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What’s the Difference Between Paraplegia and Quadriplegia?

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Hand gripping wheel on wheelchair


Paraplegia refers to the complete or partial loss of sensation and movement in your legs and potentially your lower abdomen area. Some people can experience paralysis in one leg, which is considered incomplete paraplegia.

Some common symptoms of paraplegia include:

  • A loss of sensation in the lower body
  • Chronic pain
  • Impaired mobility
  • Weight gain


Quadriplegia, which can also be referred to as tetraplegia, refers to the paralysis of both arms and legs. T6his occurs when a spinal cord injury happens to the neck area. Unfortunately, this form of injury can also affect internal organs within the trunk. Some people with quadriplegia can move their arms but have limited control over their hand movements.

Common Causes

The most common causes of paraplegia and quadriplegia are:

  • Spinal Cord Injury - Developing paraplegia and quadriplegia depend on the severity and location of the injury. When the main parts of the central nervous system become damaged, the brain cannot function properly, which can lead to both forms of paralysis.
  • Stroke - When someone has a stroke, it usually paralyzes one side of the body. However, when the lower portion of the brain becomes damaged, muscle weakness and paralysis can occur on both sides.
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS) - This disorder attacks the covering of nerve fibers in the spinal cord, brain, and optic nerves. Not all people with MS will develop paralysis, some main only experience mild numbness. Only around one-third of MS cases result in partial or complete paralysis.
  • Cerebral Palsy - This injury affects the outer layer of the brain which controls muscle movement. Although cerebral palsy is usually detected at birth, it can develop in children after a head injury or infection.

If you or a loved one have been paralyzed partially or completely, the attorneys at Lanier Law Group, P.A. may be able to assist you with recovering compensation. Although these cases may be complex, we know how to navigate through these situations with skills and efficiency.

When you’re ready, contact us at (855) 757-4204 or contact us through our website to get started on a free consultation.