Types of Paralysis Resulting from Neck & Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI)

Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI) & Paralysis

Paraplegia and Quadriplegia

Types of Paralysis Resulting from Neck & Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI)

Trauma to the spinal cord can result in lost or impaired function that can be temporary or permanent. Paralysis occurs when motor and sensory signals between the brain and the spinal cord are interrupted, resulting in diminished or lost mobility or feeling.

The precise point on the spinal cord where the injury occurred is termed the “level of injury” or “lesion“. From that location on the spinal cord and below, the injury is further classified as complete or incomplete, denoting whether the injured person has either suffered total loss (in the case of a “complete” injury) or some degree of diminished sensation and muscle strength. According to Wikipedia, recent studies show that people with “incomplete” injuries have over a 95% chance of recovering some degree of locomotion.

There are two major classifications for paralysis:

  • Paraplegia results from an injury in the spinal cord in the thoracic, lumbar, or sacral regions (below the first thoracic spinal nerve). The degree of loss or diminished mobility can vary depending on the injury, but typically affects the legs and abdominal region.
  • Quadriplegia (also called Tetraplegia) results from an injury higher up the spinal cord in the cervical region, with loss of muscle strength as well as feeling in both arms and both legs.