Erb’s Palsy

Erb’s Palsy

How Do You Know When Your Child Has This Condition?

Typically, your child will display Erb’s palsy if the brachial plexus nerves at the shoulder were damaged. You will know that your child has damaged brachial plexus nerves if his arms function weakly, or he tends to favor one arm over the other. Also, other symptoms that highlight your child has this birth injury include:

  • Partial or total paralysis in one arm
  • Decreased grip strength in the hand
  • Numbness in the arms
  • Loss of motion in the arms
  • Loss of sensory function in the upper arm

What Causes It?

You have a few causes, but this birth disorder almost always happens when the brachial plexus nerves get stretched during a long and difficult labor. Excessive pulling on the child’s shoulders will often lead to this condition as the nerves get damaged through this forceful stretching. Another cause can happen if a nurse picks the child up from the arms instead of placing hands under their body to support their frame. If this happens, this classifies as negligence, and you could even be entitled to financial help.

How Do Doctors Treat This Condition

Depending on the severity, doctors will treat Erb’s palsy in many different ways. The multidisciplinary approach, or collaboration between doctors from different specialties, has proven quite effective in treatment. In general, they might call on neurologists, physical therapists, neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, and occupational therapists to help recommend treatments for this condition.

Some of the treatment options include:

  • Surgery
  • Physical therapy
  • Botox injections


Usually, doctors recommend this option within the first three to six months after birth because it is the most effective. In many cases, studies have found that postponing surgery for longer lowers the chances of success.

Physical Therapy

Doctors prefer to use physical therapy for milder forms of the condition because of its high success rate with few negatives. Usually, this treatment form focuses on improving the range of motion, improving arm strength, and arm flexibility.

Botox Treatment

One of the more experimental treatments for this condition, Botox injections, normally gets placed into the affected areas. Doctors will also pair this with electrical stimulation to aid in the recovery process. Usually, if the normal function doesn’t return within four to eight weeks, doctors will opt for other treatment options like surgery.


Erb’s palsy happens when damage to the brachial plexus nerves occur. When damage to these nerves happen, a child will sometimes struggle with the movement of his arm, or he might have weaker reflexes. He may not even have any feeling in his arms from the damage done to it. While some infants may only experience some level of discomfort, you have other cases where the disabilities can be quite severe. What Erbs palsy treatment can help your child through this condition? The good news is that in most cases-depending on the severity-your child will recover from it.

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When it comes to Erbs palsy causes, you have a couple of different reasons for why someone might get this condition, but it always stems from damage done to the brachial plexus nerves in the neck. This condition has been known to happen towards the end of someone’s delivery. In some cases, it happens because the doctor pulled too hard on the child. Most doctors view this as a birth injury that they could have prevented.

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Risk Factors

Out of every 1,000 babies, one of them will have Erb’s palsy. Sometimes, people have mistakenly called this cerebral palsy, but in fact, the two have no connection. Some of the symptoms that your child has includes paralysis and potential nerve damage. Typically, this condition happens when the child suffers damage to the brachial plexus nerves from overstretching them. This stretching will especially happen to one side, and most often, Erb’s palsy only seems to affect one side of the body.

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When a child has Erb’s palsy, you may be looking to get them a diagnosis. In fact, you should get a diagnosis as soon as possible because of how the longer you wait, the harder it is to treat this condition. This especially becomes a problem during a long and difficult labor because it stretches the brachial plexus nerve at the neck. Some of the potential dangers range anywhere from mild paralysis to full-on paralysis with the more serious cases. In most cases, children will recover well from this condition as long as they receive an Erbs palsy diagnosis quickly. Unlike cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy doesn’t last a lifetime in most cases.

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Erb’s palsy, a condition that has a negative impact on the brachial plexus nerves, can leave the arm of your child feeling paralyzed. In many cases, it will only have a negative impact on one side of the body. Many times, a brachial plexus injury happens as trauma to the shoulder or the upper arm. It can cause paralysis on the affected side of the arm. You have cases where the Erbs palsy prognosis looks good. For example, it will resolve on its own without the need for intervention, but you should still have a doctor look at it because the more severe cases will require medical intervention to get better. Unlike cerebral palsy, however, you have a highly positive outlook with this condition in most cases.

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You hope that your child will never have to deal with the debilitating effects of a birth injury, but unfortunately, that isn’t the reality of things. Erb’s palsy has become one of the most common birth injuries that can happen to a child. In some cases, doctors will call this condition shoulder dystocia. It damages the nerves of the brachial plexus, and this will often happen during the delivery of the child. Getting a quick diagnosis matters because it increases the chances that your child will make a full recovery. Let’s have a look at the Erbs palsy symptoms so that you can spot this condition more easily.

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