The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a case study on May 30, 2019, documenting the resolution of Brachial Plexus Palsy in an infant who had the condition from birth. The authors of the study report that neonatal brachial plexus palsy (NBPP) affects between 0.4 and 2.6 percent of infants born in the United States.
Medline of the U.S. National Library of Medicine describes this situation, “The brachial plexus is a group of nerves around shoulder. A loss of movement or weakness of the arm may occur if these nerves are damaged. This injury is called neonatal brachial plexus palsy (NBPP).” They further note, “The nerves of the brachial plexus can be affected by compression inside the mother’s womb and during a difficult delivery.”
In this case, a 14-day-old male infant was brought to the chiropractor by his parents. The infant’s right arm was limp and practically non-functional. It was reported that the infant was born via a difficult cesarean section in which the parents describe that “a lot of tugging” was involved. The hospital staff informed the parents that their baby’s left arm was pulled during the delivery, not his right arm. Due to the awareness of trauma during the birth, x-rays were taken to look for fractures or dislocations. The results of all images were determined to be normal.
Upon examination, it was noted that the infant’s right arm was weaker with less muscle tone as compared to his left. When sitting in a car seat, the baby’s right arm would just hang by his side. When his right arm was moved, it appeared to be much weaker than the left, cause the baby pain and he would cry. Palpation of the infant’s spine led to the determination that a subluxation of the top bone in the neck, the atlas vertebrae, was present.
A specific and age appropriate adjustment was applied to the infant’s neck at the atlas. Immediately, and to the astonishment of the parents, muscle tone began to return to their baby’s right arm. The baby was brought back to the chiropractor two days later at which time 90% of his muscle tone had returned. A second chiropractic adjustment was applied at that time. Four days later, the child was again brought back to the chiropractor and it was reported that the infant had regained 100% function in his right arm.
In the conclusion to this study, the authors wrote, “This case report provides supporting evidence that infants presenting with brachial plexus injury due to birth trauma may benefit from chiropractic care.”