Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

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INJURY TITLE

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

 

 

INJURY OVERVIEW

This term refers to a number of conditions that can result from compression of the blood vessels and nerves that pass through the anatomical pathway known as the thoracic outlet.

 

 

INJURY IN-DEPTH INFORMATION

The thoracic outlet is best thought of as a triangle formed from two muscles in your neck as the meet with your 1st rib (thus providing three borders of a triangle).  Branches of your nerves and major blood vessels sit in the triangle.  It is because of this, and the fact they are so close together that makes them prone to being compressed.

 

This is a common condition in activities that involve prolonged over head work.  Poor posture can also be  an influence as it reduces the space available for the blood vessels and nerves.  Also muscle imbalances can lead to poor control of the shoulder blade (when moving your arm). Over time this imbalance can lead to the following signs and symptoms.

 

 

COMMON SIGNS & SYMPTOMS

– neck pain

– shoulder pain

– pain can involve the whole upper limb (usually on one side)

– pins and needles and numbness are also possible but not always present.

– the arm may feel fatigued or weaker

 

 

HOW IS IT ASSESSED

– Clinical examination to try to replicate the symptoms.

– Doppler studies (done at the hospital) or nerve conduction studies will help to confirm a diagnosis.

– X-Ray can sometimes (but rarely) reveal the presence of an extra rib that can also cause symptoms.

 

 

 

 

GENERAL TREATMENT

– Physiotherapy can help to address any Postural influences that could be contributing to the problem.

– manual therapy can help to mobilise stiff joints around the shoulder, neck, ribs and the middle of your spine.

– manual therapy can also help to release tight muscles and address any muscular pain that could be contributing to your symptoms.

 

 

Exercise Videos: i.e.

Rotator cuff strengthening

Pec stretch

etc

 

 

WHICH HEALTH PROFESSIONAL TO CONSULT

PHYSIO     X MEDIC      PODIATRY     

 

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