Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, confusingly sometimes referred to as Thoracic Inlet Syndrome, is where restrictions in the neck, shoulders and upper chest tightens down on the many blood vessels and nerves that gather in this area before ultimately going down the arm. The scalene muscles in the side of the neck, when they tighten (due to trigger points, bad posture, whiplash injury, repetitive strain etc), can keep the first rib pulled up against the collarbone, squeezing the blood vessels and nerves that pass through the area on their way to the arm. This disturbance of the nerve impulses and impeded blood flow causes pain, swelling, numbness, tingling and burning in the arm and hand. The other area, which if tight can also compress on blood vessels and nerves, is the Pectoralis Minor muscle in the front of the shoulder/upper chest. This lies underneath the 'Pecs' (Pectoralis Major) and can become tight and riddled with trigger points eg after a chronic cough, hyperventilation, whiplash, carrying a heavy backpack or shoulder bag, over use at work or in sport, head forward posture, hunched shoulder posture, unconsciously holding the breath, breathing shallowly, heavy lifting or working with your arms out in front of you or overhead. In this case pain is usually felt in the front of the shoulder, but also the inner arm, inner elbow, pinky side of the hand, and pain or numbness in the 3rd, 4th and 5th fingers.
The Pec Minor is easy to treat with Myofascial Release and Trigger Point Therapy. Help with posture and stretching will also be offered.
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