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How brachial plexus injury can affect your health?

Brachial plexus injury


The brachial plexus is a complex network of nerves between the neck and shoulders. These nerves control the muscle function of the chest, shoulders, arms, hands, and sensations of the upper limbs.

Mild brachial plexus injuries, known as stingers or burners, are common in contact sports such as football. Babies can suffer brachial plexus damage during birth. Other conditions such as inflammation and tumors can affect the brachial plexus.



The signs and symptoms of a brachial plexus injury vary greatly depending on the severity and location of the damage. Usually, only one arm is affected.

Minor injury

Minor injuries usually occur when the brachial plexus nerves are stretched or compressed during contact sports such as football or wrestling. These are called stingers or burners and can cause the following symptoms:

  • An electric shock or burning sensation that pulls your arm down
  • Numbness and weakness in the arms

More serious injury

More severe symptoms result from injuries that severely damage, tear, or tear the nerves. The most severe brachial plexus injury occurs when the nerve root is severed from the spinal cord.

Signs and symptoms of more severe injuries include:

  • Certain unusable or weakened muscles in the hands, arms, or shoulders
  • Complete lack of movement and feeling in the arms, including the shoulders and hands


Treatment depends on several factors, including the severity of the injury, the type of injury, the time since the damage, and other existing conditions.

Nerves that have just been stretched may heal without further treatment.

Doctors may recommend physiotherapy to help joints and muscles function properly, maintain range of motion, and prevent joint stiffness.

Surgery to repair the brachial plexus nerve should usually be done within six months of injury. The success rate of surgeries performed after that is lower.

Nervous tissue grows slowly, and it may take years to understand the effects of surgery fully. During the recovery period, the exercise program should keep the joints flexible. Sprints can be used to prevent your hands from bending inward.

At NYU Langone’s Center for Brachial Plexus Injuries, our experts work together to provide advanced treatment for adults and children who have a brachial plexus injury. You can read about it on Nyulangone.org

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