Cord Injury: Quadriplegic and Paraplegic Injuries
Welcome to Apparelyzed, a free spinal cord injury peer support website run by individuals with spinal cord injuries. Here you will find health information which has been submitted, and is discussed between the spinal injury community. Please use the links on the left of this page to navigate the website, and the section index below to navigate this page. We hope you find the website useful, and consider joining in on some of the discussions in the spinal cord injury forum.
Spinal Cord Injury Homepage Quick Links
What is a Spinal
Cord Injury ?
A spinal cord injury (SCI) is generally defined as damage or trauma to the spinal cord that results in a loss or impaired function. The paralysis from the damaged spinal cord may affect
mobility, sensation, bladder function, bowel function or sexual function.
When a person has been paralysed due to
cord injury, paraplegic and quadriplegic (tetraplegic) are terms used to describe the resultant medical condition. The classification of spinal cord injury depends on the spinal cord injury level and severity of a persons paralysis, and how it affects their limbs.
The spinal cord injury level is usually referred to alpha numerically, relating to the affected segment in the spinal cord, ie, C4, T5, L5 etc.
Common causes of damage to the spinal cord are trauma
(car/motorcycle accident, gunshot, falls, sports injuries, physical attacks),
or disease (Transverse Myelitis, Polio, Spina Bifida, Friedreich's
Ataxia, spinal cord tumour, spinal stenosis, etc.). The resulting damage to the spinal cord is known
as a lesion,
and the paralysis is known as quadriplegia or quadraplegia / tetraplegia if the injury is in the cervical (neck) region, or as paraplegia if the injury is in the thoracic, lumbar or sacral region.
It is possible for someone to suffer a broken
neck,or a broken
back without becoming paralysed. This occurs when there
is a fracture or dislocation of the vertebrae, but the spinal cord
has not been damaged. Sometimes minor swelling of the spinal cord will result in temporary paralysis, which can be recovered from after several weeks or months.
What is a Complete and Incomplete Spinal
There are typically two types of lesions
associated with a spinal cord injury. These are known as a complete spinal cord injury
and an incomplete spinal cord injury. A complete type of injury means the person is completely paralysed
below their lesion. An incomplete injury, means only part
of the spinal cord is damaged. A person with an incomplete injury
may have sensation below their lesion but no movement, or visa versa.
There are many types in incomplete spinal cord injuries, and no
two are the same.
What is Cauda Equina Syndrome?
The spinal cord ends around L1-L2, this area is known as the conus medullaris. From the conus medullaris spinal nerves branch out individually and this bundle of nerves are referred to as the cauda equina or "horse-tail". These nerves branch off the lower end of the spinal cord and contain the nerve roots from L1-5 and S1-5. Injury resulting in paralysis to these nerve roots is referred to as cauda equina syndrome.
If you would like to read more about people's experiences of Cauda Equina Syndrome, please visit the discussion area of the Cauda Equina Syndrome Forum.
What is the Difference Between Quadraplegic, Tetraplegic,
Paraplegic and it's Definition
Quadraplegic is derived
from two separate words from two different languages, Latin and
Greek. The word “Quadra”, meaning “four”
which is derived from Latin, relates to the number of limbs. “Plegic”,
is derived from the Greek word “Plegia”, meaning paralysis.
Put the two together, and you have “Quadraplegia”.
“Tetra” is derived from the Greek word
for “Four”. “Para” is derived from the Greek
word for "two" Hence: Tetraplegic and Paraplegic.
In Europe, the term for 4 limb paralysis has always
been tetraplegia. The Europeans would never dream of combining a
Latin and Greek root in one word.
In 1991, when the American Spinal Cord Injury Classification
system was being revised, the definition of names was discussed.
The British are more aware of Greek versus Latin names. Since Plegia
is a Greek word and quadri is Latin, the term quadriplegia mixes
language sources. Upon review of the literature, it was recommended
that the term tetraplegia be used by the American Spinal Cord Association
so that there are not two different words in English referring to
the same thing.
