Pain is a very complex experience as we all know and we can never truly feel another’s pain but we have understood that there are different kinds of pain. We call pain that comes from damage to an organ as nociceptive pain- this is what we all know of as pain. There is thought another kind of pain that we call neuropathic pain. If we think of nociceptive pain as the body burglar alarm going off because there is an intruder, then neuropathic pain is the detector system malfunctioning and the alarm going off for no real reason. The end result though is the same, the alarm bell rings- ie. you feel pain.
Neuropathic pain is often felt as being electric or stabbing or hot or cold (or many other differing kinds of pain) and the area it is felt in often helps with making the diagnosis.
The first thing to say is many children with Obstetric brachial plexus palsy (OBPP or Erbs palsy) is that many make a good recovery. It is important though that you get the correct information about what is likely to help this recovery and what to watch out for and to recognise when treatment is in your child’s best interest. I would ideally like to meet you, your partner and your child at around week 8. This is so I can examine your child and explain the problems to then be able to order nerve test (neurophysiology) if necessary when your child is 3 months old. Then from this point when I have an idea of the change over time, the current situation and the information from the nerves and muscles I can offer you my fully considered opinion.
At The Bolsover Street clinic we have a full multidisciplinary team of nurses, physiotherapists occupational therapists, radiologists, orthotists and contact with Pain teams, Quantitative Sensory testing, neurophysiology and pyschology services. We can arrange all of these services often on the same day as clinic.
I know they are often a drag but seeing as they pay the bills and don’t get out much, it is nice to bring them along. In all seriousness if you are over 18 then of course there is no need but for those under 16 is it completely necessary for those between 16 and 18 just grin and bear it and bring them along- they might take you for lunch or shopping after the clinic!
This is not an easy question to give an answer to, it all depends on the type of nerve injury and how long ago it was. There are some kinds of nerve injury that do get better all by its self. Others will need surgery. It is this important difference that we will tease out in clinic ,it may be that we need some more tests to help us make this diagnosis but often it is clear from the story and by examining you. Some nerve injuries can take over a year to start to get better and then might not ever get completely better. Others will return to full function with in a few weeks – so somewhere between the two is the answer.
More questions and answers will be posted to this page on a regular basis, so please check back soon for more information. In the meantime, feel free to complete the enquiry form above with questions of your own. Or contact me directly via the contact page.