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Parsonage-Turner syndrome is a relatively common condition characterized by inflammation of the network of nerves that control and supply (innervate) the muscles of the chest, shoulders, and arms (brachial plexus). Individuals with the condition first experience a sudden onset of severe pain across the shoulder and upper arm. The muscles of the affected shoulder show weakness, wasting (atrophy), and paralysis (atrophic paralysis) within a few hours or days of the onset of the disorder. Although individuals with the condition may experience paralysis of the affected areas that lasts for months or years in some cases, recovery is usually complete. The exact cause of Parsonage-Turner syndrome is not known.
Parsonage-Turner syndrome is a neuromuscular condition. It is characterized by the sudden (acute) onset of severe pain across the shoulder and upper arm due to inflammation of the group of nerves that control the muscles of the chest, shoulders, and arms (brachial plexus). In some cases, the pain may radiate down the arm and into the hand. The degree and intensity of the pain varies among those affected, so that some patients feel no pain but exhibit weakness of the muscles. Local pain around the shoulder girdle is the characteristic symptom. The pain may extend toward the elbow, but seldom beyond the elbow.
Within a few hours or days of the condition's onset, affected individuals may experience muscle weakness, wasting (atrophy), numbness (hyperesthesia), and paralysis of the muscles of the affected shoulder and, in rare cases, muscles of the hand and fingers. In some cases, the condition may affect both sides of the body (bilateral). People with this condition usually recover within a few months although symptoms may sometimes last for a few years. Recovery is usually complete.
The exact cause of Parsonage-Turner syndrome is not known. This disorder has been associated with bacterial or viral infections, particularly of the upper respiratory tract. Also implicated have been parasitic infections, surgery, vaccinations, childbirth, and various intrusive medical procedures such as lumbar puncture and X-ray opaque dyes. Some clinical-scientists believe that this may be an autoimmune disorder. Autoimmune disorders are caused when the body's natural defenses against "foreign" or invading organisms (e.g., antibodies) begin to attack healthy tissue for unknown reasons.
Parsonage-Turner syndrome may also arise as a result of another systemic illness, such as polyarteritis nodosa, lymphoma, systemic lupus erythematosis, temporal arthritis, and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
Parsonage-Turner syndrome can affect anyone, but is seen most often in young to middle aged adult males.
Symptoms of the following disorders can be similar to those of Parsonage- Turner syndrome. Comparisons may be useful for a differential diagnosis:
Peripheral neuropathy is a syndrome characterized by sensory, motor, reflex and blood vessel (vasomotor) symptoms. These symptoms can occur singly or in any combination. (For more information on this disorder, choose "Peripheral Neuropathy" as your search term in the Rare Disease Database.)
Lyme disease is a tick-transmitted inflammatory disorder characterized by an early focal lesion, and subsequently a growing red area on the skin (erythema chronicum migrans or ECM). The disorder may be followed weeks later by joint pain resembling arthritis and neurological or heart abnormalities. (For more information on this disorder, choose "Lyme" as your search term in the Rare Disease Database.)
Rheumatoid arthritis is a common disease that affects the joints. The exact cause is unknown although it is believed to be an autoimmune disorder. It is characterized by a loss of appetite, extreme fatigue and joint pain with deformities. The location of painful joints may change (migration). Very often more than one joint is affected. Pain, early morning stiffness, aching joints chiefly in the hands, knees, feet, jaw and spine occur. Once affected, a joint may remain painful for a long time and eventually become deformed. (For more information on this disorder, choose "Arthritis" as your search term in the Rare Disease Database.)
The diagnosis of Parsonage-Turner syndrome is made by exclusion. Many other syndromes mimic PTS. X-rays and MRI studies (magnetic resonance imaging studies) may be used in the process of exclusion.
There is no treatment specifically effective for PTS. Many patients will recover without any treatment. Physical therapy or surgery may be helpful for some people with this disorder. Other treatment is symptomatic and supportive.
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FROM THE INTERNET
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Report last updated: 2008/04/25 00:00:00 GMT+0