Brachial Plexus Palsy
Upon damage to the nerves in the brachial plexus, signals are unable to travel in the manner in which they usually do from the brain to the muscles in the arm. Therefore, some or all of a child’s arm muscles could stop working. When the shoulder and elbow muscles are the only muscles that are affected, this condition is known as Erb’s palsy. When all of the arm, hand and wrist muscles are affected, it is called total plexus palsy.
Usually, brachial plexus palsy occurs because of a stretch injury to the child’s head, neck and shoulder. Such an injury can take place during birth, particularly when the birth is challenging or complicated. There are times when a child’s shoulder will become fastened against the mother’s pelvis. This can cause a stretch injury during delivery of the child. Brachial plexus palsy can also take place in older children due to an injury in which the neck and shoulder become stretched.
Several children who are afflicted with brachial plexus palsy are able to recuperate on their own. However, if the condition is not entirely cured within one month, it generally has long-term effects. Thus, parents are advised to have their child evaluated one month following the birth or injury if there has not been a full recovery. In the event that the child requires treatment, it is imperative that such treatment is administered early, and that the child undergoes therapy on a continuous basis.