Definition of Hemiplegia: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment


What is hemiplegia?

It is a type of cerebral palsy which can result from damage to the different parts of the brain that control muscle movements. The damage can occur before, during or shortly after birth.

The name of hemiplegia means that the paralysis is on one side of the body. Another similar medical term is hemiparesis, which means weakness on one side of a body. In children with hemiplegia, paralysis in the body occurs on the opposite side of the part that was affected by the brain


The symptoms of hemiplegic spastic cerebral palsy may differ from a child over time. Some of the symptoms include:

• Difficulty with common motor skills such as writing or using scissors.
• Difficulty walking or maintaining balance on one side.
• Stiffness and weakness in the muscles on a particular side of your body.
• Convulsions.
• Delay in reaching the milestones of the expected development such as turning, sitting, crawling, or smiling.
• Low IQ not common for their age.

Causes of hemiplegia in children:

• Cerebrovascular accident (CVA) or a stroke like thrombosis: embolism or hemorrhage.
• Transient ischemic attack (TIA).
• Migraine syndrome.
• Traumas in the head: cerebral contusion, subdural hematoma or epidural hematoma.
• Sturge-Weber syndrome.
• Todd’s Paralysis.
• Brain tumor (primary or metastatic disease).
• Infection: brain abscess, encephalitis, subdural empyema or meningitis.
• Eat hyperosmolar non-ketotic.
• Vasculitis.
• Demyelinating disease: multiple sclerosis, acute necrotizing myelitis.
• Hereditary disease: leukodystrophies.
• Congenital or perinatal injury.
• Venous artery malformations.


The physiotherapist works with a patient who has cerebral palsy and paralysis on one side of his body (hemiplegia). There are medications that also help relax the muscles in cases of spastic hemiplegia. In case of deformations in the extremities, surgery could be an option.

Children with hemiplegia can not be cured in the common sense of the word, but therapies can do wonders to help relieve some of the symptoms.

The medication can also be prescribed for seizures and orthotic equipment such as braces and splints can be used to help with the problems of spasticity and walking.