An injury to the brachial plexus, the network of nerves that conduct signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm and hand, can lead to a loss of function in the shoulder, arm or wrist. Most of the time, the injury will not heal on its own and will require surgery. Despite surgery, some injuries may not ever heal.
The brachial plexus is a group of nerves that originate in the neck and travel down the arm. These nerves control the muscles in the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand and provide feeling in the arm.
“This is an injury sustained to the neck and shoulder area that often times can leave a patient debilitated in their function of that limb,” says Michael D. Riggenbach, M.D. “They may lose complete function of their arm wrist and shoulder or only certain parts of that limb.”
These nerves can become damaged by stretching, pressure,cutting, blunt trauma, compression or inflammatory processes.
Symptoms of brachial plexus injury include:
- A limp or paralyzed arm
- Lack of muscle control in the arm, hand or wrist
- Lack of feeling or sensation in the arm or hand