Brachial Neuritis

Brachial neuritis can occur in both children and adults. Injured nerves that pass signals from the brain and spine to the arm and hand can trigger the condition. The feeling usually begins as a deep, aching pain and can eventually disrupt life. Though most people affected recover with no lasting damages, some people are left with pain, numbness, muscle atrophy, or weakness.

What vaccine causes it?

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) identifies brachial neuritis as a possible injury due to vaccines containing the tetanus toxoid. These include diphtheria and whooping cough vaccines. Other vaccines may also cause brachial neuritis, too.

What are the symptoms?

Brachial Neuritis occurs in the upper arm or shoulder and usually appears on the same side as the vaccine injection. Reactions can also show up on the opposite arm or shoulder — sometimes both arms can feel the effects.

Signs include:

  • Atrophy
  • Limited mobility
  • Loss of motor control
  • Numbness
  • Pain and inflammation
  • Sensory loss
  • Weakness

The diagnosis of brachial neuritis can be aided by information found in two additional studies:

  • An electromyography study (EMG), which measures electric activity between skeletal muscles and nerves
  • A nerve conduction study (NCV), which measures how fast electrical signals move the body’s nervous system

When do symptoms appear?

Signs of injury typically take a few days to appear. If the condition continues, weakness will set in.

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