Flaccid vs Spastic Paralysis
Paralysis is a condition associated with the loss of muscle function. Paralysis is caused by the nervous system failures. Nervous system failures may occur due to various reasons such as trauma, polio, botulism etc. Flaccid paralysis and spastic paralysis can be considered as forms of paralysis.
Characteristic feature of flaccid paralysis is paralysis or reduced muscle tone without other obvious cause. Flaccid paralysis is caused by diseases or trauma. This condition is due to affected nerves, which are involved in muscle action. If somatic nerves, which are involved in a skeletal muscle action, are affected, then the particular skeletal muscle shows flaccid paralysis. Due to flaccid paralysis the muscles lose the ability to contract and become limp. Flaccid paralysis can be fatal depending on which muscles are affected. If respiratory muscles are affected, the person may die. Polio, botulism, and curare can be the causes of flaccid paralysis, but there can be other causes, as well. Acute flaccid paralysis is often associated with polio. Acute flaccid paralysis can also be caused by other pathogens like enteroviruses. Botulism is caused by a bacterium known as Clostridium botulinum. The main route of its entry is through the digestive tract. Sometimes it may enter through wounds. A toxic substance produced by Clostridium botulinum blocks the release of acetylcholine. Due to this the muscles lose the ability to contract. Curare is a toxin. It is taken from a plant grown in the rainforests of South America. The toxin binds to the acetylcholine molecule which makes it unable to bind to the acetylcholine receptors on the muscle cells. Due to this, the muscles cannot be stimulated.
Spastic paralysis is also a form of paralysis. Spastic paralysis is involved with unusual tightness of the muscles. It changes skeletal muscle performance in muscle tone involving hypertonia. This is a condition that arises when the nerves coordinating the voluntary muscle actions are disabled. During this condition, the nerves controlling muscle movement becomes hyperirritable. Due to this the skeletal muscles become unable to function in a coordinated manner. Therefore, spasmodic muscle contractions are caused by the impulses that are arisen from them. Severe spastic paralysis may be caused by various kinds of brain damage or stroke. Spastic paralysis may also be caused by spinal cord injury. The injuries caused by inflammatory diseases of nerve tissue can be taken as an example. During this condition, the injured motor neuron fibers in the spine cause spastic paralysis. Intrauterine disease or birth injury or inherited nervous system defects may cause congenital spastic paralysis.
What is the difference between Flaccid Paralysis and Spastic Paralysis?
• Flaccid Paralysis is a condition that gives rise to limp and floppy muscles that lack firmness. This is due to loss of activity in these muscles. Voluntary control over these muscles is lost, and that reduces their ability to contract.
• Spastic Paralysis is a condition that gives rise to muscle stiffness. Spasms are spontaneous and uncontrolled.