The brain sends signals through the spine, almost like a radio antenna, which tells it to move certain body parts, like the legs and arms. Despite the spine’s constant use and importance to the body’s major motor functions, the spine is extremely vulnerable to injuries. When the spine suffers from injuries, these signals may not be correctly received.
Many people experience some kind of mild spine injury during their lifetime. These injuries may cause nothing more drastic than stiffness, soreness and temporary shots of pain. However, serious spinal injuries may impair reflex movements, senses and motor controls and lead to paraplegia.
There’s more you should know:
What is paraplegia?
Paraplegia is the inability to use certain motor functions on the body, typically, on the lower half of the body, such as legs, feet and toes. This often happens when someone experiences injuries to their nervous system and spinal cord.
Paraplegia has two main categories:
- Complete injury: This means the spine was injured in a way that caused the total loss of bodily functions. This could cause the inability to feel and control body parts. This may even cause bladder and bowel control issues.
- Incomplete injury: Alternatively, someone could still have the ability to feel and control motor functions, but have difficulties after an accident.
Paraplegia is just one form of paralysis. Depending on how the accident occurred, certain areas of the spine may be affected while others may not. In other words, as stated above, paraplegia may not cause full paralysis but is often unique to the lower half of the body.
Other forms of paralysis may include:
- Monoplegia: One limb is impacted such as an arm.
- Hemiplegia: One side of the body is impacted such as the left arm and leg.
- Quadriplegia: All four limbs are impacted.
Motor vehicle accidents are one of the most common causes of paraplegia and other forms of paralysis. Without the right protection, a collision may cause serious damage to the spine, leaving victims permanently injured or left with years of physical therapy. People dealing with catastrophic injuries after an accident may need to know their legal options when seeking recovery.