Erb’s Palsy, Erb Palsy or Erb Duchenne Palsy is a disorder that involves permanent damage to the nervous system before birth or upon birth. Erb Palsy is a brachial plexus injury sustained during birth which will progressively cause muscle paralysis and atrophy.
Symptoms of Erb Palsy
- Impaired movement and/or paralysis
- Exaggerated Reflexes
- Rigidity of Extremities
- Abnormal posture
- Involuntary Movements
- Numbness and burning sensation (temporary or more permanent)
- Severe Pain, initial injury and long term pain
Diagnosis of Erb’s Palsy
A fully comprehensive evaluation will be performed to arrive at an initial diagnosis which may be suggestive of other possible conditions as well. Thus, the selection of your doctor may aid at simplifying the diagnostic process. The specific diagnosis for Erb’s Palsy will zero in the nerves and muscles involved in the injury. Learn more about the Diagnosis of Erb’s Palsy.
Treatment of Erb’s Palsy
The Q and A you have with your doctor will likely be very informative about treatment options. Select physicians and surgeons dedicated their practice to Erb’s Palsy and Brachial Plexy and may be more up to date with advancements in treatment and surgery, such as micro-surgical techniques. The following treatment modalities relate to the direct roots of the condition. Adjuncts to treatment are often required involving recommendations from other medical professionals, such as a Pediatrician, Neurosurgeon, Orthopedic Specialist, Counselor and Physiatrist, Physical and Occupational Therapist, Social Worker, and Special Education Teacher.
Medications – For localized contractions, botulinum toxin may afford localized relaxation.
Surgical and Orthopedic – Deformities and short tendons may be corrected surgically. Braces and appliances may be used to help individuals with Erb’s Palsy.
Nerve Surgery – Neurosurgeons may perform a nerve graft and replace a damaged nerve with a functional nerve harvested from the other less important organs of the body. In severed nerve roots in Erb’s Palsy, surgeons may attach nerves from other less important sites and bind the new nerve near the affected muscles for faster recovery. Because nerves grow slowly, recovery from nerve surgery may take numerous years to fully recover.
Muscle Transfer – In Erb Duchenne muscular dystrophy, muscles from less important sites may be harvested to be grafted in arm muscles with more important facultative functions.
Pain Management – In acute nerve injury of Erb’s Palsy where pain is severe and burning, Opiates like Codeine may be preferred to control pain. Anti-depressants and anti-convulsants may also help alleviate related symptoms. Transcutaneous Electric Nerve stimulations (TEN) have proven to relieve severe pain in Erb’s Palsy for select individuals.
Living with Erb’s Palsy
Individuals with Erb’s Palsy may require various types of surgery of the course of time. The goal of the surgical outcome is to enhance independence and life quality with a degree of relief from disabilities. Still, varying degrees of incapacitation from nerve diseases may occur following treatment. The condition may become more difficult to improve over time and treatment may be more complex. Contractures may be surgically released, but mat recur in time. In muscle grafting for Erb’s dystrophy, muscle may still atrophy in a few years. Active rehabilitation is the key to afford select individuals independence from this nerve disease.
It is important to recognize that medications and medical procedures are associated with benefits and risks that should be discussed with your physician. It is important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition. Your Health Access disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.