Spinal Cord Injury Levels - Functionality of T5 - T9 Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal Injury Level Sections

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

Mobility & Movement

A T5-T9 paraplegic would have good upper body strength with varying stability depending on the level of injury, but the lower the level, the stronger the upper body strength and balance.

A manual wheelchair may be used for everyday living, with the ability to go over uneven ground.

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.

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.