The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that conducts signals from the spinal cord to the shoulder, arm and hand. Brachial plexus injuries, or lesions, are caused by damage to those nerves.
Brachial plexus lesions can be classified as either traumatic or obstetric. Obstetric injuries may occur from mechanical injury involving shoulder dystocia during difficult childbirth.Traumatic injury may arise from several causes like falls from a height on to the side of the head and shoulder, whereby the nerves of the plexus are violently stretched. The cardinal signs of brachial plexus injury then, are weakness in the arm, diminished reflexes, and corresponding sensory deficits.
Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s paralysis are the common types of paralysis involving the muscles of the forearm and hand.
The occupational therapist will help in management of preventing deformity and disuse atrophy by stimulating and strengthening the affected muscles.