Immobility (lack of movement)

Legs | Rheumatology | Immobility (lack of movement) (Disease)


Any disease or disability that requires complete bed rest or extremely limits your activity is considered immobility. Patients who have had a stroke resulting in partial or complete hemiparesis/paralysis, spinal cord injury resulting in paraplegia or quadriplegia, fracture, or prolonged bed rest after surgery are considered immobilized. Any condition causing immobility for 6 months or longer increases the risk for bone boss that may lead to osteoporosis.

If the paralysis affects the lower half of the body and both legs it is called paraplegia. It if affects both arms and legs, it is called quadriplegia. If the paralysis affects the muscles that cause breathing, it is quickly life threatening.

Causes and Risk factors

Loss of muscle function may be caused by: adisease of the muscle itself (myopathy) or a disease of the nervous system (nerve damage or neuropathy, spinal cord or nerve injury, or brain damage by stroke or other brain injury)

The loss of muscle function after these types of events can be severe. Often it will not completely return, even with treatment. Paralysis can be temporary or permanent. It can affect a small area (localized) or be widespread (generalized). It may affect one side (unilateral) or both sides (bilateral).

Diagnosis and Treatment

Sudden loss of muscle function is a medical emergency. Seek immediate medical help.

After you have received medical treatment, your doctor may recommend some of the following measures:

(1) Follow your prescribed therapy.

(2) If the nerves to your face or head are damaged, you may have difficulty chewing and swallowing or closing your eyes. In these cases, a soft diet may be recommended. You will also need some form of eye protection, such as a patch over the eye while you are asleep.

(3) Long-term immobility can cause serious complications. Change positions often and take care of your skin. Range-of-motion exercises may help to maintain some muscle tone.

(4) Splints may help prevent muscle contractures, a condition in which a muscle becomes permanently shortened. ...