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Living with Paraplegia: Cures, Therapies, Exercises, and More

If you or a loved one is a paraplegic, it is important to learn about the condition and how to live with it.

Person-Using-Wheelchair-from-Paraplegic-Injury

What Is Paraplegia?

Paraplegia, sometimes called partial paralysis, is a form of paralysis in which function is substantially impeded from below the level of injury. Most people with paraplegia (often referred to as paraplegics) have perfectly healthy legs. Instead, the problem resides in either their brain or spinal cord, which cannot send or receive signals to the lower body due to an injury or disease.

Like other forms of paralysis, paraplegia symptoms can vary significantly from one person to the next. While the stereotype of a paraplegic is of someone in a wheelchair who cannot move his or her arms or legs, cannot feel anything below the level of injury, and cannot walk, paraplegics actually have a range of capabilities that may change over time, both as their health evolves and their physical therapy helps them learn to work around their injuries.

Paraplegia Support Groups

People who live with paraplegia resulting from a spinal injury or spinal nerve damage frequently need assistance in adjusting to life after an SCI. Finding and joining SCI community groups can help paraplegics by providing more than just resources and advice—they also provide an outlet for talking about whatever challenges or issues that SCI survivors and their loved ones have to deal with.

SCI community resources can be found online through social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, by asking physical therapy specialists, or by looking at lists of SCI support groups like this one.

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Sources

  • Spinal Cord Injury Facts and Figures at a Glance. NSCISC. Published 2018. Accessed May 11, 2020.
  • Evangelista Santos Barcelos AC, Scardino FB, Patriota GC, Rotta JM, Botelho RV. Paraparesis or incomplete paraplegia? How should we call it? Acta neurochirurgica. Published April 2009. Accessed May 11, 2020.
  • Directory of Model Systems. SCI Model Systems | Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center (MSKTC).  Accessed May 11, 2020.
  • Holdsworth F.W., Hardy A. Early Treatment of Paraplegia From Fractures Of The Thoraco-Lumbar Spine. Semantics Scholar.