Conversion motor paralysis disorder: analysis of 34 consecutive referrals

Spinal Cord. 2002 Jul;40(7):335-40. doi: 10.1038/


Study design: We present our cumulative experience with patients sustaining the most dramatic type of Conversion Disorder (CD) - Conversion Motor Paralysis.

Setting: Rehabilitation departments, Reuth Medical Center, Tel-Aviv and Sheba Medical Center, Tel-Hashomer, Israel.

Methods: During the period 1973-2000, 34 patients with neurological symptoms without any anatomical or physiological basis were admitted to both rehabilitation departments. This number consists of less than 1% of the total acute traumatic and non-traumatic spinal cord disorders admitted annually to these centers.

Results: Twenty-five of the subjects were men (mean age of 30 years) and nine were women (mean age of 31.4 years). Neurological symptoms included: paraplegia (complete or incomplete) (18), hemiplegia or hemi paresis (11), tetraplegia (complete or incomplete) (three), monoplegia (one), triplegia (one). The final diagnosis on discharge was CD in 30 of the 34 cases, the remaining four being diagnosed as malingering. Functionally, nine patients had a complete recovery, 10 a partial recovery and 15 remained unchanged.

Conclusion: Disabled people who experienced traumatic events resulting in various disabilities are admitted usually to a rehabilitation center. However, some of them are later diagnosed as having Conversion Disorder or malingering. We believe that their participation in active regular and integrative rehabilitation process is beneficial to most of them. Most of these patients gain functional independence and return to the main stream of life.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Conversion Disorder / complications*
  • Conversion Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Conversion Disorder / rehabilitation
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malingering / diagnosis
  • Paralysis / complications*
  • Paralysis / diagnosis*
  • Paralysis / rehabilitation
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wounds and Injuries / complications