What causes brachial plexus injury?
Brachial plexus injury can arise when the nerves of the brachial plexus are compressed, stretched or cut. Compression of the brachial plexus nerves may occur due to inflammation or a tumor pressing on the nerve. Stretching may occur as the result of the shoulder’s being forced apart from the head and neck. In more severe cases, nerves may become severed from the spinal cord, generally as a result of a serious injury or surgery.
Common causes of brachial plexus injury
Often, brachial plexus injury is mild, and may be caused by:
- Brachial plexitis (inflammation of the brachial plexus for unknown cause)
- Cyst (benign sac that contains fluid, air, or other materials)
- Damage to the brachial plexus during birth
- Infection in the shoulder, arm or hand
- Inflammation in the shoulder, arm or hand
- Nerve injury
- Shoulder injury
Serious causes of brachial plexus injury
In serious cases of brachial plexus injury, the nerves may be cut from the spinal cord (a condition called avulsion) or become severely compressed. Causes of brachial plexus injury which may not resolve spontaneously include:
- Autoimmune inflammatory disorder
- Traumatic injury
What are the risk factors for brachial plexus injury?
A number of factors increase the risk of developing brachial plexus injury. Not all people with risk factors will get brachial plexus injury. Risk factors for brachial plexus injury include:
- Birth (difficult deliveries pose an increased risk for the baby)
- Family history of autoimmune inflammatory disorders
- Infection affecting the shoulder or arm
- Job that requires strenuous or repetitive use of the shoulders, arms and hands
- Participation in extreme sports
- Shoulder, arm or hand injury
- Spinal surgery
- Sports injuries
Reducing your risk of brachial plexus injury
You may be able to lower your risk of brachial plexus injury by:
- Avoiding repetitive or strenuous use of the shoulders, arms and hands
- Using appropriate protective gear when participating in sports
What is brachial plexus injury?
Brachial plexus injury refers to any damage to the brachial plexus, a set of nerves that runs between your spine and your shoulders, arms and hands. Damage to these nerves can result in abnormal sensations, numbness, tingling, or difficulty controlling the muscles of the shoulder, arm or hand.
Injury to the brachial plexus can be very mild, such as in the case of a stretch or compr... Read more about brachial plexus injuryintroduction
What are the symptoms of brachial plexus injury?
Symptoms of brachial plexus injury include problems with sensation and a lack of muscle control in the hand, arm and shoulder area. Generally, symptoms include pain, numbness, and difficulty moving.
Common symptoms of brachial plexus injuryCommon symptoms of brachial plexus injury occur in the shoulder, arm or hand. You may experience brachial plexus injury symptoms da... Read more about brachial plexus injurysymptoms
How is brachial plexus injury treated?
Mild brachial plexus injuries will often heal spontaneously. In cases in which the brachial plexus injury is related to another injury, inflammation or a growth, treatment of the underlying cause will often resolve the brachial plexus injury.
In serious cases of brachial plexus injury, surgery may be required to restore functionality. Physical therapy may also be helpful for resto... Read more about brachial plexus injurytreatments