Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is a very complex condition involving muscle, connective tissue, bones, blood vessels and nerves throughout the entire upper body. Because of its complexity and the variety of body conditions that can contribute to its symptoms, it is arguably the most complex repetitive strain injury of all.
The development of
of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is completely dependent on the posture of the upper body. Numbness, pain, and interference with blood flow throughout the entire upper body are characteristic of this condition. Because we depend on adequate blood flow and use the muscles and bones of the upper body in almost anything we do, such distressing symptoms can be especially detrimental to the quality of life.
Once you understand the
of the thoracic outlet area of the body, solutions can be developed. The neck vertebrae, the first rib and the collarbone must all be in the correct relationship with each other to allow enough room for the brachial plexus, the main nerve trunk that serves the upper torso and arm, to pass without interference.
In addition to the bones, the muscles of the upper body also play a pivotal role in the development of this condition. If the powerful muscles of the scalene group on the side of the neck become strained or shortened, they can compress the joint spaces between the neck vertebrae, as well as lift the position of the first rib. Additionally, if the scalenes are tight, they are capable of squeezing and compressing the brachial plexus and the major blood vessels nearby. If the large and powerful muscles across the chest become shortened or strained, they can begin to adhere to the protective sheath covering the brachial plexus, leading to symptoms.
often involves changing the way we use common conveniences we have all come to appreciate in our daily lives. Unfortunately, many of these conveniences may cause us to become lax in our posture habits which can lead to the development of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. For example, the portability of laptop computers, or the moveable keyboards of desktop models can encourage us to use these devices without paying much attention to the proper postural alignment of the body.
Activities that require the arms to be raised overhead can also lead to compression of the space between the neck and shoulders, cutting off blood flow from already-compromised blood vessels. Slouching can force the head to come forward of the shoulders, causing a shearing of the brachial plexus as it leaves the neck vertebrae. Even common habits like holding the phone between the shoulder and neck can lead to numbness, pain, and restricted blood flow.
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome can be a real challenge to tackle, but it can and will respond well to appropriate self care. Just make sure that you address all of the aspects of the condition, not just the easier parts. If you are interested in professional guidance to help you overcome your symptoms and correct the causes of your pain, then read about my customized
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Self Care Program.
I will take you, step by step, through the confusing maze of recovery in a comprehensive six week program.
To read about other repetitive strain injuries, return to the
Home Page where you will find a complete list of the conditions covered on this website.
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