Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) is a common condition treated by chiropractors. It occurs when the nerves and/or blood vessels of the thoracic outlet (area between the clavicle and first rib) become compressed, often due to a muscle imbalance.
The most common symptom of TOS is numbness and/or tingling in the hand, typically involving the little finger. Many patients who suffer from TOS wake up in the middle of the night with parts or even their entire arm numb. A majority of people with TOS experience their symptoms while doing overhead activities, carrying heavy items, or while driving. Some patients complain of hand weakness. TOS is often initially caused by some sort of physical trauma such as a motor vehicle accident or sports injury.
The Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation studied a group of 119 patients with thoracic outlet syndrome. In the study, the patients were taught and prescribed a set of home exercises to restore normal function of the cervical and upper thoracic spine. Following 24 days of treatment, 88% of the patients were satisfied with the outcome of their treatment and their cervical and thoracic spine range of motion had normalized in 8 of 10 patients. Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is often misdiagnosed and it is crucial that the appropriate examination be performed by a musculoskeletal specialist.
Dr. Max will get a detailed history from the patient and perform a thorough examination to arrive at the correct diagnosis so appropriate treatment will ensue. Treatment often consists of muscle stimulation, chiropractic manipulation, and proper muscle education exercises.
If you or someone you know is suffering from TOS or similar symptoms, give Dr. Max a call at 773-880-0880 and set up an appointment.
Lindgren, K. “Conservative Treatment of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome: A 2-year Follow-up*1.” Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 78.4 (1997): 373-78.