Thoracic Outlet Syndrome After Auto Injury

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome: Not your typical arm pain

A common symptom experienced after an auto injury is arm pain or numbness which is typically attributed to irritation or pinching of a nerve in the lower part of the neck. This may be the case for many, but not all!

Another cause of this numbness or pain is compression of the nerves or blood vessels in an area just out side the spine between the collar bone and the first rib. This space is called the thoracic outlet and when there is compression of the nerves and blood vessels passing through the area, it is called thoracic outlet syndrome.

thoracic_outlet_syndromeThoracic outlet syndrome after an auto injury typically happens when the victim is stopped and another vehicle strikes their car from behind. This force throws the head back and stretches the muscle of the front and side of the neck. These muscles become stretched and damage causing them to bleed, swell and spasm or shorten in length. When this happens, it narrows the thoracic outlet, compressing the nerves and blood vessels that pass through resulting in pain, numbness, weakness and or coldness in the arm and fingers.

A thorough history of how the collision happened as well as detailed examination are necessary to diagnose thoracic outlet syndrome after auto injury. For those physicians who do not treat a lot of auto injury patients, it can be too easy to assume the cause is the nerves of the neck. This can delay the appropriate treatment and relief.

Treating thoracic outlet syndrome after auto injury requires a detailed plan. Proper care should include specific exercise routines, postural changes, work place modification and chiropractic adjustments of the neck, shoulder or ribs is essential.

Since graduating in 1984, Dr. Schmaltz has years of experience treating auto injury patients. He has spent countless hours studying the various injuries associated with auto collisions and is highly skilled in their diagnosis and treatment. If you are experiencing arm pain or numbness and have been involved in an auto injury,  give us a call at (314) 731-4383 or CLICK HERE to call us and make an appointment.