Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Treatment

About Us

Indian Harbor Chiropractic

Diana Gailes, DC

Chiropractor located in Cos Cob, CT

Don’t ignore your discomfort if you feel a nagging tingling sensation or pain in your arms or hands. Although this minor discomfort may not seem serious, it can be a sign of thoracic outlet syndrome. If left untreated, thoracic outlet syndrome can cause permanent nerve and blood vessel damage. If you have experienced these symptoms, get a diagnosis and treatment from the best chiropractor in Greenwich, CT. Chiropractic care should be your first line of treatment for thoracic outlet syndrome, and recovery is easily achievable using medication-free, surgery-free chiropractic techniques. Dr. Diana Gailes at Indian Harbor Chiropractic in Cos Cob, Connecticut is a leading expert in thoracic outlet syndrome treatment. She uses a personalized approach to develop a treatment plan that is right for you. Call the office to schedule an appointment or book one online today.

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Q&A

What is thoracic outlet syndrome?

Thoracic outlet syndrome is a term that refers to three main conditions that involve the compression of the brachial plexus. The brachial plexus includes the nerves, arteries, and veins in the lower neck and upper chest area. The muscles and bones that surround the thoracic outlet can also cause the compression of the brachial plexus. Thoracic outlet syndrome can cause hand pain, arm pain, and shoulder pain. The three types of thoracic outlet syndrome include the following:

  • Neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome - Neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome makes up about 90% of all cases, and is caused by compression of the brachial plexus. Symptoms include a loss of sensation down the arm and weakness in the hand muscles.
  • Venous thoracic outlet syndrome - Venous thoracic outlet syndrome is caused when the axillary or subclavian vein is compressed within the thoracic outlet. Symptoms include venous distention in the neck and arm pain down to the forearm.
  • Arterial thoracic outlet syndrome - Arterial thoracic outlet syndrome has symptoms, which include color changes in the fingers and diminished pulses.

What are the causes of thoracic outlet syndrome?

Thoracic outlet syndrome is caused by situations during which the surrounding bone and muscle put pressure on blood vessels or nerves. The cause can involve a combination of factors, including:

  • Anatomical abnormalities: If someone is born with an anatomical abnormality, such as a narrowing of the thoracic outlet or a rib that sticks out, they may be more likely to develop TOS.
  • Repetitive movements: Repetitive overhead movements (swimming, gymnastics, and weightlifting) can put pressure on thoracic outlet blood vessels and veins.
  • Trauma: A neck or shoulder injury can cause damage to the nerves or blood vessels of the thoracic outlet.
  • Pregnancy
  • Poor Posture

What are the symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome?

Symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome may include:

  • Swelling in the arm
  • Numbness and tingling in the shoulder
  • Numb or tingling sensation in arm, hand, or fingers
  • Discoloration of hand
  • Cold fingers or hands
  • Blood clots in the upper body
  • Pain in the shoulder, arm, or hand.
  • Weakness in the shoulder, arm, or hand.
  • Raynaud's phenomenon - A condition that causes the fingers to turn white, blue, or red in response to cold or stress.

How is thoracic outlet syndrome treated?

The treatment for thoracic outlet syndrome depends on the severity of your symptoms. Treatment may include:

  • Rest and avoiding activities that aggravate your symptoms
  • Ice therapy
  • Heat therapy
  • Stretching the muscles in the neck and shoulder can help to improve range of motion and reduce pain.
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Chiropractic Care

What are the complications of thoracic outlet syndrome?

If left untreated, thoracic outlet syndrome can lead to permanent damage to the nerves and blood vessels in the arm. This could lead to permanent pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness in the arm and hand.

How do I prevent thoracic outlet syndrome?

Some things you can do to reduce your risk of developing thoracic outlet syndrome include:

  • Avoid repetitive overhead movements: Take breaks and stretch regularly from sports (swimming, gymnastics, or weightlifting).
  • Strengthen the muscles in your neck and shoulder
  • Improve posture
  • Proper ergonomics

What are specific chiropractic adjustments used to treat thoracic outlet syndrome?

At Indian Harbor Chiropractic we know that misalignments of the spine or vertebral subluxations can contribute to thoracic outlet syndrome. Manipulations during adjustments can restore movement to the joints or parts of the spine that have an alignment issue. Goals of thoracic outlet treatment include improving the range of motion, strengthening neck and shoulder muscles, and realigning the bones in the neck and shoulder. We use a variety of techniques to adjust the spine and improve alignment including:

Chiropractic adjustments

Chiropractic adjustments can realign your spine or other parts of the body, reduce tension, and alleviate discomfort and pain due to thoracic outlet syndrome symptom. Chiropractic treatments Dr. Gailes offers at Indian Harbor Chiropractic include motion palpation, spinal adjustments, activator application, drop table care, and neuromuscular therapy to treat thoracic outlet syndrome.

Spinal manipulation therapy (SMT)

Spinal manipulation is accomplished through high-velocity, low-amplitude (HVLA) adjustments. This is a technique where Dr. Gailes will apply a controlled thrust to a joint of the spine. This motion moves the joint more than it would on its own. SMT is actually a collection of techniques which include massage or mobilization of soft tissue, adjustment of spinal subluxations, trigger point therapy, cross-friction massage, active release therapy, and mechanical traction on an area of the spine or on an extremity.

Myofascial release

This technique uses gentle pressure to release tension in the muscles and fascia, relieving pain and improving range of motion.

Activator techniques

These adjustments use a small, handheld instrument to deliver low-force impulses at specific points.

What are some other chiropractic treatments used to treat thoracic outlet syndrome?

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)

TENS sends electrical pulses through the skin to start your body's own painkillers. The electrical pulses can release endorphins and other substances to stop pain signals in the brain. TENS can reduce pain. Tens also works on muscles and causes muscle contractions by stimulating α-motor neurons. It is highly effective in improving muscle function, strengthening muscles, and improving joint range of motion.

Massage Therapy

Dr. Gailes may use massage therapy with a variety of techniques to manipulate the soft tissues of the body, including the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This can help to reduce muscle tension, improve range of motion, and promote circulation.

Class IV Laser therapy

Dr. Gailes is currently the only chiropractor in Greenwich, CT offering Class IV Laser Therapy. Dr. Gailes uses chiropractic adjustments and laser therapy to treat a variety of musculoskeletal conditions and speed up recovery times for all types of injuries. Laser therapy will reduce pain by over 50% in three to four treatments and can complement chiropractic adjustments or be used as an independent form of treatment.

Begin with chiropractic care today

For effective thoracic outlet syndrome treatment call the Indian Harbor Chiropractic office or schedule an appointment online today.



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