There is Relief For Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Thoracic outlet syndrome, also known as TOS, is a condition that can cause a lot of pain and result in limited movement of the shoulder region. It’s actually 3 different conditions which consists of costoclavicular syndrome, pectoralis minor syndrome and anterior scalene syndrome.

They are all put together under the TOS category because they are all considered entrapment syndromes of the bundle of nerves called the brachial plexus and the subclavian artery. They are both located in the area that the upper body or thorax exits or outlets in the upper extremities.
This can result in a nerve or vascular impingement or both in the shoulder region.

Assessment is key to proper treatment and recovery
It’s very important to determine the specific region that is causing the impingement for an effective treatment approach. That’s why you need to go to a practitioner that has the knowledge and experience to make the proper assessment.

Going to any massage therapist isn’t going to cut it. You need to find one that has training and experience in orthopedic massage and also can work with other health care practitioners, including a chiropractor that may have previously assessed the condition.

Signs and symptoms of TOS may include:

  • Parathesia in the hand. Most common area that is affected is the forearm, index and little fingers
  • Inflammation, edema and a puffiness in the hand or arm
  • Atrophy of hand muscles in cases of chronic conditions
  • Pain in neck region
  • Heaviness and dull or shooting pains in the arms

What are some causes of TOS?

  • Disc problems such as degeneration, bulging and herniation
  • Tense and shortened scalene muscles located on the anterior and medial side of the neck that can entrap the brachial plexus or the subclavian artery
  • Pectoralis minor muscle shortening and tightness
  • Extra first rib
  • Fibrositis in the shoulder and cervical area
  • Cervical vertebrae bone spurs
  • Whiplash injuries
  • Older fractures that cause limited space in the area
  • Postural problems that cause muscle imbalances and impingement
  • Lost curvature in the neck

How can a massage therapist help TOS?
If you go to a massage therapist trained in orthopedic massage, you will be properly assessed and treated properly. Treatment objectives are to release the adhesions that are causing the entrapment as well as reduce contractures and muscle spasms also causing the entrapment of the nerve.

–A therapist will perform work on all of the shoulder muscles as well as the upper back and neck. These muscles include:

  • Trapezius
  • SCM
  • Scalenes
  • Rhomboids
  • Pectoralis major and minor

This is usually accomplished through trigger point therapy and specific muscle stretching techniques.

–The next step is to correct all the postural deviations. This is where the expertise of assessment and experience comes in to observe the body and see how the neck and shoulder are affected by the lower body.

–Finally, it’s important to increase awareness and reeducate for optimal posture.

This type of condition requires a series of treatments and home care is also a crucial key to ultimate success. It is possible to successfully recover from TOS with the right type of muscle work. Get your life back and stop suffering from pain and limited range of motion.