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Posted on Apr 19, 2022

Causes, Symptoms and tests of Paraplegia

Paraplegia is a medical condition wherein which an individual suffers from loss of feeling and/or loss of movement in the body. This generally takes place post some injury in the nervous system. Paraplegia may include partial or complete paralysis of legs and/or trunk. The location and severity of damage of the nervous system define the extent of paralysis. Only the lower half of body gets paralyzed in paraplegia whereas, paralysis of the complete body along with arms is called Quadriplegia.

Depending on the location & extent of damage to the nervous system, there are certain patients who are able to resume minimal function. Majority of the patients having paraplegia would have the condition permanently. The treatment is dependent on causes & comprises of rehab & physical therapy mainly.


Most common reason for paraplegia is an injury or trauma to the nervous system. Other causes are:

  • Injury to neck leading to fracture of cervical vertebrae
  • Broken or fractured back wherein which lumbar vertebrae get fractured
  • Injury to the spinal cord
  • Hereditary spastic paraplegia which happens to be a genetic disorder
  • Stroke
  • It could be congenital e.g. present at birth
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Presence of a tumor within spinal cord or constriction of spinal cord
  • Spinal cord disorders like the syrinx
  • Infection


Symptoms depend on the degree of involvement of the spinal cord

  • Patients experience loss of muscle control or movement in legs, toes, feet or trunk.
  • Tingling sensation in legs, toes, feet or trunk could be felt as well
  • Patients experience loss of sensation in legs, toes, feet or trunk
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Bladder & bowel incontinence


Tests for diagnosing Paraplegia are:

  • Medical history & physical exam
  • CT Scan for assessing any injury to spine or head
  • MRI Scan, wherein which the magnetic waves are used for taking pictures of structures within spine and head
  • Blood tests like CBC
  • Myelography is a type of X-ray that used an injection of contrast medium to have a clearer vision of spinal cord
  • Lumbar puncture is performed wherein a sample of cerebrospinal fluid or CSF is taken from the lower back
  • The evoked potential nerve test is made for assessing the pathways of nerve