I come across many clients with some of the symptoms of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. If you have tingling, numbness, pain or weakness in your hand or fingers, you may be feeling the effects of TOS. Because of the similar pain pattern, it can be mistaken for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Thoracic Outlet Syndrome can affect people of all ages and genders. It can affect those who work in jobs that require stationery positions, such as in front of a computer, on the phone or those who hold their arms up like a hair dresser or dental assistant. Or athletes like cyclists, golfers, or those who do a lot of throwing.
The Thoracic Outlet is actually the narrow space between your collar bone and first rib in which blood vessels, nerves, and muscles that extend from the back to the arms pass through. Thoracic Outlet Syndrome occurs when the nerves or blood vessels are compressed by surrounding structures such as the scalene muscles in the neck, the pectoralis muscles, and I have even found compression on the elbow to affect the hands and fingers.
How can massage help? It’s the tight muscles that compress the nerves and veins. I usually start with loosening the muscles in the neck, check the pec muscles and muscles of the arms. It may take a few treatments and I would send you home with some stretches to do, and it can usually clear up. Sometimes the compression is actually caused by bone structures, but that is very rare and is either genetic or caused by an accident.
Now, while I am not a doctor and do not have the ability to diagnose, I do suggest that massage can help relieve the symptoms of weakness and pain and should be considered. If targeted massage does not relieve symptoms, consult your doctor. I have had success in treating TOS, along with considering the motions in everyday life that create the hypertonic muscles. If you are considering a natural way of relieving these symptoms, consider massage and call Ancient Art Health Center at 303-797-6656 to make an appointment.
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