Erb’s Palsy (Obstetric Brachial Plexus Palsy)

Erb’s Palsy (Obstetric Brachial Plexus Palsy)



Erb’s Palsy (Obstetric Brachial Plexus Palsy)

What is Erb’s Palsy (Obstetric Brachial Plexus Palsy)?

Erb’s palsy is muscle weakness in the arm or shoulder normally occurring as a result of an injury sustained during the birth process. It can happen when the nerves in a baby’s neck get stretched during the birth and is usually identified soon after birth when a baby shows reduced movement range in an arm. It often occurs following shoulder dystocia, or if they needed ventouse or forceps assistance during their delivery.  

Some babies will recover spontaneously from this condition, whereas some babies will require specialist intervention to recover. In New Zealand, this is often covered on ACC. 

How can physiotherapy treat Erb’s Palsy?  

Physiotherapy for Erb’s Palsy is designed to protect and support a baby’s arm while those stretched nerves recover. Physios can provide a treatment programme that assists with maintaining a baby’s muscle flexibility and joint range of motion in their arm while providing parents and caregivers advice on positions and activities to promote their baby’s development.

How can we help? 

At Auckland Children’s Physiotherapy, we offer a holistic approach to your baby’s Erb’s Palsy treatment. As each baby’s recovery is unique, we start with an assessment and will design a personalised treatment plan from here. Our Erb’s treatment plans are designed to treat while maintaining your baby’s flexibility and joint range of motion in the affected arm. In more severe cases of Erb’s Palsy, we can work in parallel to other medical specialists to enable recovery. We can also offer additional treatment modalities such as functional electrical stimulation if your baby is older or support them post interventions such as botox. 

While intervention and treatment of Erb’s Palsy as an infant is key, we can offer assessment and input at any stage of your child’s journey regardless of their age. 

If your baby has been diagnosed with Erb’s Palsy or you have concerns they might have sustained an injury, we can help.


Written by Ruth Buckman

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Our practice philosophy is to promote strength and development through play and exercise. We provide a holistic and comprehensive approach that is backed by clinical experience. We can create a tailored individual program to be implemented at home, childcare or school to help meet your child and family’s goals.

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