Spinal Cord Injury Levels - Functionality of T1 - T4 Paraplegic

Spinal Injury Level Sections

C1 - C3 : C4 : C5 : C6 : C7 - C8 : T1 - T4 : T5 - T9 : T10 - L1 : L2 - S5

Mobility & Movement

A T1-T4 paraplegic will have the full use of the arms and varying strength of the chest muscles and upper back muscles depending on the level of injury. The stability of the trunk will increase the lower the level of spinal cord injury.

Sympathetic nervous system may be compromised, possibility of autonomic dysreflexia.

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 into car.

Ability to feed self independently during mealtimes.

Respiratory System

Ability to breathe normal, although respiration capacity and endurance may be compromised.

Personal Care

Should be independent in personal care as long as no other factors are involved, ie, additional injuries, severe spasticity etc.

Domestic Care

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.