GIGER MD® Therapy
Spinal Cord Section
Paraplegia and tetraplegia are a form of paralysis due to neural injury or disease. Learn more about the causes and treatment of paraplegia!
Spinal Cord Section
The spinal cord is divided into five sections: the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral, and coccygeal regions. The level of injury determines the extent of paralysis and/or loss of sensation. Nerves from each segment connect to specific areas of the body. No two injuries are alike.
The neck, or cervical region, referred to as C1 to C8, control signals to the neck, arms, hands, and to respiration. These injuries usually result in quadriplegia. Injuries above the C-4 level may require a ventilator for the person to breathe. C-5 injuries may result in shoulder and biceps control, but no control at the wrist or hand. C-6 injuries may yield wrist control, but no hand function.
The thoracic or upper back region, T1 to T12, control signals to the torso and some parts of the arms. Individuals with injuries at T1 may straighten their arms but still may have dexterity problems with the hand and fingers. In injuries from level T1 to T-8 there can be control of the hands, but poor trunk control. Lower T-injuries (T-9 to T-12) can result in good truck control and good abdominal muscle control. Sitting balance may be very good.
The lumbar region, L1 through L5, controls the hips and legs. Individuals with these injuries will experience decreasing control of the hip flexors and legs.
Besides a loss of sensation or motor functioning, individuals with SCI also experience other changes. For example, they may experience dysfunction of the bowel and bladder. Sexual functioning is frequently affected: men with SCI may have their fertility affected, while women’s fertility is generally not affected. Very high injuries (C-1, C-2) can result in a loss of many involuntary functions including the ability to breathe. Other effects of SCI may include low blood pressure, inability to regulate blood pressure effectively, reduced control of body temperature, inability to sweat below the level of injury, and chronic pain.