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The brachial plexus is the electrical power grid of the upper extremity. The brachial plexus is where all the nerves mix and match to create the peripheral nerves of the hand and limb. Peripheral nerves are those conduits that carry signals from the brain into the fingertips and every muscle in between.
If you have Brachial Plexus injury, you will lose partial or complete function of elbow flexion, shoulder elevation, and other upper limb function.
The most common scenario is with someone who’s had trauma either a car accident or motorcycle accident or a fall off a significant height and your brachial plexus nerves get stretched or torn. This can happen when the head is pushed away from the shoulder and the shoulder is pressed down. And they have paralysis of one arm. It’s either partial arm paralysis or full arm paralysis.
Sometimes brachial plexus injury can occur in an infant due to problems during delivery. For example- if there is prolonged labour in this scenario, the baby’s shoulder gets stuck in the birth canal and the nerve may get injured in order to get the shoulder free.
It can also happen in contact sports while two-player collides and their nerve is stretched beyond their capacity.
Symptoms of brachial plexus are:
Electrical shock sensation in the arm, elbow, and hand.
Weakness and numbness of the hand.
These symptoms generally happen only for few minutes but in some people, it might last longer.
In severe brachial plexus injury person may have a symptom such as:
Inability to use upper limb muscles like shoulder, elbow, and hand.
Inability to use fingers.
Lack of motion and sensation of the arm.
Unbearable pain.
Physiotherapy treatment of brachial plexus injury includes:
Isometric exercises of neck muscles- place your hand on side of your head, and the motion you will do is side flexion of the neck but your hands gonna stop your head from side flexion. Push your hand for 3-5 seconds and then relax, do 5 repetitions for both sides.
Now place your hand on the forehead and do flexion of the neck but your hands stopping it, so again 3-5 seconds hold and then relax for 5 repetitions. Similarly, place your hand behind the head and now do neck extension but again your hand stopping the movement.
Now lying down on your back with your feet propped up (hook-lying), and bring your chin toward your chest, and then slowly coming back down. Do 10 repetitions.
Now come on a side-lying position and put your arms kind of up in front of you so you can rest your head there. And bring your head up to the side, but try to keep your ear up towards the ceiling and your eyes facing forward. Do it 10 times for each side.
Now come in the quadruped position on all four. This time try and keep your head straight forward, eyes looking down, and then look straight up head in front of you and then come back down. Getting the stretch while looking up and do a slow movement. Do 10 repetitions.
Nest exercise is shoulder shrugs- you can do this in a sitting or standing position. Bring both shoulders straight up (don’t hunch your ear down), and then come back down. Do 10-15 repetitions.
For more exercises and treatment you can visit our Sports physiotherapy clinic.

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