Spinal Cord Injury Levels - Functionality of T1 - T4 Paraplegic
Mobility & Movement
Full head and neck movement with normal muscle
strength. Normal shoulder movement. Full use of arms, wrists
Complete paralysis of lower body and legs.
Upper body strength will vary depending on level of injury,
but the lower the level, the stronger the upper body strength
A T4 injured person will have good strength
in the chest muscles, however this will get progressively
weaker the higher up the injury.
Sympathetic nervous system may be compromised,
possibility of Autonomic Dysreflexia.
May use an electric wheelchair for long distance
independent travel or uneven outdoor surfaces. A manual wheelchair
may be used for everyday living, with the ability to go over
uneven ground for short distances.
Ability to transfer independently
from bed to chair, and chair to car. Car transfers may need
assistance depending on upper body strength.
Ability to drive a car adapted
with hand controls. Assistance may be required to load wheelchair
Ability to feed self independently
Ability to breathe normal, although
respiration capacity and endurance may be compromised.
Should be independent in personal
care as long as no other factors are involved, ie, additional
injuries, severe spasticity etc.
Partial domestic assistance is
required, such as heavy household cleaning and home maintenance.
Ability to prepare complex meals
and general household duties independently.
Normal communication skills apply.
The above functionality guide is only a general guide. Abilities will vary depending on the persons weight, existing medical conditions and age.