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Definition
 

The human spine consists of the bony outer casing made up of segments of bone called vertebrae. They protect the spinal cord which runs the inner length of the spine. The spinal cord is like a mass of intertwined telegraph wires which transmit nerve messages from the brain to various parts of the body. They provide the initial stimulus from the brain for sensation and movement.



Paraplegia and Quadriplegia is permanent paralysis of the body caused by injury or disease affecting the spinal cord.

Paraplegia involves a loss of sensation and movement in the legs and in part or all of the trunk. This varies according to the level of the injury. Generally, the lower the injury, the less the loss of movement and sensation. Paraplegia usually results from an injury to the spinal cord in the mid and lower back.

Quadriplegia normally means a loss of sensation and movement in all four limbs and the trunk. This generally results from a spinal cord injury to the neck. However, the loss of sensation and movement may not be complete with some sensation and movement being retained in parts of the arms and legs.

Another word meaning Quadriplegia is Tetraplegia. Tetraplegia is the correct word but Quadriplegia is more commonly used.
 



In pediatric practice, delay in starting to walk and difficulty in walking are common problems. These conditions may indicate a systemic disease (such as tickets), mental deficiency, or, more commonly, some muscular or neurologic disease. Congenital cerebral disease from periventricular leukomalacia accounts for a majority of cases of infantile diplegia (weakness predominantly of the legs, with minimal affection of the arms). Present at birth, it becomes manifest in the first months of life and may appear to progress, but actually the disease is stationary and the progression is only apparent, being exposed as the motor system develops. Later there may seem to be slow improvement as a result of the normal maturation processes of childhood. Congenital malformation or birth injury of the spinal cord are other possibilities. Friedreich ataxia and familial paraplegia, Progressive muscular dystrophy, tumor and the chronic varieties of polyneuropathy tend to appear later, during childhood and adolescence, and are slowly progressive. Acute transverse (demyelinative) myelitis is a rare condition of childhood.



The effects of SCI depend on the type of  injury and the level of the injury. SCI can be divided into two types of injury - complete and incomplete. A complete injury means that there is no function below the level of the injury; no sensation and no voluntary movement. Both sides of the body are equally affected. An incomplete injury means that there is some functioning below the primary level of the injury. A person with an incomplete injury may be able to move one limb more than another, may be able to feel parts of the body that cannot be moved, or may have more functioning on one side of the body than the other. With the advances in acute treatment of SCI, incomplete injuries are becoming more common.
The level of injury is very helpful in predicting what parts of the body might be affected by paralysis and loss of function. Remember that in incomplete injuries there will be some variation in these prognoses.
 



When a SCI occurs, there is usually swelling of the spinal cord. This may cause changes in virtually every system in the body. After days or weeks, the swelling begins to go down and people may regain some functioning. With many injuries, especially incomplete injuries, the individual may recover with the GIGER MD � Instruments to such a degree, which appears unbelievable. In very rare cases, people with spinal cord injury can regain almost all functioning years after the injury.

 In spinal cord injury, the spine is normally damaged somewhere along its length. Thus it is said that you have broken your back or neck. The bone in the spine will mend as will other bones in the body when they are broken. However, the nerve tissue in the spinal cord which is also damaged when the spine is broken, will not mend. It is this nerve damage which causes the permanent loss of function and results in the conditions known as paraplegia or quadriplegia. These conditions may also result from medical conditions, such as a tumour or abscess which result in spinal damage.
 



When a SCI occurs, there is usually swelling of the spinal cord. This may cause changes in virtually every system in the body. After days or weeks, the swelling begins to go down and people may regain some functioning. With many injuries, especially incomplete injuries, the individual may recover with the GIGER MD � Instruments to such a degree, which appears unbelievable. In very rare cases, people with spinal cord injury can regain almost all functioning years after the injury.

 Treatment of quadriplegia includes physical and psychological therapy as well as mechanical support of any normal functions made impossible by blockage of the sympathetic nervous system. The quadriplegic patient needs assistance in maintaining respiration, proper body temperature, and bowel and urinary functions. Children born with spastic quadriplegia usually require perpetual, comprehensive care. The degree of mental retardation will dictate the level of the child's education and independence.

When quadriplegia occurs as the result of an injury, the patient will likely suffer a period of grief and/or depression. The sudden loss of control of nearly all bodily functions is devastating. Counselling should be provided to help the patient successfully progress through this stage. In severe injuries, parents and patients may consider the withdrawal of life support. Such decisions should not be made until the patient has completed rehabilitation, and all parties are made aware of the long-term physiological and psychological consequences of the injury.

 

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