Brachial neuritis is peripheral neuropathy that causes pain in the chest, shoulder, arm, and hand. Peripheral neuropathy is a disorder that causes discomfort or loss of function in the nerves that send and receive signals from the brain and spinal cord (the central nervous system) to other regions of the body. It is a somewhat uncommon condition.
Brachial neuritis is brachial neuropathy or damage to the brachial plexus. Acute brachial neuritis is characterized by damage to the brachial nerves that arise suddenly and unexpectedly, unrelated to any other injury or physical condition. This condition is also known as Parsonage-Turner syndrome or neuralgic amyotrophy.
Types of Brachial Neuritis
Brachial neuritis mostly affects the lower nerves of the brachial plexus, which run through the arm and hand. The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that connects the spinal cord to the chest, shoulder, arms, and hands. It usually affects only one side of the body, although it can also affect other nerves and regions of the body. There are two types of BN:
Acute Brachial Neuritis
This kind of brachial neuritis develops abruptly. Sharp, intense pain in the brachial plexus nerves is followed by weakening or numbness. Acute brachial neuritis has no known cause.
Brachial Plexus Injury
As a result of damage, some persons experience pain and loss of function in the brachial plexus. Babies, for example, might harm the brachial plexus when passing through the birth canal during labor.
Symptoms Associated with Brachial Neuritis
Among the symptoms of brachial neuritis are the following:
- Suffering from excruciating pain in the upper arm or shoulder
- Discomfort that typically affects only one side of the body
- After a few hours or days, the pain progresses to weakness, limpness, or paralysis of the affected arm or shoulder’s muscles.
- Muscle control deficits in the shoulder or arm.
- Insufficiency of sensation or sensibility in the shoulder or arm.
Symptoms often resolve gradually over a few months or years.
Causes and Risk Factors
Brachial neuritis is a condition that occurs when the nerves of the brachial plexus are damaged. Something in the environment, such as an accident or illness, causes the symptoms in most situations. Doctors aren’t sure why some patients acquire this disease after nerve injury.
The following are some risk factors for brachial neuritis:
According to research, some types of brachial neuritis are genetic, including a disease known as hereditary neuralgic amyotrophy. Because the gene for this disorder is dominant, only one parent needs to be carriers of the illness to be passed down to a kid. Even if a person possesses the inherited neuralgic amyotrophy gene, they may not experience symptoms until an accident or sickness activates the gene.
Infection that occurred recently
According to many studies, an infection causes 25–55 percent of brachial neuritis patients. Upper respiratory infections are frequently followed by brachial neuritis, and smallpox, HIV, typhoid, and the flu are connected to this syndrome.
In many situations, symptoms appear in a person’s 20s or 60s.
Autoimmune diseases are conditions in which the immune system attacks healthy tissue. Autoimmune disorders may have a role in brachial neuritis. Some study suggests that damage to myelin, the nerve’s insulating covering, is to blame for some types of brachial neuritis. Parsonage-Turner syndrome is a kind of brachial neuritis that frequently arises without a clear etiology, and specialists have postulated a link with autoimmune inflammation.
Males are more likely to develop brachial neuritis than females. The male-to-female prevalence ratio estimates range from 2-to-1 to 11.5-to-1.
Other factors that stress or harm the nerves and muscles may also raise the risk. Pregnancy and vigorous exercise have been associated with brachial neuritis. During birth, babies may also harm the brachial plexus.
Diagnosis of Brancal Neuritis
A doctor will often take a comprehensive medical history to learn about the person’s recent accidents, illnesses, and vaccines to diagnose brachial neuritis.
If a doctor suspects brachial neuritis or a similar nerve problem, they may advise nerve testing to determine the health of the nerves. This testing may include electromyography, which employs a device to capture and measure nerve signals.
They may also request more tests to rule out other possible explanations. Among the most common tests are:
- Blood tests to rule out infections and autoimmune illnesses.
- X-rays are used to evaluate the health and structure of adjacent bones and joints.
- Additional imaging tests, such as CT or MRI scans, examine muscles and soft tissues.
BN treatment focuses on addressing any underlying reasons and restoring the full range of motion. Many times, no therapy is required because of spontaneous recovery.
Taking over-the-counter drugs relieves pain in most cases. Your doctor may also advise you to take Tricyclic antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and other medicines. Your doctor may advise you to undergo physical therapy to maintain or improve your muscle strength. The range of motion may also be increased with the help of an orthopedist. Braces, splints, and other similar devices are commonly used in this therapy.
If nerve compression is causing your problems, you may require surgery. Diabetes and kidney illness, which can harm nerves, may also need to be treated as underlying medical disorders.
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Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
1- What are the symptoms of nerve damage in the shoulder?
Changes in sensation on the same side as the aching shoulder, Arm, hand, or shoulder muscle weakness, Neck ache, particularly while tilting the head side to side, tingling and numbness in the fingers or hand are common symptoms.
2- How do you treat nerve damage in the shoulder?
Treatment might be conservative (non-surgical), consisting of activity and physiotherapy changes. Alternatively, surgery may be required to remove bone, ligaments, or cysts causing pressure on the nerve. When this shoulder stabilizer’s weakening changes shoulder biomechanics, repairing an inadequate rotator cuff is required.
3- How long does it take to recover from brachial neuritis?
In some cases, acute brachial neuritis will go away on its own over time. Recovery can take 1 to 3 years.