What dictates which region of the body becomes paralyzed?

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Like when you hear about somebody being paralyzed from the neck/waist down, what’s behind that? Also, why is it so commonly those two spots?

In: Biology
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Legs and arms are the obvious things when paralyzed.

It depends on where the damage is. The nerves for the arms won’t be damaged if you’re spine is severed in your lower back.

Arms also require some nerves to make it, like the heart and lungs, or else the damage is fatal and not just paralyzing.

The only simple way for me to put it is its usually down to damage to the Neck or Spine.

Which part of the neck or spine is damaged will be what determinds the location and how badly damaged it is will determined the extent of the paralysis.

For example you can break your neck but if the damage isn’t severe after surgery you can regain most movement, as is the case in a lot of Wrestlers even if their careers are shortened because of the injuries.

If you are paralyzed from the waist down its most likely because you had nerve damage in your back itself mainly lower back. For example if you were in a motorcycle accident and your lower back smashed against a tree or something. That could paralyze you waist down.

For neck down it would have to be nerve damage in your neck, n possibly upper back. But in your upper back there is a chance your arms will still work, or a arm. It all depends on where along the spine your nerve was damaged. An example of full body damage would be having your neck snapped just enough to cause it, or being hit In the back of the head or neck with a blunt object. Hope this helps

Nerves are like roadways. Small roads that connect up to big highways. If you sever a highway, you lose all the roads that it connects to. Your nerves bundle together as they grow in number and eventually that bundle links up to the spinal cord. The nerves have a few pathways to follow, but generally they either cross over at the spine or stay on the same side and cross in the base of the brain. This is important for paralysis because if you have a same side tract, then you lose damage to that side. If that bundle crosses at the spine, then you lost damage to the opposite side. The region that becomes paralyzed is not a direct alignment to the region of your spine. For instance, your hand is a good example. Your pinkey and ring finger have sensation provided by a nerve that exits in your neck, not your back. Your entire arm is actually supplied by a nerve bundle that begins almost right under your jaw.

It depends on where along a spinal cord one is injured. The higher up, the greater risk of more paralysis. So an injury in the neck could mean full paralysis while an injury in the lower back, below the arms, would mean leg paralysis.