Thoracic outlet syndrome

Thoracic outlet syndrome is actually made up from a group of disorders that revolves around the nerves that run from the back of your neck down into your arms. This cluster of nerves is referred to as the brachial plexus. The problem occurs when these nerves are compressed either by the clavicle, shoulder, or by an enlargement of the surrounding muscles. Many times people who have suffered from thoracic outlet syndrome have found that this condition is caused by a trauma that has occurred to cause this compression, for example, you could easily get this kind of injury in a car accident. However, you might also have problems with compression if you work at a computer or desk for long periods without using an ergonomic posture.

You may not even realize that you are suffering from thoracic outlet syndrome, but the symptoms that you might experience include pain in your neck, arms, shoulders, hands, lack of circulation, and numbness in this area. You may have an increase in symptoms when your arm is extended above your head or extended straight out from your body. Something else to remember if you think that you are suffering from this syndrome is that you may have a combination of symptoms. In addition to this you might find that your pain is only intermittent and mild at first, but that it may gradually increase to a more severe, constant pain over time.

Since thoracic outlet syndrome is something that affects a nerve cluster, it can often be tricky to diagnose. For example, your doctor will likely examine you and base the diagnosis on your symptoms that are present at the time of the examination. To do this you will likely have to maneuver your arms into different positions so that your doctor can see how this pain reacts to your various movements. If a definitive diagnosis of thoracic outlet syndrome cannot be made during this examination then the next step is to have an electromyogram or angiograms done so that your physician can more easily find the exact area where the problem is originating.

There are many different kinds of therapy that have been known to help people suffering from thoracic outlet syndrome. For example, if the problem is caused by nerve compression from a car accident it may be that you would want to treat them through chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation of the bones in that area. This can be beneficial for a number of reasons, and if you are able to easily maneuver the bones around this nerve cluster to get relief, then this is a relatively easy and basic treatment option that you can use. Some doctors may also recommend massage therapy, stretching, or applications of heat and ice to the affected area if the reason that the trauma has occurred is because of a muscular problem.

If the symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome do not respond to these non-invasive techniques, then other treatment options may need to be considered. For example, many times injections of cortisone steroids directly into the joint or muscle that has been causing problems as a way to relieve some of the pain that has been caused by the syndrome. Something else to consider are using injections of Botox in order to temporarily paralyze the muscles so that it cannot spasm around the nerves and cause you more problems. If nothing works to alleviate the pain, then surgical options will ultimately need to be considered. This should be a last resort as sometimes they can cause more long-term complications later on, so be sure that you have tried all other available options before you ultimately decide to go through a painful surgery.

[quote|tags=Neuro-Natural General]

Last updated on Jan 1st, 2010 and filed under Neurological Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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