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A quick guide to Brachial Plexus Injury

When you grab a pan that is too hot to hold, your brachial plexus is one to tell you about it. While minor injuries to your brachial plexus can heal easily, severe injuries can leave you paralyzed. However, getting the best treatment and rehabilitation from world-renowned neurologist Dr Na’eem Sadiq can help you recover as soon as possible.
A quick guide to Brachial Plexus Injury
Decoding Brachial Plexus Injury

Decoding Brachial Plexus Injury

The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves that stems from nerve roots in the neck and torso. It controls the motions of your wrists, hands, and arms, allowing you to raise your arm, type on your keyboard, or even throw a baseball. Brachial Plexus Injury occurs when these nerves are stretched, compressed, or in the most serious cases, ripped apart or torn away from the spinal cord.

Symptoms of Brachial Plexus Injury

Depending on the severity and location of the Brachial Plexus Injury, the signs and symptoms can vary greatly.

Minor injuries

Often brachial plexus nerves get stretched or compressed due to minor damages in contact sports, such as football or wrestling. These are called stingers or burners that exhibit symptoms such as burning sensation, numbness, and weakness in the affected area.

Major injuries

Serious Brachial Plexus Injury occurs when the nerve root is torn from the spinal cord. Symptoms for such major injuries include weakness or inability to use certain muscles in your hand, arm, or shoulder along with severe pain.

Common symptoms of Brachial Plexus Injury are:

  • Loss of feeling in the arm
  • Partial or total paralysis of the arm
  • Weakness in the arms
  • Numbness in arms
  • Limited motion of the arm

Types of Brachial Plexus Injury

Injury to the brachial plexus is fairly common during a trauma like a road traffic accident and during birth since the nerves in the shoulders are quite vulnerable during  a delivery. The injury generally takes one of two forms:

The brachial plexus is a group of five nerves that connect the spine to the arm and hand. These nerves allow your shoulder, arms, and hands to feel and move. Injury of the upper brachial plexus nerves results in Erb’s Palsy. It causes numbness and loss of motion around the shoulder and an inability to flex the elbow, lift an arm, or bring objects to the mouth.
It is a less common injury that affects the lower brachial plexus, leading to loss of motion and/or sensation in the wrist and hand, such as being unable to move fingers.

Treatments for Brachial Plexus Injury

Depending on the severity of the injury, some patients with Brachial Plexus Injury recover spontaneously, while most regain their normal function through stem cell therapy, physical and occupational therapy. Another group with more severe injuries will require surgical intervention to achieve better functioning. Getting the right form of rehabilitation can enhance independence and improve quality of life even after the Brachial Plexus Injury. A regenerative rehabilitation program usually comprises of:

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy focuses on improving the strength of affected muscles, relieving pain, and improving muscle tone and sensory awareness of the extremity. Physiotherapists provide exercises that help in restoring function in the arms and hands, improve joint range of motion and flexibility. Direct current stimulation, bracing, therapeutic exercises, and biofeedback are used to maximize the functioning of the affected upper extremity.

Occupational Therapy

The goal of Occupational Therapy is to enhance daily life skills like eating, dressing and cooking in cases that involve severe muscle weakness, numbness, and pain. It consists of a number of treatment approaches that help to improve the functioning of the affected area. These include muscle re-education and retraining therapy, sensory re-education therapy, mirror therapy, hand function training, ADL training, hand splinting, and improvement of play skills in children.

Our treatment program at Plexus

At Plexus Neuro and Stem Cell Research Center, our Stem Cell Therapy has yielded promising results for the treatment of Brachial Plexus Injury. Dr Na’eem Sadiq and his experienced team extract and administer stem cells taken from the bone marrow. The regenerative properties of the stem cells help in repairing the damage caused due to traction or tear.

We also provide a customized intensive rehabilitation program for Brachial Plexus Injury, consisting of key therapies such as Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy. Our team performs sensory re-education therapy to help you retrain your sensory pathways, adapt to changed abilities, and regain function.

Additionally, Plexus has an in-house splinting facility which is one of its kind. Since with Brachial Plexus Injury, you are often at a high risk of developing contractures that can turn into fixed deformities with time. With splints, we help you prevent and correct these contractures and also help in improving the functioning of weak muscles.

What our patients say

FAQs answered

OBPI is  an injury in the newborns, where the brachial plexus gets damaged during labour and delivery leading to flaccid paralysis of the affected limb.

Pulling on the baby’s head and neck as the shoulders pass through the birth canal or pulling the baby’s head, neck, or shoulders during a head-first delivery are some of the most common causes of this birth injury.

Apart from birth injuries the most common causes include trauma , accidents, fractures and dislocation of the shoulder joint. The common symptoms are a lack of feeling or control in the arm, shoulder, or hand. In more severe cases, the limb may be partly or totally paralyzed.

A splint is an effective part of the treatment for BPI. It is used to reduce tightness,  improve range of motion and improve functions  of the affected joints and muscles. There are many different kinds of splints for different causes, and each type has its own use. For example, one patient might need a splint that stabilizes the elbow while another might have one that gives stability at the shoulder for functional use of the hand.

A comprehensive  treatment plan, including stem cell therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and the use of splints, can greatly aid the patient’s  recovery.

Recovery after a birth Brachial Plexus injury largely depends on the extent of damage, the age of the  child and the time elapsed post the injury. Many children with OBPI gain complete recovery  if timely intervention is given.

Don’t let Brachial Plexus Injury affect your daily life

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