hemiparesis is caused by an infection, antibiotics will be given.
If the hemiparesis is triggered by a severe cerebral hemorrhage, surgical stent placement in the brain may be required. This action aims to increase blood flow to the brain. Surgery may also be needed if the hemiparesis is caused by a brain tumor that can be removed.
The muscles that experience weakness in hemiparesis need to be strengthened again with physiotherapy. There are two types of physiotherapy that may be recommended, namely modified constraint-induced movement therapy (mCIMT) and electrical stimulation.
mCIMT is performed by limiting the use of the normal side of the body.The part of the body that experiences hemiparesis will be forced to move slowly so that the weakened muscles can be strong again. This physiotherapy method is proven to be able to provide improved mobility in at least 4 weeks.
Electrical stimulation is given to increase the sensitivity of sensory nerves, strengthen muscles, reduce muscle stiffness, and increase range of motion. This procedure is performed by placing electrical pads on weakened muscles. After that, a light electric charge transmitted through the pads will make the muscles contract.
Psychotherapy with the mental method of imaginery or imagination can also help overcome hemiparesis. In this therapy, the patient will be asked to imagine the weakened body part can be moved freely.
When imagining, the brain will assume that a weak body becomes strong again, so the brain is trained to send motion signals to that body part.However, this imaginative therapy is more effective for the upper limbs and needs to be combined with other therapies.
5. Use of tools
The doctor may recommend the use of an assistive device, such as a cane or wheelchair, to help the patient move and prevent injury. The doctor or physiotherapist will recommend assistive devices according to the patient's needs.
In addition to the therapies above, hemiparesis can also be treated by being active and exercising. Exercise is usually focused on increasing muscle strength, starting at the lightest level. However, this should be done carefully, if necessary under the supervision of a doctor or physiotherapist.
Hemiparesis often occurs suddenly. If you experience symptoms of hemiparesis, even if it is only mild symptoms such as tingling on one side of the body, immediately consult the nearest doctor or emergency room. The faster the treatment, the better the recovery process and the quality of life of patients with hemiparesis.