1/04/2019

How is Erbs Palsy Treated


Erb’s palsy is a condition caused by damage to the nerves of a baby’s upper arm as a result of trauma to the arm during birth. This most commonly occurs when a baby’s shoulder becomes obstructed by the mother’s pelvis, preventing the baby from being delivered normally, and inappropriate force is used by medical staff to rectify the problem.

The condition can lead to either full or partial paralysis of the affected arm, but in most cases, the damage can be repaired or significantly reduced if the right treatment is provided. The first year after the baby is born is usually the most critical period for treatment, but some children will need ongoing treatment for a number of years. Treatment can include surgery and/or various therapeutic approaches, depending on the circumstances.

Surgical treatment for Erb’s palsy

For the most severe injuries, where nerves are badly torn or completely severed, it may be necessary to graft a healthy nerve onto the damaged nerve to restore function to the arm. This will involve taking a non-essential nerve from elsewhere in the body to act as a replacement.

If carried out effectively, this type of nerve graft can be a very effective treatment for even serious cases of Erb’s palsy, allowing the affected child to recover significant movement and sensation in their injured arm.

Therapeutic treatments for Erb’s palsy

Various types of therapy may be used where the damage is less severe or following a nerve graft for more serious cases. In many cases, several different types of therapy may be used at different points to achieve the best results for your child.

Physiotherapy

This will generally focus on exercises to help your child improve their arm’s range of motion, assist with preventing stiffness and pain, and stimulate sensation. Physiotherapy may only be needed during the first year of a child’s life or it may be required for several years.

Hydrotherapy

This is an increasingly common option for babies with Erb’s palsy, involving carrying out physiotherapy exercises in water. This can offer the same benefits as standard physiotherapy, while also reducing stress on a child’s body because of the support provided by the water. This additional support can help reduce issues such as spasms, which can sometimes occur during physiotherapy.

Occupational therapy

This approach involves parents learning techniques to protect their baby’s arm during normal daily tasks such as feeding and changing. Parents may also be given physiotherapy exercises to carry out with their child at home to boost their recovery between sessions of physiotherapy or hydrotherapy.

Funding treatment for Erb’s palsy

While some of the treatment needed for Erb’s palsy can be accessed through the NHS, many children require various types of therapy and support that may need to be funded privately. Claiming compensation is often the only way many parents can afford the help their child needs, so where Erb’s palsy has been caused by medical negligence, this is an option worth exploring.

 IBB Claims Solicitors special in all types of medical negligence claims, including for birth injuries such as Erb’s palsy. Having this type of expert and experienced legal advice can make it much easier to pursue a claim and give you the best chance of securing a fair outcome, ensuring your child has all the support they need for their recovery.

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