Chapter 18 – Functional limb weakness and paralysis

Jon Stone, S Aybek

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

Functional (psychogenic) limb weakness describes genuinely experienced limb power or paralysis in the absence of neurologic disease. The hallmark of functional limb weakness is the presence of internal inconsistency revealing a pattern of symptoms governed by abnormally focused attention.

In this chapter we review the history and epidemiology of this clinical presentation as well as its subjective experience highlighting the detailed descriptions of authors at the end of the 19th and early 20th century. We discuss the relevance that physiological triggers such as injury and migraine and psychophysiological events such as panic and dissociation have to understanding of mechanism and treatment. We review many different positive diagnostic features, their basis in neurophysiological testing and present data on sensitivity and specificity. Diagnostic bedside tests with the most evidence are Hoover's sign, the hip abductor sign, drift without pronation, dragging gait, give way weakness and co-contraction.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Clinical Neurology
Subtitle of host publicationFunctional Neurologic Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2016

Publication series

NameHandbook of Clinical Neurology


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