Functional limb weakness and paralysis.

Stone, J; Aybek, Selma (2017). Functional limb weakness and paralysis. Handbook of clinical neurology, 139, pp. 213-228. Elsevier 10.1016/B978-0-12-801772-2.00018-7

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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.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology

UniBE Contributor:

Aybek, Selma


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Stefanie Hetzenecker

Date Deposited:

19 Jan 2017 11:47

Last Modified:

19 Jan 2017 11:47

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

conversion disorder; functional neurologic symptoms; limb weakness; nonorganic; paralysis; paresis; psychogenic


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