The Life Of Paraplegics

Read Complete Research Material


The Life of Paraplegics

The Life of Paraplegics



Paraplegia is an impairment in motor or sensory function of the lower extremities. It is usually the result of spinal cord injury or a congenital condition such as spina bifida which affects the neural elements of the spinal canal. The area of the spinal canal which is affected in paraplegia is either the thoracic, lumbar, or sacral regions. If the arms are also affected by paralysis, quadriplegia is the proper terminology. If only one limb is affected the correct term is monoplegia. (Retief and Key 2007)


Paraplegia is most often a result of a traumatic injury to the spinal cord nervous tissue or the resulting inflammation and swelling that occurs around the point of injury. Paraplegia can also be caused by non-traumatic and congenital factors such as spinal tumors, scoliosis, or spina bifida. Scoliosis is an abnormal curving of the bones that make up the structure surrounding the spinal cord. Spina bifida is a birth defect in which parts of bones that make up the structure surrounding the spinal cord do not come together properly.


Paraplegia is paralys of the legs and lower body, and is caused by damage to the lower spinal cord. Spinal cord injury resulting in Paraplegia or Quadriplegia is most often caused by a severe accident. Statistics show that the majority of Paraplegics and Quadriplegic sustain their injury from road accidents, and these along with diving and other sporting accidents affect many young people for the rest of their lives. Spinal injury, resulting in Paraplegia and Quadriplegia, can also occur if the spinal cord is damaged through a disease, which causes infection, or if there is a tumor on the spine.


There are more than 12,00 people living in Australia with a spinal cord injury. In 2001 and 2002, there were 398 spinal cord injuries. 91% of these resulted in neurlogical loss. 60% of the injuries in 2001 and 2002 were from traumatic causes, and of those 46% were caused by motor vehicle accidents, 31% were caused by falls and 12% caused by sport. 60% of injuries were incomplete. The cervical segments had the highest frequency of injury, particularly C4 to C6. (Kohn and Rossier 2006)

Each vertibrae in your spine has a letter/number code to represent it. The cervical (neck area) vertibrae are named from C1 to C7, the thoracc (upper back) vertibrae are named from T1 to T12, the lumbar (middle back) vertibrae are named from L1 to L5 and finally the sacral (lower back) vertibrae, which are named from S1 to S5. The higher the injury in the spine, the worse the result will be, because everything below the injury will have functioning problems.

T-1 injuries are the first level with normal hand function. They can perform all functions of a non-injured person, with the exception of standing and walking, although this is also possible for some T-1 patients. As thoracic levels proceed caudally, intercostal and abdominal musculature recovery is present, and there is improved respiratory function and trunk balance ...
Related Ads