Paralysis describes a condition where a patient has no voluntary muscle movement or sensation of touch in a part of the body. It is often the result of a severed nerve, but can also be caused by a number of neurological diseases or toxins, such as ALS, Guillain-Barre syndrome or botulism poisoning. It can be localized or it can affect the entire body.

It is distinguished from numbness, which is where sensation is only lowered and the patient has some muscular control. This is common in conditions such as diabetes mellitus.

Some drugs, such as tubocurarine, are used to paralyze muscles during surgery to prevent involuntary spasm.

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