Types of Spinal Cord Injury
Paraplegia. The basic definition of paraplegia is paralysis (the loss of voluntary motor function) of the lower body, including the legs and often internal organs below the waist. Although the degree of paralysis can vary from mere impairment of leg movement to complete paralysis of legs, paraplegics have full use of their arms and hands.
Quadriplegia/Tetraplegia. Unlike paraplegics who lose motor function of their lower region, quadriplegics are unable to move both their upper and lower body (arms and legs). The accurate term to describe quadriplegia is “tetraplegia,” although the term “quadriplegia” is commonly used. Quadripilegia occurs when the person endures a spinal cord injury located to the top of the spine or backbone.
Hemiplegia. Hemiplegia is the inability to move a group of muscles on one side of the body. It involves the arm, the leg, and in some cases the face of one side of the body. One who suffers from hemiplegia can be completely paralyzed or may move in rigid, stiff movements. Hemiplegia can be present at birth.
Paralysis. Paralysis is characterized by loss of muscle function in part of the body. Palsy is paralysis that affects only one muscle or limb, and it’s considered partial paralysis. Paralysis of all muscles is called total paralysis.
Bulging Discs. A bulging disc occurs when a disc bulges through a crevice in the spine when the disc shifts out of its normal position. It is often the result of an injury or trauma to the spine that is caused by automobile accidents, motorcycle accidents or falls. Bulging discs result in numbness, tingling in limbs, as well as weeks of back pain.
Herniated Discs – A herniated disc, also known as a slipped or ruptured disc, occurs when the tissue that separates the vertebral bones of the spinal column ruptures. The nucleus is at the center of the disc and absorbs shock from standing, walking, running, etc. The outer ring of the disc, known as the annulus, holds the nucleus in place. If the nucleus tissue in the center of the disc is placed under substantial pressure (often from automobile accidents, motorcycle accidents or falls), it can cause the annulus to rupture, resulting in numbness in limbs and neck and back pain. In serious cases, surgery is required to lessen pain and to allow for more normal movement and function.