Cervical Brachial Syndrome is diagnosed when someone has neck and/or arm pain originating from the brachial plexus. The brachial plexus is a group of nerves located in the in the region between the neck and shoulder on each side. This group of nerves send signals to the shoulder, arm and hands. The nerve roots that start this plexus of nerves are C3, C4, C5, C6, C7, and C8 + T1. Next these roots branch into trunks, divisions, and cords. See the diagram below.
This area can typically be injured when it gets pushed into a hyper stretched position. An example would be a fall, car or motorcycle accident, and even the birthing process. To hyper stretch the brachial plexus, the shoulder must be pushed down while the head is tilted away.
The radial, ulnar, and median nerve originate from this plexus. Nerves travel all the way to the hands with the radial nerve innervating your 1st 3 fingers and the ulnar nerve innervating your ring and pinky fingers. The ulnar nerve is essentially your funny bone. This nerve travels through a notch in your elbow created by your medial epicondyle. When you hit you elbow and get pain, we call this the "funny bone".
Here are the types of injuries to the brachial plexus:
- An Avulsion - this is when the nerve is pulled from the cord
- A Rupture - this is a stretch to the point of tearing
- Neurapraxia - this is when it is stretched but not torn (still attached) 4. Axonotemesis - in this case the axon of the nerve is severed
- Neurotomesis - the nerve is divided or separated
- Neuroma - this is a tumor in the region
"Okay, so I have a brachial plexus injury; how can I get rid of the neck and arm pain?"
Really what we need to do is help facilitate the healing. At the root of this is to reduce inflammation and take pressure off of nerves. These nerves not only communicate to vital organs of the body but go to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
At the heart of this is to increase motion and align the spine. Allowing motion helps for inflammation to dissipate. It is inflammation that puts pressure on the nerves. Putting the spine back in alignment gives the nerves the best chance for free and clear motion. To make a long story short, nerves free of pressure, means the body can function like it should...