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The brachial plexus is the network of nerves that sends signals from your spinal cord to your shoulder, arm and hand. A brachial plexus injury occurs when these nerves are stretched, compressed, or in the most serious cases, ripped apart or torn away from the spinal cord. Minor brachial plexus injuries, known as "stingers" or "burners," are common in contact sports, such as football. Babies sometimes sustain brachial plexus injuries during birth. The most severe brachial plexus injuries usually result from auto or motorcycle accidents.
Treatment for a brachial plexus injury depends on several factors, including the type and severity of the injury, the length of time since the injury, and other existing conditions. Nerves that have only been stretched may recover without further treatment; whereas, other injuries may require physical therapy. The most severe injuries can require nerve graft or nerve transfer surgery.
On the next Mayo Clinic Radio program, Dr. Alexander Shin, an orthopedic surgeon at Mayo Clinic, will discuss diagnosis and treatment of brachial plexus injuries. Dr. Shin also will talk about carpal tunnel syndrome. Also on the program, Dr. Naima Covassin, a cardiovascular disease researcher at Mayo Clinic, will share the findings of a recent Mayo Clinic study showing how eating breakfast regularly can help control weight gain. And Dr. Heather Fields, an internal medicine specialist at Mayo Clinic, will explain the dangers of eating too much red meat.
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