Brachial plexus injuries occur when the network of nerves which send signals from the spine to the shoulder, hand and arm is damaged. These nerves serve the muscles in your shoulder, elbow, wrist and hands and give the arms their feeling. These injuries may be caused by shoulder trauma, tumours or inflammation and can result in paralysis or lack of muscle control or feeling.
Injuries to the Brachial plexus are common in high velocity road collisions involving motorcyclists because of heavy impacts to the shoulder with the road or with other vehicles.
The most severe brachial plexus injury (avulsion) results in the nerves being torn from the spine, but the most common is Neuropraxia, or ‘stretch’ injury, where the nerve is damaged but not torn. Brachial plexus injuries can also be a birth injury caused when the baby’s shoulder is stretched during its passage down the birth canal – this is known as Erb’s Palsy (Erb-Duchenne Palsy).
Although many brachial plexus injuries may heal without treatment (or improve with age in the case of infants) for most injuries, physical therapy or surgery will be necessary. Unfortunately, for the most severe injuries, there may be little or no chance of a full recovery.
Phrenic nerve damage can result in impairment of respiratory function. In such cases multiple medical experts may be involved in the management, treatment and reporting of the injury, including Neurologists, Neuro-Surgeons and Respiratory Surgeons.
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If you think you have a case for a brachial plexus injury claim, call us now on 0800 316 8892 or contact us online.