An automobile collision or other serious accident could cause damage to the brain or spinal cord. If the trauma is severe enough, it could result in paralysis.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, paralysis occurs due to a disruption in the chain of nerves that sends signals back and forth between the brain and a particular muscle or group of muscles. As a result of the nerve damage, the patient no longer has control over the muscle, which often becomes weak. Paralysis can occur to different degrees, and there are several different types.
Localized versus generalized
Localized paralysis affects only a small area, such as the vocal cords or the face. Generalized paralysis affects multiple areas of the body. Two types of generalized paralysis likely to result from trauma to the spinal cord from a car accident are paraplegia, which affects the lower body, and quadriplegia, which affects both arms and legs.
Complete versus partial
Complete paralysis occurs when the patient has no control over the affected muscles at all. Partial paralysis allows the patient to retain at least some control over the muscles. Another name for this is paresis, and it results in decreased function and range of motion. Paresis may occur due to damage to nerve tissue that does not sever it completely.
Permanent versus temporary
Depending on what caused the paralysis, it may persist for only a short time before feeling and muscle control return. However, if the damage is too severe to heal, the paralysis persists for the rest of the individual’s life.
There are many possible causes of paralysis. Trauma, such as may occur due to a car accident, is one of the most common.