Your friendly Chiropractor in Chandler AZ, Dr. Dan Rae, is back at the computer this afternoon to talk about a condition that I do not see a ton of in my office, but I do see it. Today, we will be reviewing a condition called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS). This is actually one of the first conditions I ever treated when working in the student clinic back in chiropractic school.
In the image above from the UNC School of Medicine a portion of the nervous system called the brachial plexus as well as a small portion of the vascular system that supports the arm. TOS is a condition that can be caused by either a compression of the brachial plexus and/or the subclavian/axillary arteries at various sites as the travel into the arm. There are several common sites of compression including an elongated transverse process of the C7 vertebra referred to as a cervical rib, the scalene muscles, the costoclavicular area (between the ribs and the collar bone), and the subcoracoid area (between a portion of the shoulder blade and the pectoralis minor). Muscular compression between the scalenes or with the pectoralis minor is believed to be due to tight muscles (forward head and rounded shoulders posture) as I addressed previously in my article on Postural Syndrome.
The patients generally come into my office with diffuse arm symptoms, including numbness and tingling in the arms or hands. May times they will draw a line down the inside of his or her arm to the little and ring fingers. Most of them will say that it is made worse with overhead activity.
Treatment for TOS can generally be treated with postural correction almost identical to those used with Postural Syndrome or Upper Crossed Syndrome. Soft-tissue therapies such as Active Release Technique (ART) and Graston Technique are applied to the tightened muscles decrease muscular tightness and prevent chronic shortening of the muscles. Strengthening exercises are prescribed for the weakened muscles. Kinesiology Tape is applied as a postural correction, and when possible the patient is transitioned into postural corrective shirt known as a Posture Shirt. Chiropractic Care is also necessary for treatment of TOS especially manipulation of the 1st rib.
If you are experiencing numbness and/or tingling in your arms and/or hands, call my office today (480) 366-4041. We can Help!