Arm pain, tingling and numbness can have several causes of origin. A common one that responds phenomenally to chiropractic care is Thoracic Outlet Syndrome aka T.O.S. Does this sound like you? Let’s learn about #thoracicoutletsyndrome !!!
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is a condition that presents with arm pain, tingling, numbness and sometimes fatigue or weakness while performing activity. These symptoms are caused by compression of the nerves, arteries and veins traveling from the neck and upper torso into the arm. The space these vessels travel through is called the thoracic outlet, you can think of it as a tunnel of sorts. The tunnel, when all is well, has no impingement upon the vessels that travel through it. When posture and lifestyle cause changes in the muscles and ergonomics surrounding the tunnel, the tunnel narrows. When the tunnel narrows one or more of the structures passing through it can become compressed. Think of this as a lane of traffic being shut down in the tunnel. Which makes everyone else mad! Depending which "lane" is compressed, will determine how the symptoms present. Depending where the "lane" is compressed will dictate where the symptoms appear.
The scalene muscles attach from the lower cervical vertebra to the 1st rib. They are a group of 3; anterior, middle and posterior. The "lanes", the neurovascular bundle, pass in between the scalenes at the base of the neck. Tightness of these muscles is usually the cause. We can determine which scalene is involved by positional aggravations of the symptoms. Check out the slides on scalenes for more information on orthopedic testing and treatment techniques.
The clavicle is the next site of potential complication. The "tunnel" travels underneath the clavicle and between the rib cage. Dislocation, previous fracture with bony overgrowth, and most commonly POSTURE cause compression at this site. Rounded shoulders, upper crossed syndrome, from desk work bring the clavicle forward and down closing off the tunnel as it presses against the upper rib cage. See the slides below for additional information and treatment technique.
The pectoralis minor muscle is also affected by poor posture. Tightness and shortness are again found in those with rounded shoulders, upper crossed syndrome desk workers. This change compresses the "tunnel" as it passes behind the pec minor muscle, just before the neurovascular bundle reaches the arm. Raising the arm up and out to the side usually brings on the arm symptoms if this is the area of involvement. See the slides below for how we treat pec minor tightness.
*If you are experiencing arm tingling, numbness, sharp shooting pain, fatigue or weakness you should seek consultation more quickly. When nerves are compressed and ultimately damaged for a long duration, the likelihood of recovery decreases. Do not prolong seeking care, especially if weakness, and muscle atrophy are present.
Call or book online for consultation of T.O.S.!
Dr. Allison Fleming and