Thoracic Outlet Syndrome: an often-overlooked auto injury.

Thoracic outlet syndromeMany victims suffer pain, tingling or numbness in the arm or hand after an auto accident. Typically, they think there injury injury to the nerves of the neck. In many instances, these symptoms are not due to a neck injury, but a condition called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS).

The symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) may be tingling, pain, numbness or a cold sensation primarily in the lower arms or hands. Thoracic outlet syndrome is a pinching of the nerves and blood vessels passing between the first two ribs and clavicle (collar bone). Regarding auto collisions, pinching can be related to two types of injury.

What Causes Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

First, injury to the neck muscles can cause a pinching. The impact whips the head straining neck muscles, especially those on the side of the neck. These muscles then become inflamed or swollen and spasm, narrowing the opening where the nerves and blood vessels enter the shoulder.

Second, in many collisions, the victim is thrown forward against the shoulder belt. As the shoulder belt jerks tight, the collar bone is compressed against the first rib, pinching the nerves and blood vessels underneath. In either case, the pinching can then lead to the symptoms of TOS.

Because symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome are similar pinched nerves in the neck or carpal tunnel syndrome, a thorough examination is necessary. Automatically assuming it is a pinched nerve in the neck and lead to a delayed recovery.

If you are experiencing thoracic outlet type symptoms after an auto collision, don’t delay in seeking help. Consider chiropractic care, a non-surgical, drug free alternative to medical care.

If you have symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome after an auto injury, consider contacting a chiropractor for help. Your chiropractor can identify the root source of your pain and develop a treatment plan to reclaim your health.

As a 1984 graduate of Life Chiropractic College, Dr. Martin Schmaltz has years of helping those who have been injured, especially those with arm or shoulder injury. He is board qualified in sports injury and has hours of training in treating extremity issues.

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