What is the difference between paraplegic and quadriplegic?

October 19, 2015 | 3:04 pm | By Pants Up Easy

The human body is in an unbelievably complex organism, with countless interconnected pieces working together in unison. That’s how it’s able to adjust and recover from illness and injury. However, it also means there are thousands of ways something can go wrong within the system. And to help us differentiate between these problems, we have to assign them names. And the more obscure the problem, the crazier the name gets.

For instance: are you familiar with the term T9 Complete? It is a synonym of paraplegic, and yet I bet there are paraplegics out there who have never heard it. That’s understandable, because it’s a weirdly technical term. T9 is the name of a vertebrae in the lower section of the spine, and when your body becomes completely paralyzed below this vertebrae, you are considered to have a T9 complete injury. So in order to explain to a stranger what a T9 Complete is, you have to give them that entire explanation. Sounds fun, doesn’t it? That’s why we have much simpler words like paraplegic.

Speaking of simple…

I’m going to make it easy for you to remember what both paraplegic and quadriplegic mean. Let’s start by defining them clearly, with definitions provided by website Apparelyzed:

Paraplegic: A person who has “complete paralysis of the lower half of the body including both legs, usually caused by damage to the spinal cord.”

Quadriplegic: “A person who is paralyzed in both arms and both legs.”

An easy way to never forget

I’m a big fan of using hints and tricks to jog my memory – there’s just not enough room to easily remember everything. So recall that a quadriplegic has lost the use of all four limbs, with quad=four. And a paraplegic has lost the use of a pair of limbs.

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