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The brachial plexus is a system of nerves which carries signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm and hand. Brachial plexus injuries happen most frequently due to the shoulder being pressed in one direction while the head is pushed in another. This can cause the nerves to become torn or stretched. Stretched brachial plexus injuries are by far the most common. An injury to the brachial plexus may cause numbness, pain, limited movement, and even paralysis. It is not uncommon for this type of injury to occur during birth if the baby’s shoulder becomes twisted or impacted. Injuries to the brachial plexus occur frequently in sports and other activities which may become violent. A minor brachial plexus injury may not require medical treatment, however, if severe, surgery may become necessary. If the brachial plexus becomes torn it can often cause a stinging or burning sensation which travels down the entire arm. This may be followed by a numb sensation. The duration of these symptoms may last anywhere from a few seconds to a number of days.
Brachial Plexus Injuries
In the most serious of cases, the nerve itself is torn from the spinal cord. Symptoms of brachial plexus tear or rupture may include:
Paralysis in your arm
Lack of motion in arm but able to move fingers
A number of tests may be required in order to diagnose the severity of the brachial plexus injury. Treatment for brachial plexus injuries may include occupational therapy, physical therapy, and if necessary, surgery. Infants which do not recover naturally usually require surgery if marked improvement is not made within a six month period.
Contact the Contact the Chapman Neurosurgical Spine Institute today if you or a loved one has a Brachial Plexus Injury.