Neuropathy - brachial plexus; Brachial plexus dysfunction; Parsonage Turner syndrome
Treatment is aimed at correcting the underlying cause and allowing you to use your hand and arm as much as possible. In some cases, no treatment is required and recovery happens on its own.
Over-the-counter or prescription pain medications may be needed to control pain. Anticonvulsants (phenytoin, carbamazepine, gabapentin, and pregabalin), tricyclic antidepressants (amitriptyline and nortriptyline), or other medications (duloxetine) may be prescribed. Use the lowest dose possible to avoid side effects.
Some patients with brachial plexopathy may benefit from surgery if nerve compression is the cause of the symptoms.
If other nerves are also affected, an underlying medical problem that can affect nerves should be considered. Medical conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease can damage nerves. In these cases, treatment is also directed at the underlying medical condition.
The likely outcome depends on the cause. A good recovery is possible if the cause is identified and properly treated. In some cases, there may be a partial or complete loss of movement or sensation. Nerve pain may be severe and may persist for a long time.
Call your health care provider if you experience pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in the shoulder, arm, or hand.
Ensrud E, King JC. Plexopathy--brachial. In: Frontera WR, Silver JK, Rizzo TD, eds. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 134.
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