Treating Birth Injury: Rehabilitation Through Physical Therapy
Many treatments exist to help infants with all kinds of birth injuries adjust to and make every day life much easier as they grow. Among those is physical therapy, which we have previously mentioned is a common resource for those with cerebral palsy. Physical therapy generally helps children who suffer from muscle problems similar to those resulting from cerebral palsy, such as weakened muscles or muscles over which the children lack control. This article focuses on one such condition--brachial plexus palsy, which occurs when the nerves of the brachial plexus, a set of nerves controlling the muscles of the arm, have been damaged during birth, according to Seattle Children's. Brachial plexus palsies can be treated through physical therapy in several different ways.
According to Seattle Children's, therapists' treatment regimens can include, among other things, stretching to prevent stiffness of the joints; aid in using the arm and hand actively, as the area will likely have been affected by the nerve damage; developing motor skills; and "learn[ing] ways to move so they can do as much as possible on their own."
Medscape calls therapy the "cornerstone in the management of the symptoms of a child" suffering from brachial plexus palsy. Therapy is important both for children whose cases are being treated conservatively as well as for those who will have to undergo surgery.
According to Jennifer Semel-Concepcion, MD, therapists have dual roles: first, they must "provide ongoing therapeutic treatment and parental instruction," and secondly, they must continually and accurately assess the infant's functional status. This helps to determine whether the child will eventually need surgical intervention or whether she may be able to pursue other avenues of treatment. Comprehensive therapy, according to Dr. Semel-Conception, should consist of "facilitation of active movement, strengthening, promotion of sensory awareness, and provision of instructions for home activities." This includes consistent stretching of the internal rotators, flexibility activities, and "static and dynamic splinting of the arm."
Timeline and Results
Most recovery occurs in the first year after the injury, according to Seattle Children's. However, it is important to continue therapy during the second year, where some more progress may occur. Additionally, therapy helps to continually strengthen the arm and prevent stiffness in the limb. According to Medscape, "the rehabilitation of children with brachial plexus palsy . . . must begin in infancy to achieve optimal functional returns."
Most children tend to regain function and use of their affected arm; however, they will likely deal with weakness in the shoulder area even after rehabilitation. According to Dr. Semel-Concepcion, consistent therapy will help prevent severe contractures that come with brachial plexus palsy and can lead to bony deformity and shoulder dislocation.
If your loved one has suffered complications from brachial plexus palsy or any other forms of birth injury resulting from negligence during the birthing process, call us for help. We will talk to you and review your case for free. The Tyrone Law Firm specializes in representing those who have suffered a devastating injury, such as birth injuries or traumatic brain injury resulting from the negligence of another. Our personal injury firm here in Atlanta has a very successful record of trying such cases.
Nelson Tyrone handles Brain Injury, Spine Injury and RSD/CRPS cases throughout the United States. He involves only the top medical, rehabilitation and life-care plan experts in the field. His results on behalf of clients include several of the largest settlements and verdicts on record, and he was recently able to obtain a $13.9 million verdict, one of the largest in the state of Georgia, for a birth injury client in 2014.
You can reach us at 404-377-0017 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If we can't help you, we will do our best to put you into the hands of lawyers who can.