Brachial Plexus Palsy

Brachial Plexus palsy is often more commonly known as Erb’s palsy and can occur when some or all of the main nerves that control the movement and feeling in an arm are damaged. The nerve damage usually occurs during birth if baby becomes a little stuck and the shoulder is pulled away from the head, leading to a strong stretch of the neck. Your baby may also have damage to their collar bone or upper arm and this should be checked soon after birth, by a doctor.

The amount of damage to the nerves can vary from a complete tear to just bruising and this will usually affect the ability of the nerve and movement to recover over time. For more information on this please see the parent information leaflet.

Physiotherapy should start for your baby soon after they have been diagnosed. Physiotherapy will not affect the nerve’s ability to repair itself but your physiotherapist will provide advice on positioning and handling to minimise risk of further damage and promote development, stretches to prevent tightness, sensory input to encourage awareness and use and developmental activities to assist your child’s motor development. For further details on positioning and stretches please click here ( link to MEHT’s Erb’s palsy pathway document)  but do not carry out stretches until your child has been seen by a qualified physiotherapist. Dependent on your babies recovery your child may be discharged, monitored with advice, referred onto occupational therapy or may require more specialist intervention from a specialist surgeons.

For more information and support about Erb’s Palsy please see the Erb’s Palsy group’s website ERB’s – Support to families affected by erb’s palsy 

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