Erb’s palsy can be painful, depending on the damage suffered and how it heals. Erb’s palsy occurs because of temporary or permanent nerve damage to nerves that run from the brachial plexus to the shoulder, arm, hand, and fingers.
Erb’s palsy consists of damage to nerves that control sensory and motor function to the upper arm and shoulder. When these nerves suffer damage, it generally causes loss of sensation and paralysis. However, in some cases, it can also cause nerve pain in the deltoid, bicep, and brachialis.
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Nerves Carry Signals About Pain, Pressure, and Temperature
Nerve damage can cause problems with movement and sensation anywhere in the body it occurs. This is because nerves transmit signals about motor function, feeling, pain, pressure, and temperature to and from the brain. When these nerves are severed completely, there is usually no sensation and no movement in the affected area.
However, then they suffer damage, such as when stretched or compressed, other, less predictable outcomes are possible. This may include sharp pains, chronic aching, tingling, and other discomforts.
Erb’s palsy occurs when there is damage to specific nerves of the brachial plexus, namely the ones that transmit signals back and forth to the shoulder and upper arm. Pain could result in Erb’s palsy from the initial injury or from the effects of efforts to restore sensation and function to the arm.
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Scar Tissue and Other Complications May Also Cause Pain in Children with Erb’s Palsy
When healing, some damaged nerves develop a certain type of scarring known as a neuroma. This can occur following almost any type of brachial plexus nerve injury. This scar tissue presses against healthy parts of the nerve, causing serious nerve pain. Doctors can treat neuromas with microsurgery, and many children experience some, but not total, recovery.
Other complications related to Erb’s palsy can also cause pain. Nerve regeneration and healing take time, and some children never fully recover the use of the affected shoulder and arm. When the arm is not in use, muscles weaken and joints stiffen. This can lead to a painful condition called a contracture. Physical therapy and ongoing exercises can sometimes prevent this condition.
Weak muscles can also lead to soreness and pain with use. Children who have lasting impairments related to Erb’s palsy may require occupational therapy or other rehabilitative efforts to ensure they can use the arm for self-care and other activities of daily living.
Pain From Erb’s Palsy May Support a Medical Malpractice Claim
Erb’s palsy can be painful. If your child suffers from pain or discomfort related to an Erb’s palsy diagnosis, you may have a viable birth injury case. Often, Erb’s palsy is a preventable birth injury and occurs because the doctor or another medical care provider failed to prevent it or directly caused it. If this is what caused your child’s Erb’s palsy, you can take legal action to hold the doctor or hospital responsible.
The value of your case is impossible to know without a thorough investigation and documenting your damages, but a child with lasting pain or impairment will likely recover more compensation than a child whose injury healed fully on its own. Your medical malpractice birth injury lawyer will help you build your case and pursue damages that include:
- Past and future medical treatment and care related to their injury
- Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and any prescribed rehabilitation
- Out-of-pocket costs related to their injury and care
- Pain and suffering damages
- Mental anguish related to their injury or impairment
It is important to discuss your case with a medical malpractice birth injury attorney who regularly handles this type of case in your state. Each state has its own rules regarding:
- The requirements to file a lawsuit against a doctor or hospital
- Necessary proof in a medical malpractice case
- Time limits on how long you can wait to take legal action
- If you can toll the statute of limitations because the victim was an infant
Your attorney can explain each of these to you based on the laws in your state. Then, if they believe you have a viable birth injury case based on your child’s Erb’s palsy, they will help you build a case and file a malpractice claim or civil lawsuit. Your attorney will represent you throughout the process, fighting for the best interests of your child.
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