Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What is a Spastic Quadriplegic

What is a Spastic Quadriplegic?

A Spastic quadriplegic is a condition that causes quads and other paralyzed individuals to become what is knows as "Spastic".  My father would get into fits of "spastic" episodes all the time, daily in fact.  From my experience working very close with my father daily, weekly, monthly, year after year and becoming very close to so many quad's, this is something that quadriplegics share.  You may also hear this as a spastic tetraplegia condition, this is the same thing, just a different medical term.

Literally a Spastic Quadriplegic becomes "spastic" where specifically all limbs (feet and arms) as well as the entire body in some cases, looks as though they are seizing.  The body is shaking or trembling, depending on the level of spastic quadriplegia the patient may have.  Some patients may see that there is only one side or one half of their body that is effected which is more like Spastic Triplegia (3 lims involved, 1 leg, both arms or 1 arm, both legs), Spastic Hemiplegia (affecting only one half of the body, either the entire left or right side, but not both), or Spastic Monoplegia (affecting only one limb, either just one arm, or just one leg).

My father was a Spastic Quadriplegic and it was very difficult to watch as the treatment is so hit or miss.  In 1999 when he became a quad, there was a new drug out that he started in on, it kept things in line, his spastic quadriplegia down, and it seemed as though he might turn into an upside down quad.  Just as he began to start to walk, while not having much of any movement in the arms, the medicine failed to work and he became very rigid due to the spastic quadriplegia, and this is when the condition became very painful.  This is also when he began his treatment of a series of what seemed to be 10 drug combination to combat the problem.

The frustrating part is that it is painful.  Think of a charlie horse and how hard that is to get rid of and how painful that can be.  If a quad is spastic enough, then these bouts can be very intense and very painful and there is nothing you can do to fix the issue as it is happening, just as in a seizure, you have to let it pass.  The onset is strange as well.  It might be a sneeze or a cough, a nerve or muscle twitch, or in transporting/shifting the quad a muscle movement gone wrong.

My father was always a trooper.  He never complained - well, at least to me - even when our conversations would lead to tears of longing for a different life.  He worked through each spastic bout and was never stopped completely by being a spastic quadriplegic.

For more information on the difficulty in tracking, medicating and resolving spastic quadriplegia:


  1. hi my dad was a paraplegic later a quad. i was a problem child and my dad never complained or even admitted he was a paraplegic and needed help, he did it all alone until he went into a home. i feel so gulty i was young when he became a para and i did not see him as a para he was just my dad, i feel so guilty i had my problem child issues got my life togather for ten years and then went threw a divorce and went back to problem child right before his death. i tried to help him in the good ten years and did but when he died we were fighting because he was worried about me, i now have so much guilt because i realize he did it all alone because he was stuborn but i was very mixed up. I wish it could have been a blessing growing up, i did not fully understand or maybe care he was so needy we fought alot growing up, it was hard and now i feel so bad for him, thanks for letting me vent

    1. Anonymous, thank you for sharing. It is very tough to go through these issues. You feel guilty because you can't help enough, or if you feel hurt by you don't feel like it is fair to complain and at the core if it all this is your dad.

      That's the purpose of this page...understanding what everyone is going through. I hope to hear from you more.