Brachial plexopathy is a form of peripheral neuropathy. It occurs when there is damage to the brachial plexus. This is a group of nerves that run from the lower neck through the upper shoulder area. These nerves provide the shoulder, arm, and hand with movement and sensation through the radial, median, and ulnar nerves.
Damage to the nerves of the brachial plexus results in pain, decreased movement, or decreased feeling in the arm and shoulder.
Neuropathy - brachial plexus; Brachial plexus dysfunction; Parsonage-Turner syndrome; Pancoast syndrome
Damage to the brachial plexus may occur due to:
Brachial plexus dysfunction may also be associated with:
In some cases, no cause can be identified.
Symptoms may include:
Treatment is aimed at correcting the underlying cause and allowing you to use your hand and arm as much as possible. In some cases, no treatment is needed and the problem gets better on its own.
Treatment options include any of the following:
You may need occupational therapy or counseling to suggest changes in the workplace.
Medical conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease can damage nerves. In these cases, treatment is also directed at the underlying medical condition.
A good recovery is possible if the cause is found and properly treated. In some cases, there is partial or complete loss of movement or sensation. Nerve pain may be severe and may last for a long time.
Complications may include:
Contact your health care provider if you experience pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in the shoulder, arm, or hand.
Published Date: May 02, 2022
Published By: Amit M. Shelat, DO, FACP, FAAN, Attending Neurologist and Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology, Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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Waldman SD. Cervicothoracic interspinous bursitis. In: Waldman SD, ed. Atlas of Uncommon Pain Syndromes. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 23.