So severity of brachial plexus injury can span from pain and discomfort to complete paralysis and inability to use the arm. So when a patient has what's called a stinger, or injury that can occur with playing football, the shoulder is pushed away from the body. These traumas usually quite a bit less severe than what a patient suffers when he falls from a motorcycle. The patient will often have some weakness, some burning radiating down the arm, and pain that will resolve over the next days to weeks. The more severe injuries result in significant numbness and weakness, which does not quickly recover. And for which they must see a specialist as soon as possible. The milder types of brachial plexus injury, which result in some weakness, but not complete paralysis of a muscle, are typically recoverable injuries. Given a few months, the arm usually will regain full strength, and the patient will not require surgery. If a patient has more than subtle weakness in the arm, it is critically important they do get to a surgeon so that they don't miss the window of opportunity to restore function to that limb. On occasion, a patient may have tightness in their cervical spine, which can predispose them to these types of injuries. And this may often need to be addressed.
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