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What are some specific exercise for brachial plexus surgery?

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Exercises for recovering patients who have undergone brachial plexus surgery include crunches and other abdominal exercises and cardiac exercises. Controlled deep breathing is often the first exercise for patients who have had nerve grafts from a nerve that connected to the chest muscles, according to the Hospital for Special Surgery. Patients can also lift weights or try resistive activities or aquatic therapy, states the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

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Full Answer

If patients are unable to move their own arms, exercise may involve therapists, caregivers or trained family members moving the patients' arms for them to prevent muscle atrophy and swelling. Physical therapists may also have the patient place the affected arm behind a mirror that the therapist has angled to reflect the healthy arm, explains the Hospital for Special Surgery. The patient then practices moving the healthy arm while observing it in the mirror on the opposite side to trick the brain into reestablishing connection.

Patients may have to wear a wrist splint to hold the wrist in a natural position during recovery. Patients may use a biofeedback device, which measures muscle contractions through an electrode on the skin. This allows therapists to gauge progress and provides positive feedback to recovering patients when it is difficult to see muscle movement, according to the Hospital for Special Surgery. Recovery can be slow for recovering patients, with positives results sometimes only appearing six months to a year after the surgery, and full recovery can take years to achieve.

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