Need medical information (not for me)

Please, could those Dopers in the medical profession recommend a book or a website that would give information about the effects of a blow to the shoulder delivered with brass knuckles? To wit, I am interested in whether such a blow would:
Cause severe numbness severe enough to make the arm almost useless?
Could this numbness, possibly in a lesser form, persist for a week?
Would ministration to the shoulder immediately after the injury by a woman who isn’t a trained professional, but has gentle, deft fingers, cause pain enough to make a man want to scream with pain?
Could it cause massive internal damage and broken bones?

Thank you very much for your kind attention

BTW, friendly moderators, I am not violating board rules. This is not for a living person. I am writing a novel

Let me put it this way to you. My friend was killed with a blow to the back of the head by brass knuckles.

So I would say it is definitely plausible that someone would experience numbness after being hit with them.

I googled “nerve damage shoulder injury” and got this as the first hit: Shoulder injury w/nerve damage? - Orthopedics - MedHelp

  • the method of injury is different (Fall of a bike vs brass knuckles) but any hard-enough blow might have a similar effect. If you were describing a genuine situation I’d advise whomever is involved to see a doctor YESTERDAY for this (though I see you’ve stated it is fictional).

Re internal damage - I suppse if the shoulder were hit hard enough it might cause problems with whatever organs are on the affected side, but I suspect such an injury would be VERY obvious (shoulder obviously broken in other words).

Thanks for the tip, Mama Zappa, it never occured to me to google for general nerve damage. I shall have to plug that in tomorrow.

Thanks forgottenstar and I’m sorry about your friend. I hope whoever did it got a very lengthy prison sentence.

I’ve got experience in the hitting people, and getting hit department. Does that count?

The maximum damage you described would be difficult to achieve, anyone powerful enough to break an arm like that would be able to knock him out barefisted. Shoulders are routinely used to absorb hits in combat sports, especially boxing…well, more deflect, but they do get hit, and apart from thighs they have the best protected bones.

The numbing thing, sure… sufficient hit to the brachial plexus will render the entire arm numb instantly… and probably be a pain in the neck too (pun intended). That’s usually a fight ender, the arm is useless for a while.

Enduring numbness, again, it’s possible; A pinched nerve will cause numbness, tingling, loss of motor control… it’s usually due to compression of the nerve from swelling in the surrounding tissue. Damage to the actual nerve is also possible, but I got the impression you’re looking to have it clear in a week or so? Damage to the nerve itself tends to take longer to heal, that is if it heals at all.

As for screaming… that’s sort of individual. If there isn’t a jagged piece of broken bone poking under the skin, I would guess no. Let’s put it this way, I once jumped out of a helicopter… and landed badly (“knee… meet rock”-badly). Snapped the ACL, fractured the patella, crushed the prepatellar bursa, and tore the MCL in half. I didn’t scream when someone grabbed the knee to check what was wrong with it (and definitely not gently)… I grayed out, and seriously considered shooting him… but no screaming.

If I might make a suggestion? If you’re not too set on the shoulder… you should take a look at rib injuries. A fractured rib would work better. There’s even scalability of injury, from a single rib injury, which is endurable and will heal quickly all the way to multiple lung penetrating broken ribs causing internal bleeding that requires hospitalization. Taping up broken ribs hurts, and can be done at the home in emergencies (or just to show masculine bravado). Also ribs would make for a natural target for brass knuckles, they’d give the attacker just that extra hardness to ensure damage.

…just saying, is all.:slight_smile:

Hey -

I see you’ve got some great help here already, but I thought I’d pass the following on.

There’s a great Livejournal community you might like for writers who are looking for info like this for their stories. LITTLE DETAILS

It’s fascinating to browse, lots of good info there.

I can’t even begin to tell you how disappointed I am that’s not a picture of your knee or, at the very least, a cool x-ray or something. :confused:

“Internal damage” is normally used to refer to “damage of organs inside the torso”, rather than “damage of things inside the skin”: in its usual sense, a blow to the shoulder wouldn’t be damaging internal organs (whereas GHO57’s suggestion of ribs would be perfect for that). It can break the bones: IANAD, but I understand that injuries at the joints take longer to heal and heal worse than long-bone injuries. A blow to the shoulder area could produce a clean break of the collarbone (a literal pain in the neck, but it heals well) or humerus (the bone in the upper arm, also heals well) or a mess at the actual joint (and you’re looking at a long time unable to use that arm, followed by enough rehab that even the cat at the rehab center ends up being on a firstname basis with you).

A sharp blow with brass nuck’s concentrates force into small area with a very hard material and can easily numb an arm and shoulder short term. Bone fracture could occur as well, that’s why they wear shoulder pads in football. Tyrell Biggs, a heavyweight boxer once suffered a broken clavicle in fight. Long term nerve damage could occur as well, but would be less common since nerves are usually well protected by bone and tissue. Tissue swelling or bone fracture would be a more likely cause of long term nerve damage than the force of the blow. Massive internal damage could also occur if major blood vessels are damaged, but this is also unlikely. As far as immediate gentle ministration to the injury causing pain, that runs counter to the numbness, so you’ll have to choose one. But if she has gentle deft fingers, I’d point out some injuries to other parts of my body. Also, real men never scream from pain. Extreme pain may cause anger though, which can lead to a lot of yelling.

GHO57: I am set on the shoulder, as the following week the protagonist will go out on a date with the woman he fled the fight with and they will work a manual shift together, he pressing in the clutch and she doing the shifting. It’s rather a charming image and I think I’ll keep it. I actually didn’t want him to suffer any internal injuries as that would interfere seriously with the plot. There are a great many things he must accomplish in that fictional month including knocking up the novel’s heroine.
BTW, remind me never to piss you off. :smiley:

GythaOgg: Thanks for the tip. I shall check out that site ASAP.

TriPolar: Damn, I am going to have to do some rewriting tonight. Thanks for the advice.

Nava: Thank you for clarifying the internal injury. I don’t think I will have the blow break the protagonist’s shoulder as he is just up against a drunken country tough.

Thanks again, one and all.

Unless your story is set in England or some other place where they drive on the wrong side, an injury to his right shoulder which prevents him from shifting, would probably have to be delivered by someone’s left hand or from behind. A right handed punch wouldn’t like impact much force to a facing person’s right shoulder unless he was turning into the punch.

Tri-Polar: The novel is set almost entirely in Southern Indiana

In that case, your protaganist has probably been hit in the shoulder with a Bible.