Thoracic Outlet Syndrome: What You Can Do!

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. License: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0Pain, numbness or tingling sensations in an arm can be caused by many different things. One common cause is a condition called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome or TOS. This is when the nerves and blood vessels that pass between the first two ribs and clavicle (collar bone become pinched irritated or injured.

Thoracic outlet syndrome can be caused by several different factors including: an extra rib, commonly called a cervical rib. Or an over tightness of the muscles in the front of the neck and upper chest. Those who have suffered a recent neck injury, such as a whiplash may also experience TOS.

Further, thoracic outlet syndrome can be caused or aggravated by poor upper back and neck posture, especially in the occupations that promote a slouching posture. Such jobs that require long hours at a computer or desk, assembly line positions or those that work as a supermarket cashier. Some sports are also prone to thoracic outlet syndrome, such as swimming, tennis, baseball pitchers and volleyball.

Thoracic outlet syndrome can present itself as are weakness, tingling, numbness or pain in the arm. The symptoms may begin in the neck or upper arm and develop slowly over time. They are often aggravated by lifting the arms over the head or long periods of working overhead.

Treating thoracic outlet syndrome should begin with conservative care, such as chiropractic. Through a detailed examination, the cause of the compression or irritation can be discovered and treated.

The chiropractic approach would include manipulation or adjustments of the neck, ribs or clavicle to open up the space the nerves and blood vessels travel through. Lifestyle modifications should also be discussed, such as how to sit a desk or computer as well as specific strengthening exercises to help correct the abnormal posture.

If you are experiencing pain or numbness down the arm, don’t delay treatment! The longer the compression of thoracic outlet syndrome lasts, the greater the chance of developing muscle weakness in the arm or hand.

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As a 1984 graduate of Life Chiropractic College, Dr. Martin Schmaltz has years of helping those who are experiencing pain, especially those in the extremities. He is board qualified in sports injury and has hours of training in treating extremity issues.