Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is utilized to describe a pathology that includes compression of the nerves, blood vessels, and arteries around the brachial complex (neck and chest) that cause a number of painful and bothersome symptoms in the neck and down towards the fingers.
Three types of thoracic outlet syndrome:
Arterial: Affects the arteries
Venous: Affects the veins
Neurogenic: Affects nerves leaving the cervical spine from the neck to the arm. This is very common in TOS cases.
Signs and symptoms of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome when nerves are compressed:
Pain or discomfort in the neck, shoulder, forearm or hand
Numbness or Tingling in your arms or fingers
Signs and symptoms of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome affect by venous or arterial issues:
Cold arms, hands and fingers
Weak pulse in affected arm
Arm and hand pain
Decreased color in hands or fingers
Increased fatigue in arm during activity
Pain or lump near clavicle
What is Thoracic Outlet Syndrome often caused by?
While thoracic outlet syndrome can be caused by a variety of things, it often working can be due to compression of the nerve by the scalenes, pec minor and other muscles behind the clavicle. This can also be caused by things such as poor posture, physical and/or emotional trauma, or perhaps issues you were born with affecting your body.
What can neuromuscular work like P-DTR do to help this condition?
One of the reasons these nerves, arteries, and veins can be compressed is due to hypertonic muscles compressing the nerve. This means your body has compensated and created muscles that never want to let go in order to help with another issue in your body. Neuromuscular work like P-DTR can help reset and eliminate these compensation patterns allowing for proper muscle tone to be restored thus eliminate nerve compression that is being caused by muscles.
How can massage therapy help with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome?
Since the main issue can often be tight or locked muscles soft tissue work can often help relieve the pressure on the nerves, veins, and arteries leading to the arms through the neck. Learning some muscle testing and neuromuscular work to help you figure out the proper patterns can be key to this issue. Techniques like NeuroKinetic Therapy (NKT) and Proprioceptive-Deep Tendon Reflex (P-DTR) are key for this. NeuroTechniques can maximize the usage of soft tissue manipulation by helping you find the source, this is becuase while sometimes the scalenes are locked they can also only be a part of a higher level issue and are just trying to help.
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