Brachial Plexus Injury Affecting the Arm & Hand (Part 1)
If you are experiencing an electric shock or a burning sensation shooting down your arm, it may be the result of a brachial plexus injury. Numbness and weakness in the arm can also be caused by a brachial plexus injury.
The network of nerves that sends signals from your spinal cord out to your shoulder, arm and hand is called the brachial plexus. When these nerves are damaged in some way – stretched, compressed, or torn away from the spinal cord – the result is burning and weakness in the affected areas.
Causes of Brachial Plexus Injuries
Many types of trauma or contact can cause brachial plexus injuries. This type of nerve injury is quite common in contact sports, especially football. During a collision during a contact sports, the nerves in the brachial plexus can get stretched beyond their limit.
Babies, also, occasionally suffer brachial plexus injuries during delivery. When childbirth involves high birth weight, breech position or prolonged labor, the likelihood of a brachial plexus injury increases. Should a baby’s shoulders become wedged in the birth canal, there is an increased risk of palsy due to a brachial plexus – a condition known as Erb’s Palsy.
Inflammation can also result in brachial plexus problems, as can tumors and certain cancers. When a growth puts pressure on the brachial plexus it can spread or damage the nerves. And, certain radiation treatments to the chest may also cause damage to the nerves in the brachial plexus.
More severe brachial plexus injuries are typically caused by high impact accidents, such as car or motorcycle accidents. Severe brachial plexus injuries are also sometimes seen in skiing accidents or from bullet wounds.
Symptoms Brachial Plexus Injuries
Brachial plexus injuries are sometimes called “stingers” or “burners” due to the characteristic burning nerve pain that they can cause. The sensation has been compared to an electric shock shooting down the arm. The shooting pain may last only a few seconds, a few minutes – or persist for days.
Severe brachial plexus injuries can also leave a patient’s arm completely paralyzed, often with a partial or total loss of sensation or use. Surgical procedures such as nerve grafts, nerve transfers or muscle transfers can help restore function.
The symptoms of a brachial plexus injury can vary quite a bit, depending upon the location as well as the severity of the nerve damage. However, typically, only one arm is affected by a brachial plexus injury.
If you are suffering from an injury or pain in your fingers, wrist, elbow or arm, contact board certified Detroit area hand surgeon Doctor Rehman for a comprehensive evaluation and consultation. Your hands are vitally important to everything you do. Rapid detection, diagnosis, and treatment is the most effective way to ensure you heal completely, and do not suffer long term consequences.
Doctor Rehman will assess your individual condition, and offer the best state-of-the-art treatments that are best for your hand injury or illness.