Brachial Plexus Injury in Sports Medicine Treatment & Management
- Author: Thomas H Trojian, MD; Chief Editor: Sherwin SW Ho, MD more...
At onset of injury, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), early mobilization, and moist heat packs are the favorable methods of treatment for acute injuries. In the subacute phase, a gradual progression from ROM activity to cervical and shoulder muscle strengthening is recommended.
If symptoms persist (eg, persistent weakness, chronic neurapraxia) regardless of therapy, further consideration for additional imaging and referral should be undertaken.
Surgical intervention is rarely needed, is injury-specific, and should be directed by a neurosurgical or orthopedic spine surgeon.
Neurosurgery spine/orthopedic spine
Manipulation is not recommended as a first line intervention, but it may be a helpful adjunct after full medical assessment has been completed.
In the recovery phase, cervical muscle strengthening and conditioning should be continued. Strength-training programs are used to fully recover the strength that the athlete had prior to the injury. Training should be focused on muscles supporting the injured brachial plexus nerve, such as the shoulders and the surrounding cervical spine region. The neck also should be protected (eg, use of cervical neck rolls, cervical pillows) until strength is regained.
If needed, continue follow-up care with a neurologist, and/or spine specialist.
Continued maintenance of cervical muscle strength, conditioning, and protection is recommended.
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