Parsonage Turner Syndrome

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

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It is possible that the main title of the report Parsonage Turner Syndrome is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.


  • Acute Brachial Neuritis
  • Brachial Neuritis
  • Brachial Plexus Neuritis
  • Brachial Plexus Neuropathy
  • Idiopathic Brachial Plexus Neuropathy
  • Neuralgic Amyotrophy
  • PTS

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion


Parsonage-Turner syndrome (PTS) is an uncommon neurological disorder characterized by rapid onset of severe pain in the shoulder and arm. This acute phase may last for a few hours to a few weeks and is followed by wasting and weakness of the muscles (amyotrophy) in the affected areas. PTS involves the brachial plexus, the networks of nerves that extend from the spine through the neck, into each armpit and down the arms. These nerves control movements and sensations in the shoulders, arms, elbows, hands, and wrists. The exact cause of PTS is unknown, but it is believed to be caused by an abnormality of the immune system (immune-mediated disorder). The severity of the disorder can vary widely from one individual to another due, in part, to the specific nerves involved. Affected individuals may recover without treatment, meaning that strength returns to the affected muscles and pain goes away. However, individuals may experience recurrent episodes. Some affected individuals may experience residual pain and potentially significant disability.


The initial descriptions of this disorder in the medical literature date back to the late 1800s. In 1948, Drs. Parsonage and Turner were the first physicians to describe a large series of patients. They termed the disorder ‘amyotrophic neuralgia'. There is an extremely rare, inherited form known as hereditary neuralgic amyotrophy, on which NORD has a separate report. Sometimes PTS is referred to as idiopathic neuralgic amyotrophy to distinguish it from the genetic form and to denote that the cause is unknown. However, usually PTS is simply referred to as neuralgic amyotrophy. PTS can be broadly classified as a form of peripheral neuropathy or disorder of the peripheral nervous system, which encompasses any disorder that primarily affects the nerves outside the central nervous system (i.e. brain and spinal cord).

Supporting Organizations

American Autoimmune & Related Diseases

22100 Gratiot Ave.
Eastpointe, MI 48021
Tel: (586)776-3900
Fax: (586)776-3903
Tel: (800)598-4668

AutoImmunity Community


Center for Peripheral Neuropathy

University of Chicago
5841 South Maryland Ave, MC 2030
Chicago, IL 60637
Tel: (773)702-5659
Fax: (773)702-5577

Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy

485 Half Day Road
Suite 200
Buffalo Grove, IL 60089
Tel: (847)883-9942
Fax: (847)883-9960
Tel: (877)833-9942

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311

NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

P.O. Box 5801
Bethesda, MD 20824
Tel: (301)496-5751
Fax: (301)402-2186
Tel: (800)352-9424

Neuropathy Association

60 East 42nd Street
Suite 942
New York, NY 10165
Tel: (212)692-0662
Fax: (212)692-0668

Neuropathy Trust

PO Box 26
Cheshire, CW5 5FP
United Kingdom
Tel: 4401270611828

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site or email

Last Updated:  12/22/1969
Copyright  2014 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.