Brachial Neuritis

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Brachial Neuritis is a condition affecting the brachial plexus, or the group of nerves between the cervical spine and the shoulder, down through the arm. Brachial Neuritis is the swelling and inflammation of those nerve bundles that send signals from the spine to the shoulder, arms, and fingers. The syndrome usually starts with sudden, severe, and steady pain or burning in the shoulder and upper arm. After a period of a few days to a few weeks, the pain typically subsides and is often replaced by muscle weakness or atrophy in the upper arm. The symptoms may develop on the same or opposite arm from which the vaccine was administered to and in some cases may affect both arms. Motor, sensory, and reflex findings on physical examination and the results of nerve conduction and electromyographic studies are often used in diagnosing Brachial Neuritis.

Common Symptoms of Brachial Neuritis include the following:

  • Pain in the shoulder and upper arm
  • Weakening of the muscles in the arm due to severe, long-term pain
  • Partial paralysis or numbness in the arm or shoulder

While there are no specific treatments for Brachial Neuritis, they usually involve the prescription of medication targeting nerve pain, physical and rehabilitative therapy, hot/cold therapy, and in some instances surgery. Brachial neuritis can also be referred to as neuralgia amyotrophy and Parsonage Turner Syndrome.

Brachial Neuritis can be caused by the administration of a vaccine. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services lists brachial neuritis as one of the known and accepted reactions to the tetanus toxoid vaccines, including the DTaP vaccine (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine). Other vaccines may also trigger brachial neuritis, including the influenza vaccine and the hepatitis B vaccine.