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Types of paralysis that may stem from a spinal cord injury

On Behalf of | Jan 21, 2024 | Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) are among the most severe traumas a person can endure. They often result in varying degrees and types of paralysis. The extent and nature of paralysis that someone may experience generally depends primarily on the location and severity of the injury in question.

When the spinal cord is damaged, communication between the brain and the body is disrupted, which affects motor and sensory functions below the injury site. This can lead to paralysis.

Complete and incomplete paralysis

Complete paralysis occurs when there is a total loss of sensory and motor function below the injury level. This means the individual has no movement or sensation in the affected areas. Incomplete paralysis is characterized by some degree of sensory or motor function below the injury site. Patients with incomplete paralysis might retain some movement or sensation. Their prognosis for recovery is generally more favorable compared to those with complete paralysis.


Paraplegia is a type of paralysis that affects the lower part of the body, including the legs and sometimes parts of the trunk. This condition typically results from injuries to the thoracic, lumbar or sacral regions of the spinal cord. Individuals with paraplegia retain the use of their arms and hands, which allows them a degree of independence in daily activities. The level of impairment and the potential for recovery can vary widely among those with paraplegia.


Quadriplegia, which is also known as tetraplegia, involves paralysis of all four limbs and, often, the torso. This type of paralysis is the result of injuries to the cervical region of the spinal cord. It is the most severe form of paralysis. Individuals with quadriplegia may require extensive assistance in daily life and face numerous health challenges, including the need for ventilatory support in high cervical injuries.

Life after a SCI is often challenging. The medical care alone is expensive, which puts a considerable burden on injury victims. Those victims may opt to pursue a compensation claim against any negligent parties responsible for their injuries. Seeking legal guidance can help those who have grounds upon which to take legal action to pursue compensation effectively.