Abilities After Injury

Your abilities after you're injured depend on the level of injury.

Level Affects Known As
T2 or lower
  • The connection between the brain and the legs
Paraplegia
C1 to C7 and T1
  • The cervical or neck area
  • Both arm and leg functions
Tetraplegia, which is another word for quadriplegia
C4 level and above (C1, C2, and C3)
  • The motor signals that control the diaphragm (the muscle that makes the lungs expand when you breathe in)
  • Your ability to breathe on your own and may require a mechanical ventilator to help you breathe
N/A

The extent of the injury also changes from person to person. It depends on which parts of the spinal cord are injured and how badly the cord was injured.

  • Some people can move their arms, but cannot feel light touch or pinpricks.
  • Othfer people have sensation, but no movement.
  • Others may have no sensation and no movement.

Complete and Incomplete Injuries

There are complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries.

Complete Injury Incomplete Injury
  • Interrupts the connections between the brain and the end of the spinal cord.
  • Some nerve connections remain between the brain and the end of the spinal cord.
  • Recovery of sensation and movement is not very likely.
  • Chances for recovery are better than in a person with a complete injury.

Contact Us

Call 1-877-AT-REHAB
(28-73422) to learn more about our spinal cord injury rehabilitation program or to refer a patient.

Our Experts


Outpatient Care

To make an appointment in the outpatient spinal cord injury clinic at UPMC Mercy, please call 412-232-8901.

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