Brachial Neuritis is the condition of sudden shoulder and arm pain, followed by weakness or numbness. It is caused by the inflammation of the Brachial Plexus, which is formed by the combination of the nerve roots that leaves the cervical spine in the neck. Brachial Plexus forms a network of nerves that runs through the shoulder and down the arm, which are quite sensitive, and any injury to it can cause severe pain.
Brachial Neuritis is a rare condition, which is why they can be easily detected. Common symptoms include sudden pain without any injury, piercing, radiating, sharp pain, pain starting from the shoulder or upper arm, pain lasting several days followed by weakness of muscles, and pain seen on one side rather than both sides.
Usually, the pain and weakness gets better by time, however, in severe cases, partial or complete arm paralysis can happen. That is why it is better to consult with a doctor and treat the issue quickly.
Brachial Neuritis is diagnosed after going through the patient history and physical examination. Typically, X-rays and MRI scan cannot detect the condition. As the symptoms of Brachial Neuritis are similar to that of Cervical Radiculopathy, an EMG study can help to differentiate between them.
Brachial Neuritis gives you severe pain, but it lasts for short periods, like less than 7 to 10 days. To make sure that no other injury, such as a cervical herniated disc, is behind the pain, an MRI scan is done to rule out compressive lesions. An EMG study is done after three weeks to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment for Brachial Neuritis includes methods for controlling the pain, nerve healing, and rehabilitation. Inflamed brachial nerves can also cause severe pain, and in such cases, the initial focus will be to reduce the pain. Some methods to reduce pain include oral steroids, narcotic medications, and Neurotropic medications such as Lyrica or Neurontin to stabilize nerve membranes and control pain. Proper rest and reduced physical activity is also recommended to ease the inflammation and pain.
Brachial Neuritis can take some time for a complete recovery. Physical therapy and rehabilitation may be needed in some severe cases to recover the motion of the arm; however, worse scenarios can be avoided with timely diagnoses and treatment.