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Paralysis Symptoms & Diagnosis

Symptoms

Symptoms will depend on how much of the spinal cord is involved. By definition, paraplegia only occurs in people who have lower spinal cord involvement. Symptoms include:

  • Loss of movement or muscle control in the legs, feet, toes, or trunk
  • Loss of sensation in the legs, feet, toes, or trunk
  • Tingling in the legs, feet, toes, or trunk
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control
  • Sexual dysfunction

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam.

Most often, neurosurgeons, orthopedists and neurologists are involved in diagnosis after a paralytic injury has occurred.

Tests may include the following:

  • CT scan —a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the body, in this case the head or spine
  • MRI scan —a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the body, in this case the head or spine
  • Myelography —a type of x-ray that uses an injection of a contrast medium to view the spinal cord
  • Blood tests, including complete blood count (CBC)
  • Evoked potential nerve tests
  • Lumbar puncture to obtain spinal fluid for diagnostic testing

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2022 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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