What is a Paraplegia? Paraplegia results when an injury to the spinal cord is below the first thoracic spinal nerve. Persons with this type of spinal cord injury are considered paralyzed from the chest, or waist down because they have full strength and dexterity in their hands and arms, but no function or sensation from the waist down. Learn More
Typical abilities of persons with Paraplegia: Almost all Paraplegics will use a manual wheelchair unless there are other complications such as worn-out shoulders due to age and many years pushing a manual wheelchair. Consequently power assist device for longer distances such as the Firefly electric hand cycle can reduce the loss of shoulder function due to age and use. Around the age of 50, depending on length of time in wheelchair, many will begin to be candidates for a power wheelchair.
Typical disabilities: In reality, the spinal cord injury could be anywhere from T1 to S2. A thoracic level injury will have sensation limited from as high as the nipples down. Someone with a low sacral injury, commonly referred to as a walking paraplegic, may actually be able to walk but have no control of bladder, bowel, or sexual function.