Munson Health
 
Quadriplegia and Paraplegia

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by Smith N
 

Causes

Quadriplegia and paraplegia are most often caused by spinal cord injuries. But, they can also be caused by diseases, such as:
Most spinal cord injuries are caused by accidents, such as car crashes, falls, and sports injuries.
Whether it is paraplegia or quadriplegia, depends on the location along the spine where the injury occurs:
  • Paraplegia—damage below the neck
  • Quadraplegia—damage to the spinal cord at the base of the skull or neck
Quadriplegia
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Symptoms

Paralysis due to spinal cord injuries may be total or partial. This depends on how much of the spinal cord is damaged. In addition to paralysis of the arms and/or legs, you may also suffer from:
  • Incontinence —bladder or bowel
  • Sexual dysfunction — male or female
  • Trouble breathing
  • Difficulty sitting upright depending on the level of the damage
Inactivity due to paraplegia and quadriplegia can cause additional problems, like:
People with paraplegia and quadriplegia may also become depressed because of:
  • Social isolation
  • Lack of emotional support
  • Increased dependence on others
 

Diagnosis

Diagnosis involves finding out where and how badly the brain and spinal cord are damaged. To do this, doctors will likely do the following tests:
 

RESOURCES

American Muscular Dystrophy Association
http://www.mdausa.org

The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation
http://www.paralysis.org

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

Canadian Paraplegic Association (Manitoba)
http://www.cpamanitoba.ca/

 

References


Binard JE. Care and treatment of spinal cord injury patients. J Am Paraplegia Soc . 1992;15:235-249.


Dorizzi A. Guidelines for management of spinal cord injury: spinal surgery study group of the Italian Society of Neurosurgery. J Neurosurg Sci . 1997;41:133-138.


Lukas RV, Chmura S, Nicholas MK. Management of central nervous system metastases from renal cancer. Emerging Cancer Therapeutics . 2011;2(1):157-168.


Shakur S, Takagi I, Lukas RV, Chmura S, Gajewski T, Roitberg BZ. Ocular melanoma metastasis to the cervical spine: a case report. Journal of Clinical Neuroscience . 2012;19(4):610-611.


Spinal cord injury—acute management. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed . Updated January 23, 2013. Accessed February 21, 2013.


Spinal cord injury—chronic management. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed . Updated January 23, 2013. Accessed February 21, 2013.

 

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