Spinal Cord Injury Levels

Interact with the spine and vertebrae below to learn more.

Spinal Cord Injury Levels

Cervical

C1-C4
Paralysis in arms, hands, trunk and legs. Patient may not be able to breathe on their own and ability to speak is sometimes impaired or reduced. Requires complete assistance with activities of daily living, such as eating, dressing, bathing and getting in or out of bed.
C5-C6
Paralysis in wrists, hands, trunk and legs. Patient can raise their arms and bend elbows. Can speak and use diaphragm, but breathing will be weakened. Will need assistance with most activities of daily living, but once in a power wheelchair, can move around independently.

C7-C8

Paralysis in hands, trunk and legs. Has elbow extension and some hand movement. May be able to grasp and release objects. Most can straighten their arm and have normal movement of their shoulders. Independent with most activities of daily living, but may need assistance with more difficult tasks.

Thoracic

T1-T5
Paralysis in trunk and legs. Injuries usually affect the chest, abdominal, mid-back muscles, and the legs. Have normal arm, hand and upper-body movement. Independent with most activities of daily living. Typically use a manual wheelchair.
T6-T12
Paralysis in trunk and legs. Injuries usually affect the abdominal, lower back muscles, and the legs. Have normal arm, hand and upper-body movement. Independent with most activities of daily living. Typically use a manual wheelchair.

Lumbar

L1-L5
Injuries generally result in some loss of function in the hips and legs. Depending on strength in the legs, the inured person may need a wheelchair and may also walk with braces.

Sacral

S1-S5
Injuries generally result in some loss of function in the hips and legs. People with a sacral spinal cord injury will most likely be able to walk.

Coccyx

Injuries generally result in some loss of function in the hips and legs. People with a sacral spinal cord injury will most likely be able to walk.
Facts Iceberg Img@2x

The inability to walk is just the tip of the iceberg
for those with SCI

Spasms
Pressure sores
Loss of sexual function
Inability to feel hot or cold
Loss of bladder and bowel function
50% loss of breathing capacity
Psychological battle
Loss of independence... even cleaning own teeth!
Constant 24-hour neuropathic pain

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