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Spinal Cord Injury Levels – Functionality of C5 Spinal Cord Injury

Mobility & Movement

Full head and neck movement with good muscle strength. Good shoulder movement.

Complete paralysis of body and legs. No finger or wrist movement. No elbow extension, good elbow flexion.

Sympathetic nervous system will be compromised, possibility of Autonomic Dysreflexia.

Electric wheelchair can be controlled with a hand control for uneven surfaces. A manual wheelchair may be used for short distances on flat surfaces.C5 Spinal Cord Injury

The person will require total assistance when transferring from a bed to a wheelchair and from a wheelchair into a car. A hoist will have to be used, possibly by one to two assistants for safety.

Ability to feed self using feeding strap and fork or spoon during mealtimes. Food will need cutting.

Ability to drive a car adapted with hand controls. Assistance may be required to load wheelchair into car independently.

Respiratory System

Able to breathe without a ventilator using diaphragm. Low stamina.

Assistance required to clear secretions and assistance in coughing will be required.

Personal Care

Complete personal assistance is required. The person will need assistance with washing, dressing, and assistance with bowel and bladder management.

Ability to shave and brush hair may be possible with palm straps.

Domestic Care

Complete domestic care is required, such as household cleaning, washing of clothes and kitchen duties, preparation of meals and general household duties.


A computer may be operated using a typing stick or voice recognition. Telephone can be used using voice recognition and headset.

The above functionality guide is only a general guide. Abilities will vary depending on the persons weight, existing medical conditions and age.