Are you having pain and weakness down your arm? Are you frustrated because you have tried everything to help and nothing is working ? So often I get a patients either referred to me for neck pain or misdiagnosed from another clinician, whom are suffering from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. This condition is often missed by Physicians who are attributing pain in the neck, shoulder region and arm to disc issues in the cervical spine. Physicians often think that if there is radiation of pain, weakness, and numbness/tingling down the arm then there must be a herniation. The truth is….very often this is not the source of the problem with neck and arm pain. Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is a condition that very often contributes to these same symptoms and it can be misdiagnosed for this reason. It is also commonly diagnosed as “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.” This condition is becoming more and more common as we see people assume poor posture. The forward position of the head and neck and the roundedness of the shoulders contributes to this condition. As the nerve roots exit the neck, they combine with other nerve roots to form nerves. These “nerves” travel from the neck into the front of the shoulder and down the arm to the tips of your fingers. Running along those nerves are arteries and veins that also run the same pathway. Just a quick bit of knowledge…”nerves” send and receive information to our muscles to make them move, “arteries” bring clean blood to the extremities and “veins” take dirty blood away from the extremities. As the nerves, arteries and veins travel along the pathway from the neck to the shoulder they can get “compressed” in between the neck muscles, under the collar bone or under the Pecs.
Symptoms of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome include: pain down the arm, weakness in the elbow, wrist and fingers, numbness and tingling, cold hands, discoloration of the fingers, weak pulse, and fatigue in the arm. Treatment includes soft tissue mobilization/ massage, stretching, joint mobilization, postural training and stabilization exercises, strengthening exercises and modalities such as ice, heat, electrical stimulation as needed for pain. Once this condition is identified it is actually quite easy to fix! If you or someone you know is having any of these symptoms make an appointment with your local Physical Therapist and get Fixed ASAP! You can make an appointment directly with a Physical Therapist without a need for a prescription from your Physician. We want to help you get pain free and back to the things you love to do!
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