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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.

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Birth Brain Injuries and Occupational Therapy Treatment

Occupational therapy can be an effective method for brachial plexus injuries. In older children (1 and older) it is a little easier to have them participate in therapeutic activities. That may not be the case when dealing with an infant. You will have to work with therapists to learn how to properly move your infant’s arm to ensure it is not further damaged. There will also be exercises you should do at home with your child to benefit and improve their condition.

Elk & Elk

Different Types of Therapy Options

Therapists will help stretch and move your baby’s arm to:

  • Keep it from getting stiff in the joint area
  • Ensure hand and arm use
  • Work on motor skills
  • Encourage the nerves to heal and repair themselves
  • Keep joints from contracting
  • Encourage normal movement actions and use

Specific occupational therapy activities will include:

  • Stretching and range of motion
  • The use of a splint
  • Weight tolerance and joint compression to encourage muscle contraction
  • Water activities (if needed)
  • Two-sided motor planning skills
  • Shoulder alignment

You should be taught exercises to do with your baby to ensure the joints move fluidly and work on motor development. All progress will be closely monitored for the status of recovery. Children not progressing according to schedule will be evaluated for surgical intervention. An evaluation will determine which treatment option will help your baby recover from their injury and may include:

  • Exploratory surgery
  • Removing scar tissue to free nerve
  • Using working nerves to get non-functioning nerves working
  • Removing damaged nerve and replacing with nerve from another section of the body

If your child receives any of the surgical treatments, additional procedures may be required to enhance them as growth takes place. Muscle and tendon transfers will use healthy tissues to stimulate non-functioning muscles, and osteotomies involve cutting and repositioning bones. There are also procedures to release joints and muscles that are tight.