Brachial Plexus Injury Symptoms

The Milder Symptoms

When this injury occurs, your child might lose sensation in the hands or the shoulders. A minor loss of motion may also be present. With conditions like Erb’s palsy, it will have a negative impact on one arm or one side of the body. Milder symptoms typically will not last as long compared to more serious brachial plexus injury symptoms will last. Your child might feel a burning sensation or something that resembles electric shock. As the sensation travels down the fingers, you might feel this stinging sensation. The child’s arms might also feel weak.

If your child is diagnosed with neuropraxia, the symptoms of this birth disorder will typically go away after some time.

Severe Symptoms

Severe symptoms could indicate that your child has suffered a more serious injury. What your child experiences will largely depend on the extent of nerve damage that occurred. In addition, it varies from one person to the next because, while some will be significant, other cases will not carry the same level of severity. Intense pain, muscle weakness, Erb’s palsy, Klumpke’s palsy, and muscle paralysis are all some of the more severe symptoms that your child might suffer. Horner’s Syndrome is another condition where the child will have one drooping eyelid and the other pupil will be constricted. When your child suffers a more severe case, avulsion pain can develop; where the pain will be centered in the area with the most severe nerve damage.

Additional severe symptoms that your child may experience with this birth injury include:

  • loss of control of arms, wrists, or hands.
  • loss of feeling in the arms wrists or hands
  • One arm hanging limply from the body

This condition generally occurs to one out of every 1,000 infants. Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy have many similarities to cerebral palsy where the child might experience paralysis of the body as a result. However, brachial plexus injuries tend to go away after a while, whereas cerebral palsy remains for a lifetime. Some brachial plexus injuries will last a lifetime if they are serious enough.  Fortunately, in many cases, treatment can help manage the problem. There are different ways that doctors will diagnose this problem, often ordering imaging such as an MRI or a CT scan.

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Elena Amato Borrelli, Expert

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