Paralysis As a Result of Spinal Cord Injuries

Serious spinal cord injuries can result in sudden paralysis – the loss or impairment of movement and sensation. The degree of paralysis depends on the severity and location of the injury. If the injury occurs in the lower part of the spinal cord, the body will be paralyzed from the waist down (paraplegia). If the upper part of the spinal cord – the neck region – is injured, the body will be paralyzed from the neck down (quadriplegia).

Spinal cord injuries often lead to paralysis

Degrees of Paralysis in a Spinal Cord Injury

A complete spinal cord injury means that the victim experiences no movement, function, or sensation below the point of injury, and both sides of the body are equally affected. In an incomplete spinal cord injury, there is the possibility of limited movement, function, and sensation below the point of injury. One side of the body may move differently from the other side.


Quadriplegia (also called tetraplegia) occurs when the site of injury is in the upper part of the spine and results in paralysis of both arms and both legs. The chest and abdominal muscles are also affected by this type of damage, causing difficulties with breathing and coughing; in some instances, the quadriplegic becomes dependent on a ventilator.


Paraplegia results from an injury that occurs in the lower part of the spine and affects the body from the waist down. Paraplegics maintain use of their arms but cannot move either of their legs.

Symptoms in Quadriplegics and Paraplegics

Currently, there is no cure for paralysis, although several symptoms can be treated to ease pain or discomfort.

  • Spastic muscles: Muscles tighten up, sometimes in abnormal positions. Treatment for spastic paralysis includes techniques to relax the muscles and can include an anti-spastic medication taken orally or injected around the spinal cord.
  • Flaccid muscles: Muscles hang weak and limp. These symptoms can be treated through physical therapy to maintain the muscles and by using devices such as splints to support the joints.

Find a Personal Injury Attorney near You

If you or a member of your family has suffered a spinal cord injury that led to paralysis, contact a personal injury lawyer for more information, using ImpactLaw’s directory of personal injury lawyers. If the injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may eligible to recover damages for medical bills and other expenses and losses.

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