Non-Surgical Treatment for Brachial Plexus Injuries
Occupational and physical therapy is usually recommended including: range of motion, strenthening, Nueromuscular Electircal Stimulation , Kinesio Taping , joint mobilization , aquatic therapy , and use of orthosis . These can greatly improve the health of the newborn or child.
1. Range of Motion: Range of Motion Exercises are immediately, or after 3 months of the child’s life and cond continuing (depending on your doctor’s recommendation) used to treat Brachial Plexus injuries (even after/if surgery is required).
Example exercise (not meant to replace professional physical or occupational therapy)! : Lay the newborn or child on her back and stabilize her left shoulder with your left hand. Lift newborn’s arm up shoulder height, making sure her thumb is leading and the arm is straightened at the elbow. Do 10 repititions, and then switch to the other shoulder and do 10 repititions.
2. Stengthening Exercises: According to Livestrong.com, Shoulder excercises that could help vicitims of Bracial Plexus injuries include: Shoudler Abduction, Shoulder Flextion, Shoulder Shrugs, and Shoulder Internal Rotation.
These might not be possible for the newborn, but are highly recommended for a older child with a Brachial Plexis Injury.
3. Nueromusuclar Electrical Stimulation: This is achieved by passing electrical impulses from a device through electrodes over the skin to stimulate muscles. It is done by a Certified Physical Therapist in conjunction with other physical therapy.
4. Kinesio Taping: This is a great and easy method to stimulate nerves. Kinesio Tape is an elastic, hpoalleragenic tape designed to stimulate nerves. Your Physical Therpist or Occupational Therapist will teach you haw to put it on. It stays on for about a week or two (even though baths and showers!), and is available for a very inexpensive price at Amazon.com.
5. Joint Mobilization: Joint Mobilization is a technique used to increase the range of motion in a limb. It is also used to align the surfaces of a human joint. There are three kinds of joint mobilization: spins, glides, and rolls.
The key principle is known as the concave-convex rule. If the concave surface is moving on the convex surface, then the glide will occur in the same direction as the roll. In the convex surface if moving on the concave surface, then the glide is in the opposite direction of the roll.
6: Aquatic Therapy: Aqautic Therapy is exercise that is performed in water. It is done in a pool with a licensed Aquatic Therapist. The Aquatic Therapist is usually a Physical or Occupational Therapist who has gone on to receive special training.
The buoyancy of the water helps to support the infant or child’s weight. It gives a gentle kind of resistance without having to tug on the injury to hard. It can strenthen muscle groups, and the infant or child doesn’t even have to know how to swim. The Aquatic Therapist will provide floatation devices.
7. Orthosis: Orthosis refers to an orthopedic device worn to correct the function of a limb. In a Brachial Plexus injury, a child or even newborn might wear a specifically-designed brace to align the hand, arm, wrist, or shoulder correctly.