Thoracic outlet syndrome – Osteopath Swansea Cross Hands

Do you suffer from neck or shoulder pain and have pins and needles or numbness in your fingers? you could be suffering from a condition called ‘Thoracic Outlet Syndrome’ or TOS.

TOS happens when some of the nerves that originate in your neck (the brachial plexus) and arteries or veins that travel in the space between your first rib and collar bone, become irritated or compressed. This can result in neck, shoulder or radiating arm pain.

There are three different branches to this condition; neurogenic, vascular and arterial. Neurogenic results in paraesthesia in the hand and arm, this can happen with vascular and arterial but you will also have symptoms such as swelling, pale skin and coldness in the arm and hand.
Neurogenic is the most common type and is usually caused by repetitive movements, increased muscular tension, trauma, stress, pregnancy or poor posture.

This condition usually occurs between ages of 20 to 50 and usually affects women more than men.

How will your Osteopath in Swansea and Cross Hands help with Thoracic outlet syndrome?

An osteopath will take a thorough case history to rule out other problems causing your pain, then depending on your symptoms, will examine the affected areas.
This examination may include a neurological exam to work out where your symptoms are coming from. Your osteopath will also use specific orthopaedic tests to confirm the diagnosis of TOS.
Your osteopath will assess the neck, shoulders, ribs and surrounding muscles as these are usually the areas that cause the issues in TOS.

Following the examination, your osteopath will use different treatment techniques to help with your symptoms. This will include soft tissue work to ease tense muscles, mobilisation and stretching of restricted joints.
Your osteopath will also give you a programme of stretches and exercises to help you at home or whilst at work to keep on top of your symptoms.

What can I do to help my symptoms?:
• Icing – icing the area between your neck and collar bone for 5-10 minutes (hourly) will help reduce any inflammation surrounding the nerves or blood vessels.
• Improving your posture! A forward head and shoulder posture shortens the muscles in the front of your neck and chest which causes further compression in the thoracic outlet.
• Have a work place assessment to improve your life at work, this can be a very big factor in your symptoms, especially if you are desk based. A work place assessment will ensure that you have the correct chair and that your station is appropriate for you.
• Have regular breaks at work – get away from the computer screen and have a good stretch!
• Strengthen surrounding muscles – poor posture can cause lengthening of muscles in your upper back which will lead to the muscles anteriorly having to work a lot harder.

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