Treating Erb’s Palsy Symptoms

In 90% of cases of Erb’s palsy birth trauma, a child’s brachial plexus injury will heal on its own within about three months. In such cases, a doctor will ask parents to perform physical therapy and range-of-motion exercises with the child two or three times per day from about three weeks after birth.

This will help to prevent the joints of the shoulder and arm from becoming permanently stiff due to the brachial plexus injury.

Surgery may be needed
If a more serious type of injury exists, a doctor may advise surgery to restore movement. If there is no change to the child’s range of motion after three months, nerve surgery may be the best option.

Nerve surgery must be performed by the time the child is about 1 year old in order to be effective.

However, because nerve cells regenerate slowly, it may be months or even years before signs of the child’s recovery from a brachial plexus injury become apparent.

Secondary surgery
Cases in which the child does not recover from Erb’s palsy naturally or after nerve surgery may indicate a secondary condition in the shoulder or arm caused by the brachial plexus injury. In these cases, secondary surgery may be needed to correct a shortening or imbalance in the muscles or tendons. Secondary surgeries can be performed when the child is between the ages of 2 and 10.

After surgery, the child may need to visit a rehabilitation specialist or physical therapist. They can assist parents in planning rehab exercises to restore normal motion to the arm affected by the Erb’s palsy injury.

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