Causes of Paraplegia

Paraplegia as a result of a spinal cord injury that leads to impairment in physical or sensory performance of the lower part of a person’s body. The affliction happens because of injury to the cellular makeup of the spinal cord inside the spinal canal. The part of the spinal cord that is impacted in paraplegia is possibly the thoracic, lumbar, or even sacral parts of the spine. In cases where the arms are also impacted by paralysis, quadriplegia/tetraplegia is the proper technical term.

Indications of Paraplegia

Damage to the spinal cord at the thoracic point and below cause paraplegia, with the hands and arms not impacted. Individuals with trauma to the spinal cord sections T-1 to T-8 generally keep control over the hands and arms however they have weak trunk control and stability as a result of the inadequate abdominal muscle command. Lower thoracic traumas (T-9 to T-12) maintain good trunk command and sound abdominal muscle control. The sitting down stability of individuals with lower spinal cord traumas is often pretty good. Lumbar and sacral damage lead to reduced command over the hip flexors and legs.

Spinal Nerves and Levels

Every section of the human body is supplied by a specific point or section of the spinal cord with its respective spinal nerve. Functionality below the area of spinal cord trauma is either lost or reduced.

Operation of the spinal nerves below the cervical areas of the spinal cord are often weakened because of injury in either the thoracic, lumbar or sacral locations, causing paraplegia.

T1 Controls the fingers as well as provides control to the tiny muscles of the hand.

T1 –T12 supplies the chest wall structure (intercostal muscles) and stomach muscles.

T10 – L2 Psychogenic erections (thought regulated).

L2 Turns the hip.

L1, L2, L3, L4 Thigh flexion.

L2, L3, L4 Straightening of leg at the knee (quadriceps femoris)

L2, L3, L4 Thigh adduction.

L4, L5, S1 Thigh abduction.

L4, L5, S1 Dorsiflexion of the feet (tibialis anterior).

L4, L5, S1 Straightening of toes.

L4, L5, S1, S2 Flexion of leg at the knee (hamstrings).

L5, S1, S2 Extension of leg at the hip (gluteus maximus).

L5, S1, S2 Plantar flexion of the feet.

L5, S1, S2 Flexion of toes.

S2, S3, S4 Regulate a man’s potential to get a reflex erection.

S2, S3, S4 Ejaculation is produced by the bulbospongiosus muscle under the regulation of a spinal reflex by the pudendal nerve.

S3,4 and 5 Furnishes the bladder, bowel, sex organs along with the rectal and various pelvic muscles.

Secondary Medical Complications

Paraplegics are vulnerable to quite a few secondary medical problems such as pressure sores (decubitus), thrombosis, autonomic dysreflexia, pneumonia and low blood pressure. Malfunctions of bowel, bladder and sexual organs. Physical therapy will help avoid future and alleviate current difficulties.


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