If a person is prone to seizures, they may experience temporary paralysis once a seizure passes. This paralysis is known as Todd’s paralysis. If your loved one has seizures and you think that they have Todd’s paralysis as well, you can use the information on this page to help them. You can learn more about the condition, symptoms, treatment, and more.
Understanding Todd’s Paralysis
Seizures can have a serious impact on a person’s body and brain. Once a seizure passes, a person will go through a postictal state in which their body and brain are still recovering from the seizure. During this period, a person may feel exhausted, and they may experience issues such as confusion, issues with their vision, drowsiness, as well as muscle weakness. If a person experiences paralysis after a seizure, they could have Todd’s paralysis. This paralysis is common after epileptic seizures, but in some cases can follow seizures triggered by other issues as well.
Even though Todd’s paralysis is a form of paralysis, it is considered a neurological condition, not an issue with the spine. This type of paralysis usually affects one limb in the body, such as a leg, hand, or arm. But, in some cases, it can cause full body paralysis, and it can also affect a person’s ability to talk and see.
If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from Todd’s paralysis, watch out for these common symptoms:
- Odd sensations after seizures, such as dizziness, tiredness, confusion, and more
- Difficulty seeing or speaking after a seizure
- Difficulty controlling limb movement after a seizure
- Paralysis on one side of the body (which can be confused with a stroke)
This type of paralysis can last for as short a period of time as half an hour, or can last as long as 36 hours. On average, this paralysis will last for about 15 hours after a seizure takes place.
If your loved one complains of any of these symptoms after a seizure, or if you notice them, you should seek medical help.
Todd’s Paralysis vs. Stroke
Todd’s paralysis is commonly misidentified as a stroke. This is because both strokes and Todd’s paralysis have similar symptoms – paralysis on one side of the body, slurred speech, confusion, etc. Strokes and Todd’s paralysis are treated differently, so it is important to try to differentiate between them. Strokes need immediate medical attention and treatment, but Todd’s paralysis does not necessarily need this type of treatment.
A big difference to look out for is when the paralysis occurs. If your loved one has epilepsy or a seizure inducing condition, and they experience temporary paralysis after a seizure, they likely have Todd’s paralysis. If these symptoms come out of the blue, your loved one may be having a stroke.
Treatment for this type of paralysis is currently limited. One tactic that doctors may take is reducing the number of seizures that a person has, which will also reduce the amount of time they spend paralyzed. If Todd’s paralysis does occur, the person should rest and recover. Then, they should seek medical attention.
For more information about this form of paralysis or others, you can contact my office.