Thoracic Outlet Syndrome 2017-11-13T18:38:20+00:00

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

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Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) is a pain syndrome that often affects the upper limbs. There is usually sharp, burning or stabbing pain in side of the neck, the chest area below the collarbone, the upper back, or in the shoulder blade region. Oftentimes people will also experience a loss of sensation or numbness and tingling in the arms, and hands. There can also be accompanied muscle weakness in the arm and hands. Some people who are more prone to developing TOS are people who have bad posture at a computer for extended period of time, athletes who frequently raise their arms above their heads, and those suffering neck injuries in auto accidents.

Types of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

  • The first type is called Neurogenic TOS, which is usually caused by compression on nerves running between the neck region and shoulder region called the brachial plexus. When these nerves are compressed, they will not send the necessary signals they are supposed to. This can lead to a loss of muscle function as well as a feeling of numbness and tingling along the nerves path. Tight muscles or muscles in spasm can cause compression on the nerve bundle as can structural abnormalities such as cervical ribs or first rib dysfunction. Neurogenic TOS is the most common type of TOS.

  • The second type of TOS is called Arterial TOS, which is due to compression of the Subclavian Artery.

  • Venous TOS is the third type and is caused by compression of the Subclavian Vein.

If you are experiencing symptoms that may be similar to TOS, it is important to get those diagnosed by a healthcare professional. Diagnosis is made after a complete history and examination including any relevant testing that may need to be performed. Special orthopedic testing may be performed, X-ray evaluation and in some rare instances, referral for MRI. Typically TOS will respond favorably to conservative care.

Chiropractic Treatment For TOS

At L.I.F.T. Chiroprctic, our doctors will typically treat a patient using soft tissue techniques such as Graston, or massage therapy to help relax any tightened tissues. Manipulative techniques to correct any structural abnormalities will also be used. Physical therapy to stretch tight muscles and strengthen weak muscles will also be a key component of treatment. In some extreme cases of TOS, surgery may be warranted to decompress any constricted structures, but surgery is the last resort should conservative care not relieve you of your symptoms. If you think that TOS may be a condition you are suffering from, don’t hesitate to contact one of the chiropractors at Mountain View Pain Center in Centennial, Aurora, or Littleton.

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