Paralysis, Quadriplegia and Paraplegia
Paralysis is the inability to move a group of muscles as a result of an injury to a nerve. When this injury occurs in the spinal cord, the result is an inability to move either the legs alone (paraplegia) or both the arms and legs (quadriplegia). If the injury involves a nerve or nerve group after the nerve exits the spinal cord, then the injury can be more localized, such as the injury to the brachial plexus which causes Erb’s palsy. Severe nerve injuries are usually the result of an external injury, such as a car accident, but improper treatment by the doctor or hospital after such an external injury can cause a reversible spinal cord injury to become irreversible and permanent. Other spinal cord injuries can occur as a result of a lack of oxygen during an unrelated surgical procedure, or as a result of direct pressure on the spinal cord from a blood clot. The key to any spinal cord or nerve injury is prompt diagnosis and treatment to reverse the effects of paralysis and/or to prevent the further spread of injury which can affect more parts of the body.