When both the arms and legs of a person are paralyzed as they have a condition that is called quadriplegia.
The main cause of such a condition would be a very serious spinal injury but there are other conditions such as cerebral palsy and strokes that can cause a form of paralysis that is very similar.
The severity of the paralysis depends on what part of the spinal cord was injured and to what extend damage was done.
The spinal cord and the brain are the two main factors of the human nervous system that send messages throughout the body for performing various functions. When the spin cord is severely injured then it is no longer able to communicate with the brain and this is when a person can lose all sensation and ability to make movements.
The spinal cord is not the actually spine, the spine is made up of bones that protect the spinal cord, which is actually a nerve system that runs up the spine.
In the case of complete quadriplegia a person cannot move any part of the body below the neck, in some cases people cannot even move the neck.
In some lesser cases, people can move their arms, but cannot control hand movements, which means that they cannot grasp things and cannot perform normal everyday functions by themselves which makes them lose a lot of independence in their lives.
However, there are new treatment options that can help a person regain some of their hand functions.
There are numerous complications that are caused by the onset of quadriplegia.
For example, a person loses control of the bladder and bowel, because the spinal nerves that control these functions no longer communicate with the brain.
Without proper management of such complications, a person can develop a urinary tract infection.
In other instances, when a person is immobile for a long period of time, he or she can develop pressure sores, which are sometimes called bed sores, which result from sitting or lying down for extended periods of time without moving.
These sores can also cause serious problems if not taken care of especially if they become infected.
Blood clots can also occur, because quadriplegic people have much slower blood circulation.
Respiratory problems can also occur because the nerve signals that go to the chest and diaphragm can be weakened which will make breathing without the help of machines either very hard or even impossible.
People with quadriplegia can also experience muscle spasms that can cause the hand and leg muscles to jerk uncontrollably.