(Paralysis; Loss of Movement)


Paraplegia is the word used to describe the body's loss of movement and/or feeling. Paraplegia is complete or partial paralysis of the lower half of the body.Some people may resume some function. Many people with paraplegia may have long-term loss of function.
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Injury to the nervous system is the most common cause of paraplegia. Common injuries and other causes include:
  • Broken neck
  • Broken back
  • Stroke
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Genetic disorder (hereditary spastic paraplegia)
  • Congenital (present at birth)
  • Infection
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Tumor (either within the spinal cord or pushing on the spinal cord)
  • Syrinx (a spinal cord disorder)

Risk Factors

Paraplegia is often the result of an accident. People who participate in high-risk or high-contact sports or those who drive recklessly may be at greater risk.


Symptoms will depend on how much of the spinal cord is involved. Symptoms include:
  • Loss of movement or muscle control in the legs, feet, toes, or trunk
  • Loss of feeling in the legs, feet, toes, or trunk
  • Tingling in the legs, feet, toes, or trunk
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control
  • Sexual difficulties


You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Neurosurgeons, orthopedists, and neurologists are involved in diagnosis after a paralytic injury has occurred.Images may need to be taken of your spine. This can be done with:Your bodily fluids may need to be tested. This can be done with:An evoked potential nerve test may also be done to evaluate the nerve's pathways.

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