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Temporary Leg Paralysis
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Temporary Leg Paralysis

I am a 19 year old female with no (diagnosed) illnesses and only taking one medication- I have the Implanon rod.
This morning, I went to get out of bed and my legs completely did not work. I was shocked as this has never happened before today. I continued to try to pull myself back up and it kept happening. Finally after a few minutes I was able to stand, but there was a strange feeling in my knee that I could only describe as heaviness.
I am aware that orthostatic hypotension could be a cause, but normally when I experience that, I get a strange head rush and my vision goes dark. I did not experience those symptoms along with my legs giving out, so I don't believe that was the cause.
I am otherwise healthy as far as I know so I am concerned, as you can imagine. What could this be?
Thanks.
Avatar_dr_m_tn
Thanks for using the forum. I am happy to address your questions, and my answer will be based on the information you provided here. Please make sure you recognize that this forum is for educational purposes only, and it does not substitute for a formal office visit with a doctor.

Without the ability to examine and obtain a history, I can not tell you what the exact cause of the symptoms is. However I will try to provide you with some useful information.

It is difficult to say what you have since there is more history needed. However, if you have one-sided numbness/weakness of the body, it is most commonly due to a problem in the brain (as opposed to other areas of the central nervous system such as the spinal cord or peripheral nerves). Many possibilities exist, and depend somewhat on your age, your risk factors, and the nature of your symptoms (whether or not the numbness started suddenly or gradually, whether it is a complete loss of sensation or a tingling, whether it is an objective finding on examination or it is only a feeling that you have etc)

The most concerning cause of numbness on one side of the body is a stroke. Please understand I am not trying to imply you have a stroke, but only that this is one possibility. Strokes occur predominantly in people with risk factors: smokers, high cholesterol, diabetics, hypertensives, and people over the age of 55. However, they can occur in any age. If your numbness was due to a stroke, it would start somewhat suddenly (over minutes) and would likely persist without significant improvement. Since you are younger, it is less likely this, but it is something to consider.  

Other potential causes include multiple sclerosis, a brain tumor, a vascular malformation and others. Transient one-sided body numbness (lasting for example for minutes up to 30 minutes then resolving) could be due to a migraine (the aura of migraine, in which case following the numbness, a headache occurs) or seizures.

Lastly, if you lay awkwardly and compress peripheral nerves, you can develop transient weakness with pins and needles sensation.

Has your symptoms resolved? If not or if they are recurring, you should be seen urgently.

You may benefit from evaluation by a neurologist, but I would suggest you follow up with your primary care physician first. Depending on your history and physical examination, he/she may choose to order an MRI of the brain, which would be able to assess for several of the disorders discussed above.  

Thank you for this opportunity to answer your questions, I hope you find the information I have provided useful, good luck.

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