Brachial neuritis is a condition you don’t ever want to have. It’s also called brachial neuropathy, neuritis of the shoulder girdle or neuralgic amyotrophy.
What is Brachial Neuritis?
What happens in the condition is that the nerves of the brachial plexus – a major “bundle” of nerves that “feed” the whole arm and chest – become inflamed and cause profound weakness in the shoulder muscles. We’re talking about weakness so much that you have to put your arm in a sling.
Soon the condition progresses to a complete loss of mobility in the elbow or shoulder, and an inability to straighten the arm. The pain can be burning pain, stabbing pain, numbness, or pins and needles sensations – and it’s severe. It’s the kind of pain that can make someone consider suicide; it’s that bad.
Case Report Records a Miracle – Or Is It Standard Practice in Chiropractic?
The Journal of Chiropractic Medicine reported a medical case of brachial neuritis in a young athletic, 30-year-old man, one with a very happy ending.
He came to his chiropractor unable to straighten out his arm, wrist and hand. This whole part of his body essentially was curling up and he could do nothing about it. He had pain that felt burning, stabbing, numbness and pins and needles. The pain was so bad that he took a prescription medication called Neurontin. He was paralyzed with his elbow bent at a 90 degree angle.
The man had originally gone to his medical doctor for the condition but was told that only surgery would help. He had surgery – but it didn’t help at all. The paralysis started after the surgery. And by the time he got to his chiropractor’s office, the muscles of his right arm and hand already were wasting away. He had no grip strength and every muscle from his shoulders down to the tips of his fingers was weakened.
What His Chiropractor Found
When his chiropractor examined him, the chiropractor found that his fifth cervical vertebrae was severely restricted in motion. His chiropractor told him that this would have caused inflammation that then narrowed the foramen (hole) in the spine and compressed the root of the nerve. This would cause his symptoms.
But there was a lot more that the chiropractor found. The man was full of trigger points, little (or larger) spots in the muscles that were like knots. These trigger points form adhesions that can pull muscles and joints out of place.
In fact, the authors of the bible on trigger points believed that when these trigger points cause adhesions, they also shorten the fascia that surrounds different muscles. This can lead to the entrapment of the bundle of nerves for the whole upper part of the body.
He was a physical mess – and knew it and felt like it!
What Chiropractic Treatment Did He Get?
The patient was given chiropractic adjustments, deep tissue therapy and exercise rehabilitation. The adjustments restored the vertebrae. The deep tissue therapy released the trigger points and restored the normal resiliency to the muscles. The rehab therapy strengthened his muscles.
Improvement began with the first treatment. After only six treatments, his elbow was about 90% straightened. After 8 sessions, his arm was straight once again.
After 12 visits, all muscles were strong again. All his pain was gone.
Three years later, he was called on the phone to see how he was doing. He stated that he was back to mountain climbing, his arm was fully functional and he was 100% pain-free.
What a great story of what chiropractic can do for someone with brachial neuritis.
But it’s also a story about perseverance and to keep going until you get your pain relief. The answers are out there (often in chiropractic offices like ours). All you have to do is try them.
Charles, Eugene. Chiropractic management of a 30-year-old patient with Parsonage-Turner Syndrome. J Chiropr Med 2011 Dec; 10(4):301-305. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3315857/