Traumatic Injuries

Your arm is not working because you have some damage to the brachial plexus, the network of nerves that sends signals from the spine to the arm and hand. These signals cause the arm and hand muscles to move. (Brachial means arm, and plexus refers to a network of nerves.)

Pain sensations normally come from activity generated in terminals of certain sensory nerves. When these are stimulated, they respond by increasing their rate of activity.  The nervous system then interprets this as pain. If an injured area develops ongoing spontaneous activity the patient suffers “neuropathic pain”.   Neuropathic pain results from injury to the nerve and often persists long after healing. It is commonly described as a burning or stabbing pain, sometimes feeling like lightning.

There are several which look for sensory and motor changes in the affected limb. They include EMG (electromyography), which utilizes a needle electrode inserted into the muscle to measure the ability of the muscle to respond to the electrical impulse, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan and possibly CT Myelogram, where contrast dye is injected into the spine and scanned to see if there is leakage from the spine or other indicators of damage.  Surgical exploration may be scheduled to physically examine the extent of injury.

Many schools offer assistance with the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).  You can go to the counseling center at your school or university and get assistance there. They are people that can take notes for you and even write your exams.

Many have found that just asking for help is a challenge but in the long run, it makes things easier.  Usually you can be very creative and use your legs for many different things, your thighs can in a sense replace an arm for opening jars, or you can use your knees to hold something down to work on it.  There isn’t anything we can’t do; we just do them a bit differently!

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