Back pain or stiffness
Neck pain or stiffness
Pain or stiffness in the arms or legs
Muscle spasms or tenderness
Fewer than 1 percent of people infected with poliovirus develop paralytic polio, themost serious form of the disease. Paralytic polio often begins with a fever. Five toseven days later, other signs and symptoms appear, including:
Neck and back stiffness
Increased sensitivity to touchThe paralytic polio symptom that causes limbs to appear loose and floppy (acuteflaccid paralysis) often comes on suddenly and usually is worse on one side of the body.Paralytic polio has historically been divided into several types, depending primarilyon which part of the body is affected. These classifications aren't rigid, and overlapmay occur among the different forms. In the past, distinctions among polio types mayhave varied with the method and time of diagnosis.
This most common form of paralytic polio attacks certain nervecells (motor neurons) in your spinal cord and may cause paralysis of themuscles that control breathing and those in your arms and legs. The musclesaffected and the extent of paralysis depend on the part of the spinal cord andnumber of neurons involved. Although paralysis can occur in any combinationof limbs — for instance, both legs and one arm — children under age 5 aremost likely to become paralyzed in a single extremity, while in adults, paralysis of both arms and legs is more common.Sometimes the neurons are only damaged, in which case you may recover some degree of muscle function. But if the neurons are completely destroyed,the paralysis is irreversible, although you still retain your sense of feeling,unlike after many spinal cord injuries.
In this severe type of polio, the virus affects the motor neuronsin your brainstem, where the centers of the cranial nerves are located. Thesenerves are involved in your ability to see, hear, smell, taste and swallow. Theyalso affect the movement of muscles in your face and send signals to your heart, intestines and lungs. Bulbar polio can interfere with any of thesefunctions but is especially likely to affect your ability to breathe, speak andswallow and can be fatal without respiratory support.