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Brachial plexus injuries

  • What is a brachial plexus injury?

    The brachial plexus is a group of nerves that connect to your spinal column at your neck. These nerves control the movement of your arms.   

    An injury to the nerves of the brachial plexus affects muscles in the shoulder, arm, wrist and hand. Brachial plexus injuries vary, depending on where or what nerve roots were injured.  

    Children with this injury may demonstrate poor muscle coordination, decreased strength, altered feeling and sensation or paralyzed movement in their affected arm.  

    Brachial plexus injuries may also be called Erb’s Palsy, Klumpke’s Palsy, Brachial Plexus Palsy, Erb-Duchenne’s Palsy, Horner’s Syndrome or shoulder dystocia.  

    What causes brachial plexus injuries?  

    These injuries are the result of stretching, tearing or trauma to this group of nerves. Brachial plexus injuries often occur during the birthing process.

    What Courage Kenny Kids can do

    It is important that your child begin therapy services as soon as possible to prevent his or her arm from becoming stiff or difficult to move.  

    At Courage Kenny Kids, our pediatric occupational therapists will teach you specific positioning and handling of your child to protect him or her from any further injury and promote healing. The therapist also will teach you gentle stretching exercises to keep your child’s arm from becoming stiff or difficult to move.  

    As your child’s therapy progresses, you will also learn playful activities to increase your child’s strength and awareness of his or her arm.

    What can I do at home?

    At home, you can:

    • Learn about your child’s injury and let others know the best way to hold, move and encourage awareness of your child’s injured arm(s).     
    • Increase your child’s awareness of his or her arm through gentle touch, lotion massage and water play during bath time.
    • Avoid lifting your child from under the arms, which will prevent further injury.
    • Do the exercises recommended by your therapist.

    Back to Courage Kenny Kids services

  • Source: Courage Kenny Kids
    Reviewed by: Sara Rohde, OTR/L, manager, Courage Kenny Kids
    First published: 09/17/2015
    Last reviewed: 09/16/2015

  • Contact Courage Kenny Kids

    A referral is needed from your child's health care provider before therapy can begin. Once your doctor has referred you to the Courage Kenny Kids rehabilitation program, contact one of these locations.

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