Are you wondering...what in the world is QUADRIPLEGIA?  

Well, don't feel bad because a lot of people have never even heard the word quadriplegia, much less know what it means!

Unfortunately, I am quite familiar with what it means!


The DEFINITION of QUADRIPLEGIA is: paralysis of both arms and both legs.  Therefore, one affected with paralysis of both arms and both legs, is considered a QUADRIPLEGIC.

Paralysis, also called motor paralysis, is the loss of the ability to move voluntarily (under conscious control).  It involves loss of control or function of the skeletal muscles, sometimes called voluntary muscles. Paralysis may be partial or complete, and temporary or permanent. It can affect any muscles and, in many cases, is associated with loss of sensation in the affected part of the body.

Paralysis of central nervous system origin can be extensive.  The central nervous system consists of the brain and the spinal cord.  An injury or disease that destroys brain cells may paralyze arm, leg, and face muscles, often on only one side of the body.  Such brain damage generally produces spastic paralysis, in which the muscles are more stiff than normal, and reflexes are overactive.  If motor nerve cells (nerve cells that affect movement) in the spinal cord are damaged directly, then the muscles become limp, and reflexes are lost.  This is called flaccid paralysis.

Disease or injury of the spinal cord paralyzes the muscles at and below the level of damage.  For example, spinal cord damage in the neck region can cause quadriplegia—paralysis of the arms and legs. Paraplegia—paralysis of the legs—follows damage to the spinal cord below the neck.  Damage to the brain stem—the portion of the brain that connects to the spine—can result in the paralysis of muscles that control such automatic functions as breathing, swallowing, bladder and bowel control.





I am medically considered a QUADRIPLEGIC because I have a SPINAL CORD INJURY that paralyzed my arms and legs.




Injury Level Chart

Click Here for Larger View


Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) involves damage to the spinal cord that results in a loss of function such as mobility or feeling.  In order for the loss of function to occur, the spinal cord does not have to be completely severed.  In most individuals with SCI, the spinal cord is intact, but it is the damage to it that results in the loss of functioning.  Also, a person can break their back or neck yet not endure a SCI if only the bones around the spinal cord (the vertebrae) are damaged, not the actual spinal cord.  In these cases, the bones usually heal and the person does not experience paralysis.



The most common causes of damage to the spinal cord are traumas such as motor vehicle accidents, motor bike accidents, falls, sports injuries (particularly diving into shallow waters), gunshot wounds, assault and other injuries; and disease such as Polio and Spina Bifida.

When people are injured, they are often told that they have an injury at a given spinal cord level and are given a qualifier indicating the severity of injury, i.e. "complete" or "incomplete".  Traditionally, "complete" spinal cord injury means having no voluntary motor or conscious sensory function below the injury site.  My doctor diagnosed my injury level to be considered a C4-5 complete quadriplegic.  That means that my neck was broken at the fourth and fifth cervical vertebrae, causing complete spinal cord damage at that level. 

They may also be told that they are classified according to the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Classification, as an ASIA A, B, C, or D.  For more information about ASIA Classification,  Click here.

If you read the "Drinking & Driving" page on my website already, then you know that my spinal cord injury resulted from a car crash.  The reason I refer to it as "car crash" instead of "car accident" is for the simple reason that it wasn't an accident.  It could have been prevented!  Had my boyfriend and I not been drinking and had he  not made the wrong decision to drive while intoxicated, I would not have had to create this website (warning you of the dangers and consequences that drinking & driving can lead to) and my boyfriend would still be alive.

© 2006 thinkbeforeyoudrink.net