Spinal cord injuries are catastrophic. Millions of Americans are currently struggling with paraplegia or quadriplegia, which frustrates their ability to take care of themselves and turns their lives upside down. Many of those suffering from paralysis also sink into depression and struggle with immense stress on their families.
You are not alone. Roger Verner Injury Law can help anyone with a spinal cord injury. Contact our firm to learn more.
Comparing Paraplegia vs. Quadriplegia
Both paraplegia and quadriplegia are forms of paralysis, which consists of the loss of movement and sensation. Paralysis can be temporary or permanent, and it might be partial or impact the entire limb.
Paraplegia is defined as paralysis in both legs and possibly the lower abdomen.
Quadriplegia consists of the paralysis of both arms and legs, as well as the abdomen. Many people with quadriplegia suffer paralysis from the neck down.
What Causes Paralysis?
Most paralysis is caused by a serious injury to the brain or, more likely, the spinal cord. In general, neural signals from the brain cannot reach the limbs, often because of damage to the spinal cord, which is a bundle of nerve fibers running up the middle of the back. Consequently, a person will not feel any sensation and be unable to move.
The spinal cord is protected by bones called vertebrae. However, many accidents are so violent that they shatter or crack bones. Fragments can nick or slice into the spinal column. This damage can cause a complete injury, meaning the cord is cut completely in two. Or the injury could be incomplete, which means some of the cord remains in one piece.
Typically, a person will feel loss of movement and/or impaired sensation below the point of injury. An injury lower on the back will typically cause paraplegia, meaning only paralysis in the legs, whereas an injury higher up the spinal cord will result in quadriplegia.
Accidents that Cause Paraplegia & Quadriplegia
Many types of accidents can lead to spinal column injuries. For example, traumatic accidents can smash vertebrae and damage the cord. Some of the most violent accidents include:
- Car crashes
- Truck accidents
- Slip and falls
- Construction accidents
Other accidents include medical malpractice. A person might suffer from spinal column damage due to botched back surgery.
Can You Recover from Paraplegia?
When paralysis is caused by an incomplete spinal cord injury, recovery is possible to various degrees. People with incomplete injuries often retain some sensation and movement. Surgery can strengthen the spinal column so that your condition does not get worse. Physical therapy can strengthen limbs, and some people can regain the ability to walk, often with the assistance of leg braces.
Someone with paraplegia retains neurological functioning in the arms and upper body, which means it’s often easier for people to remain independent even if they lose all movement in their legs. A paraplegic might use a wheelchair for transportation and learn ways of getting in and out of bed or the shower.
Challenges with Quadriplegia
A quadriplegic faces many of the same challenges. If some movement remains with an incomplete injury, then grueling physical therapy can help a person regain as much functioning as possible. However, it is often unrealistic to expect to return to “normal,” even with an incomplete spinal cord injury.
Because a person faces paralysis from the neck down, they might be unable to speak or breathe without assistance. Maintaining independence is also impossible for many. Instead, they need at-home help with everyday tasks like bathing and eating.
Being unable to talk is often extremely stressful. Both paraplegics and quadriplegics can suffer from depression, anxiety, and other health conditions. Still, many quadriplegics suffer more intense mental anguish because of increased physical limitations and social isolation.
We Can Seek Compensation for Your Injuries
As you can imagine, a spinal cord injury is extremely expensive. The true cost should include lifelong medical care, including rehabilitation, along with any lost income. The sad reality is that many with paraplegia or quadriplegia cannot return to work, or they need to take a lower-paying job.
In terms of medical care, most victims will have seven-figure hospital bills. The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center has calculated that someone with paraplegia will spend on average $560,000 in the first year and about $75,000 each subsequent year. Someone with high tetraplegia will spend more than $1 million in the first year and about $200,000 each subsequent year.
These numbers are so high because about 30% of spinal cord injury patients will be readmitted to the hospital in any given year following injury.
Contact Us for a Consultation
Our firm is available to take your call at (833) 482-7637. Our consultations are free, and we can meet you anywhere.