1 (440) 442-6677


Get Legal Help

Did Your Newborn Suffer Cerebral
Palsy or Another Brain Injury Before
or During Labor and Delivery?

Learn More

Our Birth Brain Injury Resource Guide

the guide

Get a FREE guide of resources available throughout Ohio to children and families of children who were born with brain injuries.

Our guide can help you build a foundation of knowledge and tools that will help you help your child
now and in the future.

Get Your Free Guide Now
Get a Free Case Evaluation


The brachial plexus represents the network of nerves that run from the spinal cord through the arms and end at the top of both shoulders. Your ability to move your arms and feel sensations throughout the limb depends on the health of the vital nerve network. Damage to some or all of the nerves causes muscle weakness and if not treated in time, can lead to a permanent disability. A wide variety of factors produce brachial plexus palsy, including participation in contact sports, exposure to frequent doses of prolonged radiation, and in the worst cases, car and motorcycle accidents. The most common cause of arm and shoulder nerve damage is called shoulder dystocia, which occurs when an infant’s shoulder becomes stuck in the mother’s birth canal.

Get A 100% Free CASE Evaluation     

Factors that Influence Recovery Time

Recovery from arm and shoulder damage depends on the severity of the injury. Mild cases heal over the course of a few hours to a couple of weeks. Serious injuries to the brachial plexus take months of intensive physical therapy and possibly one or more surgeries to repair the damage caused by the ripping of nerves from the spine. Infants take more time to heal injuries to arm and shoulder muscle nerves, as the injuries typically are more serious because of the underdevelopment of muscles. Other factors that influence recovery time include pain tolerance and the body’s ability to heal. Some people heal faster than other people. Age also plays a role in recovery, as older patients take much more time to heal the damage caused by a brachial plexus injury.

Brachial Plexus Palsy Recovery Tips

Elk & Elk

Nerve rejuvenation in the arms and shoulders typically is one millimeter per day. Most patients endure short-lived mild injuries to the brachial plexus, with a temporary onset of palsy symptoms quickly disappearing. However, some patients in the high-risk group for long-term recovery times can suffer symptoms for many months, even years. Recovery requires a positive attitude, as well as the strong support of friends and family members. You also need the encouragement of an upbeat health care professional that has considerable experience helping patients recover from palsy symptoms.

For serious brachial plexus palsy cases, an occupational therapist is required to instruct patients on how to use the other limb to complete routine daily activities, such as brushing teeth and combing hair. This is especially important for patients who receive nerve damage to the limb that performs routine activities. For example, a right-handed person who experiences nerve damage in the right arm should learn how to use the left arm to perform basic tasks.

The Importance of Physical Therapy

Physical therapy, and the response to it by palsy patients, go a long way in determining recovery time for nerve damage to the arm and shoulder. A physical therapist devises an exercise regimen that focuses on repetitive movements of the hand, arm, wrist, elbow, and shoulder. The exercises not only strengthen arm and shoulder muscles, but the routines also prevent stiffness from developing in any section of the affected limb. Physical therapists recommend devices that assist you in performing physical therapy exercises, from a splint to stabilize the wrist to a brace that supports the arm. You can use compression gloves and sleeves to reduce the likelihood of swelling in one or more joints.

Above all, brachial plexus palsy patients must possess coping skills to make the significant adjustments that help them live with the lack of limb strength and movement.