What is Spinal Cord Injury
Rehabilitation for individuals with a spinal cord injury combines physical therapies with skill-building activities. These activities will usually take place at a specialist center such as a spinal cord
injury rehabilitation center
injury center. A rehabilitation team will usually oversee activities and include a doctor specialising in spinal injuries, social workers, physical and occupational therapists, sports educators, rehabilitation nurses, rehabilitation psychologists, vocational counselors and nutritionists.
Generally, paraplegics will be in hospital for
around 5 months, where as quadriplegics can be
in hospital for around 6 - 8 months, whilst they undergo rehabilitation.
Both paraplegics and quadriplegics should have some kind of rehabilitation
and physiotherapy before they are discharged from hospital, to help
maximise their potential, or help them get used to life in a wheelchair,
and to help teach techniques which make everyday life easier.
Disabled sports, and wheelchair based sports can
be an excellent way to build stamina, and help in rehabilitation
by giving confidence and better social skills. The ultimate reward
for many disabled sportsmen and women, is to win at the
paralympic games, which will be coming to Rio, Brazil in 2016.
Is There a Cure for a Spinal Cord Injury?
A cure for long term paralysis is still some years
in the future, but clinical trials are taking place with olfactory
en sheathing glial (OEG) cells and embryonic stem cell based therapy. The research area of the forum is where topic discussing research for a cure for spinal cord injuries can be found: Spinal Cord Injury Cure Research
Disability Benefits and Incapacity Benefits Advice - DLA - PIP - ESA
The Welfare Reform Act is changing the way benefits in the UK are assessed and awarded. The Disability Benefits forum is for discussions related to changes and assessment issues regarding Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payments (PIP), Incapacity Benefit (IB) and Employment Support Allowance (ESA). Visit the Disability Benefits Advice Forum.
Aims of This Website
This website provides peer
support for those affected by spinal cord injuries. When someone suffers a spinal cord injury, there will be a wide variety of issues to cope with.
The following topics are the most common areas this website addresses:
- Acute spinal cord injury support.
- Chronic spinal cord injury support.
- Incontinence support.
- Prevention of pressure sores.
- Pain management.
- Mobility issues - wheelchairs, adapted cars, motorbikes.
- Accessible holidays.
- Stem cell research and stem cell therapy.
- Raising spinal cord injury awareness.
It has always been the view of Apparelyzed that when you live with a spinal cord injury, there are many issues in life which need solving by a different and quite a often unique approach. The forum area helps to enable individuals to think differently about solving practical problems, and therefore helps to enable independence through the social interaction with others who have had similar experiences.
Paraplegic and Quadriplegic Discussion
If you have any spinal injury
related questions, please visit our discussion
forums and join in on the many topics there. We will
do our best to help you, or at the very least, put you in contact
with someone who can help if we can't. The discussion forum is intended
to be a free flow of information between spinally injured people,
carers, and their friends, and everyone is welcome.
Even if you don't have any questions, take a look at the forum
anyway, as you may be able offer help and advice to others who have
Additional Spinal Injury Resources
Countries around the word hold spinal cord injury awareness days to promote the work charities do to help those with spinal injuries. The awareness days also provide an opportunity for charities and non profit organisations to reach out to those existing spinal injured individuals, who are not aware of the support services charities can provide.
There's a new area on the forum for the
discussion of both the Winter Paralympic Games and the Summer Paralympic
Call For Action
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Help to spread awareness about this website by printing this spinal cord injury poster and putting it up in your spinal injury center or spinal rehabilitation center.
Top 5 Causes of
Spinal Cord Injuries
Motor Vehicle Crashes: 42.1%
Sports Injuries: 7.6%
Injuries since 2005 - Source: www.spinalcord.uab.edu
If you run a website which deals with quadriplegia, paraplegia
or spinal cord injuries,
or is targeted at a paraplegic or quadriplegic person, we would be more
than happy for you to link to us, and would be prepared to add a reciprocal
link in kind. You can either make up a link to us, or use the code on
our links page.