Having brachial plexus injury could be one of the most debilitating disorders of the body. While this type of injury might not be a case of life and death, it could greatly affect a person’s quality of life. Scientifically speaking, the brachial plexus is a group of nerves that controls the entire upper extremities. Imagine if there would be lesions or injuries to these nerves. For this reason, let us take a look further on this topic.
Overview of the Brachial Plexus Injury
The brain controls the different parts of our body through the spinal cord and its nerve roots. The nerves serve as a pathway for the communication of the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. The brachial plexus originate from the last four cervical vertebrae to the first thoracic vertebra. Injury of the brachial plexus could be caused by the following:
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- Excessive external force
A Deeper Look at the Cause of Brachial Plexus InjuryCredit: http://jbjs.org/article.aspx?articleid=25796
While there are many causative factors that were identified to injure the brachial plexus, the pathologic process is almost the same. In almost all cases, the nerve is either stretched or torn. The meningeal covering of a nerve is thin and therefore vulnerable to injury. The brachial nerve injury could also happen when a nerve was displaced from its proper position even though it was not torn or stretched.
Classification of Injury of the Brachial PlexusCredit: http://www.wheelessonline.com/ortho/clavicle_fractures
The classification would greatly depend on the extent of nerve damage. There are many ways to classify nerve injuries but the Seddon’s Classification is more widely used by experts. The first classification is Neurapraxia which is the mildest of all nerve injury classification. It has no disruption on the continuity of the nerve but it has disturbances on the nerve conduction. Next classification is the axonotmesis. In this classification, the axon degenerates and has a slight disturbance of the nerve continuity together with altered nerve conduction. The connective tissues of the nerve are still intact. The last classification of brachial plexus injury is the nerotmesis. This is the most severe classification. The connective tissues that are holding the nerves are damaged and lose their connectivity.
Signs and SymptomsCredit: http://www.shoulderdoc.co.uk/article.asp?section=492
The manifestations of brachial plexus injury depend on the location and the extent of the damage. General signs and symptoms may include muscle weakness, lack of muscle control, muscle atrophy, paresthesia, numbing, lost of reflexes, and paralysis.
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The primary mode of treatment is physical or occupational therapy. Thankfully, some injuries of the brachial plexus could heal without special treatment. But in severe cases, surgery can be an option with unpredictable prognosis. There are also drugs available to control signs and symptoms.
Summary of Brachial Plexus Injury
Brachial plexus injury can affect your activities of daily living. It is important to identify its causative factors and its classifications. Consult a specialist to know the right course of action.
Taking care of the brachial plexus is crucial. brachial plexus injury can be avoided with the right knowledge and information.