5 Types of physical disabilities affecting Kenyans

A physical disability is the long-term loss or impairment of part of a person’s body function, resulting in limited mobility or capacity. A person with a physical disability is constrained by his physical ability to perform an activity independently such as eating, walking, bathing, toileting etc.

There are many different causes of physical disabilities but they can include inherited or genetic disorders, serious illnesses and injury.

Types of physical disabilities

1. Brain injury

This refers to damage caused to the brain after birth. They can be caused through a wide range of factors including a blow to the head, stroke, alcohol or drugs, infection, disease such as AIDs or cancer, or a lack of oxygen.

A person with a brain injury may find that they are slower at processing information, planning, and solving problems. They may also experience changes to their behaviour and personality, physical and sensory abilities, or thinking and learning.

2. Spinal code injury

A spinal cord injury often causes a permanent physical disability. The spinal cord can become injured if too much pressure is applied and/or if the blood and oxygen supply to the spinal cord is cut. When the spinal cord has been damaged, it leads to a loss of function such as mobility or feeling.

A spinal cord injury may lead to paraplegia (loss of function below the chest) or quadriplegia (loss of function below the neck)

In addition to causing paralysis, a spinal cord injury may affect many areas of a person’s body – such as the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, bladder and bowel function, temperature, and sensory abilities.

3. Spina bifida

This is a birth defect in which a developing baby’s spinal cord fails to develop properly causing incomplete closing of the backbone and membranes around the spinal cord. There are 3 types of spina bifida, the most common location is the lower back, but in rare cases it may be the middle back or neck.

The effects of spina bifida vary enormously, depending on the type, the location of the cyst, and the severity of the condition. These include hydrocephalus, varying degrees of paralysis, loss of sensation of the lower limbs, malformations, and bowel and bladder incontinence etc

4. Cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a disorder that affects a child’s muscle tone, movement, and motor skills. It is caused by damage or abnormalities in the parts of the brain that are involved with movement and coordination. It is caused by brain damage that happens before or during a baby’s birth, or during the first 3-to-5 years of a child’s life.

Symptoms include exaggerated reflexes, floppy or rigid limbs and involuntary motions.

5. Muscular dystrophy

Muscular dystrophy is a term that refers to a group of muscle disorders in which the face, arm, leg, spine, or heart muscles gradually shrink and weaken over time.

There are 9 types of muscular dystrophy, with each type involving an eventual loss of strength, increasing disability, and possible deformity.


Are you or someone you know planning on travelling overseas for medical treatment for a chronic ailment e.g. cancer, knee or hip replacement, liver or kidney transplant; wellness checkup or to improve your form, shape or appearance through cosmetic procedures or reconstructive surgery?

Contact us on (+254) 0711 104 458, e-mail  or click here to request us to call you back