What is Brachialis ?
Brachialis is a muscle located at the upper arm. Brachialis muscle flexes the joint of the elbow and assists biceps branchii in this endeavor. It forms part of cubital fossa’s floor. This muscle has its origin in the humerus’ front lower half close to the deltoid muscle’s insertion. Brachialis muscle embraces the deltoid muscle in two processes.
Picture 1 – Brachialis
Source – edoctoronline
Note that the brachialis muscle does not participate in the forearms’ supination and pronation. This is because they do not insert in the radius.
Importance of Brachialis
The word ‘brachialis’ is a Latin word which implies ‘to the arm’. Irrespective of the grip that one is using during exercises, brachialis muscle has a key involvement in the elbow flexion. This therefore underlines the utility of the muscle in sports where pulling and grabbing are used. It also collaborates with the biceps brachii to create a crucial balance to the joint of the elbow especially for the people that use triceps brachii for overhead movements like hitting and throwing for example in handball and volleyball.
Working out the brachialis would have the implications of giving the biceps a larger appearance. In addition, it enhances the strength of the muscles thus allowing you to be in a position to lift increased weight especially in curling movements.
When looking into workouts that would enhance the strength of the brachialis muscle, it would be important that you incorporate brachialis exercises that are focused or concentration on the bicep set’s end. If this does not happen you would be risking having minimized grip strength via heavier loads of the other biceps. There are several brachialis exercises that you could undertake to enhance the strength of the brachialis including-
- Hammer curls – these should be performed with neutral grip. Every hand should be holding a dumbbell while the arms remain along the body sides. Curl the elbows in order to have both dumbbells raised. One dumbbell should be brought to the level of the shoulder then returned to the resting position. Let this motion be alternated between hands. It would be important that you try as much as you can to keep the upper arms immobile when you are performing the exercises. It is the focus on both the forearm and the elbow that engages the brachialis to a greater capacity thus helping in strengthening it.
- Upside down curls – you can load the straight barbell with half the weight that you would use for similar regular barbell curl sets. Grasp the barbell spacing the hands the length of the shoulder while the palms face the floor. Ensure that the elbows remain at the body sides while you move via the motion range for the common barbell curls. In this case, you will be focusing the load on the brachialis more given your hands’ angle as well as the enhanced difficulty of keeping the grasp.
- Thumbs-up curl – stand a foot away from the low-pulley machine. While keeping the upper arms and elbows close to the body sides, grasp the rope. Remember to keep the thumbs up too for the whole part of the exercises. The rope should be curled until the biceps become fully contracted. Go lower until the arms become fully extended. Repeat this exercise continuously and the many times that you can.
Brachial plexus are nerves that communicate between the shoulders and the spine. Many are the times when there is torn brachialis muscle there will be a lot of pain experienced. This is especially in contact sports though other sports can also cause it. You need to acknowledge that stretched nerves would heal by themselves while torn ones would necessitate surgical therapy.
What are the symptoms of brachialis nerves injury?
These symptoms have some great variations determined by the location as well as the severity of the brachialis muscle tear. In most cases, you will only have one arm affected.
For brachialis muscle strains that are less severe, you would experience burning sensation or electric shocks shooting down the arm. In addition, the arm may become weak and numb. In most cases these will not last long though it will vary with individuals. It mainly occurs in sports like wrestling or football which involve the stretching of the nerves.
Brachialis muscle Injury that are more severe incorporate rupturing or tearing of the nerves. The most severe injury of the nerves happens when the root of the nerves is ruptured from spinal cord. In this case, in these severe injuries, you would experience severe pain. you would not be able to use the fingers though you would still use the arms. In addition, you could be able to use the fingers though the elbow muscles and shoulders would still be in use.
You would need to appreciate the seriousness of the injury when you consider the fact that it can result to permanent disability or weakness. This therefore underlines the importance of seeking medical attention even when the injury seems to be minor.
Symptoms that may necessitate immediate medical attention include neck pain persistent stingers and burners, having both arms and fingers weak or having both of them exhibit the symptoms.
What are the causes brachialis injury?
There are several things that would result to damaged brachial plexus. This is mainly when you force down the shoulder and the neck draws out from the shoulder that has been injured. This can occur in a number of ways
- Trauma – these include animal bites, knife or bullet wounds as well as injuries from vehicular accidents. These would cause damage to the nerves.
- Sports – contact sports are known to stretch the nerves beyond the limit. This is especially in contact sports when the players collide with each other.
- Difficult births – this is the case with newborns when the mother has problems giving birth like prolonged labor etc. in most cases, it is the upper nerves that are injured though both lower and upper nerves can be damaged.
What complications are there for brachialis muscle injury?
It would be important to acknowledge that in many cases, injuries of the brachial plexus will heal by itself without no permanent damage. However, some of these injuries may result in permanent problems in which case it would be important to seek immediate medical attention.
Some of the complications involved include chronic pain, complete loss of the sense of feeling, stiff joints as well as muscle atrophy. Muscle atrophy is a situation where the muscles degenerate due to lack of use as nerves that grow slowly take long to regenerate.
In other cases, the injury may result in permanent disability. You would acknowledge that the pace and quality of recovery will be dependent on numerous factors like the location of the injury and its severity as well as type, age and general state of health. You need to note that permanent disability can occur even when you have undergone surgery. This disability ranges from weakness of the arms, shoulders and hands to paralysis of the same.
What are the tests involved in diagnosing brachial plexus injury?
Diagnosis of the injury of brachial plexus is done using a number of tests. These help in determining the severity and the extent of the brachialis muscle injury. They include :
- Magnetic resonance imaging - this incorporates the use of radio waves as well a strong magnetic fields to evaluate the structures of the muscles. This shows the severity of the damage to brachial plexus. These tests help in determining whether the nerves have been severely disengaged from the spinal cord.
- Electromyography – this test is conducted to determine the health of nerves that aid in the movement of the muscles. Minute needle electrodes will be inserted via the skin to the muscle then the patient is told to contract the muscle. This causes the generation of a certain level of electrical activity. It is this electrical activity that gives information on the response of the muscle to nerve stimulation. You will acknowledge however that you would feel pain with electrode insertion though it does not have to be uncomfortable.
How is the injury of brachialis muscle tear treated?
Control of pain
It would be imperative that proper control of the pain is undertaken. You will acknowledge that the pain can really be overwhelming. In this endeavor, you could make use of anticonvulsants or antidepressants. In addition, you could make use of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, a device which involves the use of electrodes which are attached to the skin in order to provide nerve pathways with electrical impulses thus relieving the pain.
Transfer of muscles
In this case, the surgeon would remove a tendon or muscle that is less important from other body parts then transfers it to the arm. This is especially in case of deterioration of the arm muscles.
Depending on the severity of the brachialis muscle injury, the nerves would actually heal by themselves especially when they have only been stretched and not torn. However, you would note that the process of healing may sometimes bring about scar tissues which have to be removed in order to enhance the functioning of the nerves. This is especially in cases where the nerves incorporate considerable scar tissues, have been torn or cut.
Written by Anju Mathew
on July 25th, 2011. The article was last updated on July 25th, 2011