Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Hysterical paraplegia.
  1. J H Baker,
  2. J R Silver


    Between 1944 and 1984 20 patients were admitted to a spinal injuries centre with a diagnosis of traumatic paraplegia. They subsequently walked out and the diagnosis was revised to hysterical paraplegia. A further 23 patients with incomplete traumatic injuries, who also walked from the centre, have been compared with them as controls. The features that enabled a diagnosis of hysterical paraplegia to be arrived at were: They were predominantly paraplegic, There was a high incidence of previous psychiatric illness and employment in the Health Service or allied professions, Many were actively seeking compensation. The physical findings were a disproportionate motor paralysis, non anatomical sensory loss, the presence of downgoing plantar responses, normal tone and reflexes. They made a rapid total recovery. In contrast, the control traumatic cases showed an incomplete recovery and a persistent residual neurological deficit. Investigations apart from plain radiographs of the spinal column were not warranted, and the diagnosis should be possible on clinical grounds alone.

    Statistics from

    Request Permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.