Quadriplegia & Tetraplegia: Function, Location and Structure

Quadriplegia, or tetraplegia, is a condition where all four limbs experience paralysis. Quadriplegics often have experienced severe trauma.

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Are There Treatments for Quadriplegics?

Though some quadriplegics experience significant improvements in symptoms, and even total cure, quadriplegia is not curable with treatment. This means that no surgical procedure, drug, or form of therapy can guarantee a return of functioning, and few quadriplegics will ever regain all functioning. Instead, the goals of treatment include improving the long-term prognosis, reducing immediate threats to your life and health, and teaching your brain and spinal cord how to work around the injury. Some treatment options include:

  • Brain and spinal cord surgeries to address obstructions, reduce bleeding, and manage swelling.
  • Medication to reduce the risk of infection; you may also take other drugs, such as blood thinners or blood pressure medications.
  • Education about quadriplegia, as well as training on your rights under the Americans With Disabilities Act and other relevant laws. Some treatment facilities also offer occupational skills training.
  • Family education and support.
  • Speech and language therapy to help you maintain or regain your ability to speak.
  • Physical therapy to help you regain functioning.
  • Exercise therapy to keep your body in optimal health.
  • Psychotherapy to help you deal with the social and psychological effects of quadriplegia. Your doctor might also recommend drugs such as antidepressants.
  • Participation in support groups.