In the January 21, 2016, issue of the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health is a published case study of a baby girl suffering with Erb’s-Duchenne Palsy who completely recovered under chiropractic care. Erb’s-Duchenne Palsy is also known as Brachial plexus palsy or simply Erb’s Palsy.
According WebMD, “Brachial plexus palsy, also known as Erb’s palsy, is a paralysis or weakness of the arm caused by an injury to one or more nerves that control and supply the muscles of the shoulder and upper extremities (upper brachial plexus). It is more commonly seen in newborns (neonates) and is often the result of a difficult delivery.”
The authors of the study report that most of the cases of Erb’s Palsy are medically managed with either physiotherapy or surgery. The results of this care show that 30% recovered with minimal defects by six months of age, while 55% had moderate residual deficits by 12 months, and 15% had long-term significant handicaps.
In this case, a 5-month-old infant diagnosed with Erb’s Palsy was brought in for chiropractic evaluation. The mother reported a difficult delivery lasting 12 hours. She mentioned that during delivery the head and shoulders “got stuck.” Therefore, a vacuum extraction was performed. Immediately after birth, it was noticed that the infant had a diminished range of motion in her right arm and a diagnosis of Erb’s Palsy was made, and physiotherapy recommended. The therapy was not successful in helping the infant.
The chiropractic examination confirmed the severe lack of motion and care was initiated for correction of subluxations found in the infant girl’s spine. Specially modified chiropractic adjustments were used due to the infant’s size, age, and condition.
On the second visit, a slight improvement was noted in the range of motion of the infant’s arm. By the third visit, the change was even more noticeable and was confirmed by the physiotherapist who pointed out the improvement to the parents. By the seventh visit, the infant’s range of motion was much improved and the infant was observed using her right arm to reach for toys. On the ninth visit, the infant girl no longer had any noticeable difference in the range of motion between her right and left arm and was able to use both normally. A follow-up examination weeks later continued to show total recovery from her Erb’s Palsy.
In their conclusion the researchers stated, “This case chronicles the care and subsequent resolution of Erb-Duchenne Palsy in a five-month-old female with chiropractic care. This case report suggests that chiropractic care may be benefit infants with Erb-Duchenne Palsy.”