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Nerve Root Injury and Plexus Disorders (including Pinched Nerve)

Nerve root injuries occur from either the pinching of a nerve on the same side the neck is extended/ flexed or the stretching of the nerve on the opposite side of where the neck is extended/ flexed. Symptoms include sharp, burning pain that may radiate into the shoulder and down the arm to the hand. The symptoms only occur on one side and may include weakness and numbness or tingling in the involved extremity for several seconds to minutes. Raising the arm, flexing the elbow, and rotating the arm outwards may be restricted as a result of motor weakness.  Conservative treatment consists of possibly a neck brace and medication.

Plexus disorders are typically due to physical compression or injury. Since a large number of nerve roots intertwine within the plexus, the symptom pattern does not fit the distribution of individual roots or nerves.  Conditions of the caudal brachial plexus affect the hands, those of the rostral brachial plexus affect the shoulders, and those of the lumbosacral plexus affect the legs.  Signs of plexus disorders include motor or sensory deficits or extremity pain that does not correspond to an isolated nerve root or peripheral nerve distribution.

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