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Posted on 12-05-2016

Treating Thoracic Outlet Syndrome with Chiropractic Care

While cases of thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) are common to hear about in baseball pitchers like San Diego’s own Tyson Ross, you don’t have to be a professional athlete to suffer from the injury. Thoracic outlet syndrome has many causes, and is often treated in drastic ways. Luckily, chiropractic care can help treat many cases of TOS without resorting to surgery.

What is Thoracic Outlet Syndrome?

Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is a condition of compression. TOS may be diagnosed if the nerves, arteries, or veins running from the lower neck to arm pit have been compressed or pinched along the way.

There are three different types of TOS, named for the structures that are being compressed.

  • Neurogenic TOS is the most common, which causes pain, weakness, and in some cases loss of muscle.
  • Venous TOS can cause swelling and accompanied pain, and the possibility of a bluish hue in the arm.
  • Arterial TOS is usually noted by coldness, numbness, and painful stinging in the affected arm. The arm may also turn pale.

Causes of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

TOS has many causes, but it is most commonly caused by trauma. Car accidents, falling from a ladder and any event which causes whiplash are common causes of TOS. Other causes are repetitive arm movements, pregnancy, anatomical conditions like cervical rib, and even tumors.

Signs and Symptoms of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

TOS affects the upper limbs, with multiple signs and symptoms often showing themselves in the shoulder, neck, hands, and arms. Pain and stiffness can come and go, though in some cases the pain is more or less permanent.

Thoracic outlet syndrome may also be the cause of other conditions such as carpal tunnel and “frozen shoulder”; in cases where these conditions persist after standard treatment methods.

In many cases, patients have symptoms of TOS for a long time without a proper diagnosis.

Chiropractic treatment for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome,it is important to see your chiropractor right away for an evaluation. While some treatment methods recommend pharmaceuticals or surgery, many cases of TOS can be treated by chiropractic care.

By caring for the upper cervical spine, a chiropractor can help align the joints of the neck and upper back. Through physical manipulation, upper cervical chiropractic care brings balance back to the deep muscles of the neck and shoulder. Chiropractic care can also influence the muscles and proper positioning of the shoulders and can help realign the collarbone.

Chiropractic care should not be seen as a treatment for TOS, but rather as a way to bring the entire body back to its natural balance. At personalized chiropractic, this holistic approach to healing helps us empower our clients in the San Diego area to harmonize their bodies in the most natural way possible.

Please add a comment to Share your story and experience with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.

Pacific Beach Chiropractor

-Dr. Ryan Curda

Or visit our Pacific Beach Chiropractic Center at

4747 Mission Blvd. #1

San Diego, CA 92109

(858) 866-3345

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