What Is a Brachial Plexus Injury and How Can it Impact Your Child’s Growth?

My name is Morgan Hartline, a physical therapist at Building Futures. Today we’re looking at one of the most common injuries that we see, “brachial plexus injury.”

What is the brachial plexus?  It’s a complex set of nerves that originates or starts from the neck and travels down the arm.

These nerves provide movement or sensation to the arm. A brachial plexus injury most commonly happens at birth. Typically, the baby may be a bit larger than mom’s birth canal and the nerves and muscles in the shoulder will get caught, stretched or pulled.

Brachial plexus Injury can also happen from a sports or motor vehicle accident.

How Does Brachial Plexus Injury Affect My Child?

Brachial Plexus Injury mostly affects the child’s upper arm, but it can affect the lower arm or a combination of both.

Your child may experience muscle weakness, difficulty lifting their arm, even paralysis of the upper extremity. Hands can be impacted, too. They could have decreased movement or sensation. The good news is that most babies are not in any pain with this particular injury. Only 4% of children experience any discomfort.

Brachial Plexus Syndrome: Why Is Early Intervention Important?

For kids with brachial plexus syndrome, early intervention is key because certain motor milestones can be greatly affected. If a child is unable to bear weight on their arms, or roll towards one side, other motor milestones like sitting and crawling are also impacted.

Early intervention can address these issues, allowing your child to better develop at a healthy pace.

If you have any more questions, feel free to contact us and we would be happy to help.

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