The body’s nerves are the communication system that carries messages between the brain and the rest of the body. Some nerves transmit messages from the brain to muscles to make the body move, while others relay pain, pressure, or temperature signals. Tiny fibers bundled inside each nerve carry the messages with an outer layer/sheathing that insulates and protects the nerves. The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that send signals from the spinal cord to the shoulders, arms, and hands. A brachial plexus nerve injury occurs when the nerves are over-stretched, compressed, torn, cut, or ripped from the spinal cord.
The injury involves the head or neck hitting or getting hit and shifting to one side while the shoulder is stretched/pulled in the opposite direction.
Signs and symptoms of a brachial plexus nerve injury can vary, depending on the severity and location of the injury. Usually, only one arm is affected.
Minor damage comes from over-stretching or mild compression.
More-severe symptoms result from injuries that impact, tear, or rupture the nerves.
With time, most brachial plexus injuries in children and adults heal with minimal long-term damage. But some injuries can cause long-lasting problems that include:
Treatment depends on the severity of the damage. Chiropractic can help realign, rehabilitate, stretch, and strengthen the muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, and ligaments to expedite recovery. For less severe injuries:
For severe injuries:
Brucker, J et al. “Brachial plexus birth injury.” The Journal of neuroscience nursing: Journal of the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses vol. 23,6 (1991): 374-80. doi:10.1097/01376517-199112000-00006
Gutkowska, Olga, et al. “Brachial plexus injury after shoulder dislocation: a literature review.” Neurosurgical review vol. 43,2 (2020): 407-423. doi:10.1007/s10143-018-1001-x
Joyner, Benny, et al. “Brachial plexus injury.” Pediatrics in review vol. 27,6 (2006): 238-9. doi:10.1542/pir.27-6-238
Noland, Shelley S et al. “Adult Traumatic Brachial Plexus Injuries.” The Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons vol. 27,19 (2019): 705-716. doi:10.5435/JAAOS-D-18-00433
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