What is it?

Quadriparesis is a muscle weakness in all four limbs, with diminished mobility which can be temporary or permanent. In quadriparesis, there is sensation in all limbs. It is the result of an interruption to nerve signaling from the brain to the body, due to damage or a congenital condition that affects the spinal cord. Causes for quadriparesis may include infections like polio, drugs, toxins, neuromuscular diseases, electrolyte disturbances, and some medical conditions or injuries that lead to spinal cord damage. The prognosis depends on the underlying cause and the extent of the injury, in some cases the paresis is reversible.
Quadriplegia is a full paralysis or inability to move four limbs and the torso, after suffering damage to the cervical spine. The higher the injury is, the more extensive the damage will be. Common causes for quadriplegia are injuries to the spine, traumatic brain injury, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), muscular dystrophy and more. There could be complications to quadriplegia such as venous thromboembolism, bedsores, urinary tract infections, depression and more.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Tetraparesis
- Tetraplegia

Signs & symptoms

Quadriparesis symptoms depend on the severity and the degree of the injury. It may include muscle limpness, and lack of strength in the muscles. In other cases, it could be muscle stiffness and tightness. Loss of motor control, difficulty walking, loss of bladder control, and reflexes depression. Quadriplegia symptoms may include numbness and loss of sensation in the arms and legs, paralysis of the arms and legs, urinary retention, bowe dysfunction, difficulty breathing and inability to sit upright.

Diagnosis

Quadriparesis and quadriplegia are diagnosed by reviewing symptoms and physical examination. Other tests may include a brine and spine MRI scan, electromyography, nerve conduction studies, blood tests to look for vitamin deficiencies, diabetes, and electrolyte imbalances and lumbar puncture to look for CNS infection.

Treatment

Quadriparesis and quadriplegia treatment depends on the underlying cause. Treatments include surgery, muscle relaxants, pain medications,urinary catheterization, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy mobility aids and other devices.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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