Man in wheelchair

What Are the Levels of Paralysis?

A common misconception about paralysis is the inability to move, feel, or control bodily functions. However, the real meaning of paralysis is a bit more nuanced. Paralysis can come in many forms and the extent of the injury can vary and change over time. Sometimes, physical therapy, better health choices, and good fortune can change how a body responds to the damage. In this blog, our personal injury attorneys will discuss the common causes and types of paralysis.

What is Paralysis?

In most cases, paralysis is caused by nerve damage instead of an injury to the affected body region. If the spinal cord is injured, there is a high possibility the function below the injury can lose sensation, even though the actual limbs are healthy. Since the spinal cord is the brain’s relay system to the entire body, it cannot effectively send signals necessary for its intended function if part of it is injured.

Common Causes of Paralysis

Types of Paralysis


Monoplegia can limit function to a single limb or even muscle. People affected can still perform daily tasks and work around their condition. The leading cause of monoplegia is cerebral palsy. However, other injuries and illnesses can also cause this form of paralysis. This form can be temporary or permanent and is commonly caused by a stroke or brain injury. The nerves affected are not severely damaged and can be possible to regain function through physical therapy.


  • Strokes
  • Tumors
  • Motor neuron damage
  • Brain injuries


Paraplegia means the body is affected by paralysis below the waist. Both legs, hips, and other functions below the waist usually lose the ability to function correctly. The severity of this paralysis varies from person to person; where some will not be able to move their legs or feel anything below the waist, and some can. People rarely recover from this form of paralysis.


  • Brain tumors
  • Brain oxygen deprivation
  • Spinal cord infections
  • Spinal cord lesions
  • Medical malpractice


Quadriplegia is paralysis below the neck. Also known as tetraplegia, this form of paralysis affects all four limbs and the torso. Though the degree of this disability will vary from person to person, some can regain partial or complete function by slowly retraining their brain and body through physical therapy and exercise.


  • Car accidents
  • Contact sports accidents
  • Falls
  • Brain injury
  • Anaphylactic shock
  • Anesthesia-related accidents
  • Drug or alcohol overdose
  • Allergic reaction to drugs

If you or a loved one has been affected by paralysis due to the negligence of another, our team of attorneys at The Shellist Law Firm, PLLC is eager to offer you a free consultation and see how we can help get you what you deserve. Call us at (713) 999-6855 or contact us online today.