Hemiparesis: Types, Symptoms, Causes And Treatment

The central nervous system is a biological structure that is responsible for perceiving stimuli from the outside world, processing said information and transmitting impulses to nerves and muscles, allowing the person to perform all kinds of movements.

But when something interferes with the proper functioning of this system, carrying out any body movement can become really complicated. One of these special conditions in which the person’s ability to move is limited is hemiparesis in which the subject sees his bodily mobility reduced in only one half of his body.

What is hemiparesis?

Hemiparesis is not defined as a disease, but rather as a a neurological condition of variable causes that makes it difficult to move one half of the body Specifically, hemiparesis refers to decreased motor strength or partial paralysis that affects one arm and one leg on the same side of the body.

This decrease in movement does not constitute paralysis, and is considered a lesser degree than hemiplegia, which does produce total paralysis. When this loss of movement affects the head and face it may not be too obvious.

Types of hemiparesis

Hemiparesis can be grouped into different types depending on the causes of its appearance, so There are different types depending on the degree of muscle weakness and its causes.

1. Right-sided hemiparesis

This hemiparesis is caused by an injury to the left hemisphere of the brain, so the person will see reduced muscle mobility on the right side of their body.

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2. Left-sided hemiparesis

When brain injury occurs in the right hemisphere, it is the left side of the body that is affected by this decrease in muscle mobility.

3. Infantile hemiparesis

Infantile hemiparesis is one that affects babies or young boys and girls, and is usually caused by problems in the spinal cord or brain damage from birth.


As mentioned in the previous point, the causes of hemiparesis are varied. The particular muscle weakening can be caused by injuries to the spinal cord affecting the nerves that innervate the muscles and causing their weakness.

This spinal cord damage includes injuries caused by trauma, such as that caused by a car accident. Likewise, diseases such as multiple sclerosis and some types of cancer can also cause spinal cord injuries that interfere with nerve activity.

Brain damage can also lead to a decline in muscle strength, with stroke being one of the most common reasons why a person may suffer from hemiparesis. Furthermore, this muscle weakness is one of the main signs that a person is going to suffer a stroke.


When a patient goes to the health center with hemiparesis, the first step is to determine the cause of the muscle weakness Medical imaging studies are necessary to accurately detect the location of the lesion; Likewise, an interview with the patient is necessary to collect information and thus prepare a clinical history in order to identify the most obvious risk factors.


To stop the effects of hemiparesis and reduce the consequences it has on the body, it is essential to resolve and/or treat the affected part that caused it. In this way, like a rebound effect, it should improve and even be solved.

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Another very common intervention with notable positive results is physical treatment through physiotherapy exercises in which the areas that have been affected by this decrease in mobility are forced to work and directly move.

With this treatment the patient restores the control he has over his muscles, strengthens his muscle mass and his motor capacity. The person affected by hemiparesis can also use the help of devices, such as walkers or orthopedic devices, to help complement the treatment; and that they support the execution of their daily activities and move the affected area with greater and better development of the activity.

There is no minimum time limit for partial or total recovery from hemiparesis, since recovery depends on the intensity of the treatment carried out, the degree of muscle weakness or the causes that caused the condition.

Usually, hemiparesis can be resolved in its entirety, leaving, at most, minor sequelae that can be perfectly harmonized with the patient’s normal rhythm of life.

The Bobath Concept

One of the possible treatments for hemiparesis is the Bobath Concept through physical therapy and occupational therapy.

The Bobath Concept refers to a therapeutic approach focused on solving problems in the evaluation and treatment of patients with disorders or problems of function, postural control and movement, due to lesions of the central nervous system; including here hemiparesis.

This is a therapy that is based on the brain’s ability to reorganize itself based on peripheral sensory stimuli, seeking to ensure that the intact brain areas compensate for the functions that were performed by the injured parts of the brain.

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The main attraction of the Bobath Concept is to favor the functioning of the affected side of the body as much as necessary, and thus adapt its movements in a manner consonant with the less affected side of the body; seeking to balance the body in terms of functionality and mobility.

Another characteristic essence of this method is the modification of abnormal movement patterns resulting from the injury itself, facilitating the activity in a functional way and following the milestones of the person’s neurophysiological neurodevelopment.

Another point in favor of the Bobath Concept is that it does not require strict treatment regimens that must be followed rigorously, but rather provides the person with elements that can be applied according to individual needs and responses thus involving the patient in their own recovery.