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Brachial plexus injuries after a fall

Were you recently injured in a fall? Does your hand now feel numb or tingly? Is your arm weak? Do you have difficulty moving your shoulder?

If so, you might be suffering from a brachial plexus injury. A brachial plexus injury involves damage to the nerve bundle that runs from your spinal cord all the way down your arm and into your hand. In particular, you should suspect this type of injury if you reached your arm out to break your fall.

How serious is this kind of injury?

Because the nerve bundle that runs down the arm is so significant, you can be left with everything from numbness or constant "pins and needles" in your fingers to weakness and a loss of mobility in your arm.

How can this injury be diagnosed?

If you're experiencing problems with your hand or arm after a fall, don't delay -- you need to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Your primary care physician can do the initial evaluation and send you to the appropriate specialist for testing. In addition, you may be sent for MRI scans or a CT scan. Nerve conduction tests can also be performed to evaluate how well the nerves in your arm are working, which can also help document the severity of the condition.

What is the long-term outlook?

In minor cases, the injury will eventually heal on its own with relatively little treatment. More severe injuries may require surgery or result in a lifetime of disability. Your age, health, physical fitness and the location of the injury are all factors that will contribute to how well you heal.

Unfortunately, you won't know how long it is going to take to recover until you get there. You may have to go through significant amounts of physical therapy, especially if your muscles weaken before the injury to the nerve bundle is corrected. In addition, you may have to undergo sensory re-education if your nerves and brain aren't able to read each other's signals once the injury is repaired.

If you've suffered any type of nerve injury in a fall, a consultation with an attorney can help you determine your ability to recover for any medical bills, lost wages or other losses you suffer.

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