We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is the Brachial Plexus?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The brachial plexus is a grouping of nerves that is connected to the spine. This network of nerves begins at the region of the spine that connects with the back area of the neck. The collection of nerves then runs through the armpit of each arm, where the brachial plexus works with the nerves in the upper portion of the arm to manage movement of the limb.

When some type of brachial plexus injury takes place, the damage not only affects the function of this network of nerves, but also the collections of nerves that receive impulses from the plexus. This means that areas such as the hands, arms, and shoulders will all experience some sort of decrease in feeling and mobility, depending on the extent of the brachial plexus injuries. In relatively minor situations, the may be some numbness and possibly a small amount of pain. When severe damage is sustained, there is a chance of temporary or even permanent paralysis.

One of the more common examples of an injury to the brachial nerve network takes place during the process of birth. As the baby passes through the birth canal, there may be some constriction that places additional pressure on the shoulders of the child. When this happens, the brachial plexus may be stretched and possibly torn. Fortunately, the damage normally heals on its own or requires a minimally invasive procedure to correct the problem, and the child will bear no lasting injury.

Medical experts tend to classify the various injuries involving the brachial plexus into four groups or categories. Neurapraxia is used to identify situations in which there is some damage sustained from stretching, but no tears have developed. Considered the most common form of injury to the plexus, it is also the easiest to treat, usually by providing medication for the pain while the body heals naturally.

Neuroma is a more serious problem, involving the formation of scar tissue around the injured area. The scar tissue can place additional stress on the network of nerves, resulting in problems like numbness or sharp bursts of pain from time to time. Removing the scar tissue through surgical means is sometimes the best treatment for neuroma.

With a rupture, the general brachial plexus anatomy has sustained some sort of tear, but not one that has resulted in disconnecting the nerve group from the spinal connection. Surgery is the only solution with damage of this type, and will normally provide quick relief as the swelling begins to subside.

The most severe type of brachial plexus injury is known as an avulsion. When an avulsion is present, the connection to the spine has been severed, often through tearing the plexus away. As with a rupture, avulsion requires surgical intervention to reconnect the nerve network to the spine and allow the feeling and mobility to slowly return.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

Discussion Comments

Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum


Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.