A collection of conditions or symptoms caused by compression of nerves and blood vessels in the thoracic outlet - the region between your neck and shoulder. This can cause pain, tingling or numbness in your arm, hand or shoulder. As it worsens it can even cause weakness in your hand.
Many nerves and major blood vessels cross over, under or run between muscles and bones in this area. When the muscles become too tight or overused they may leave less space for the nerves and blood vessels which can cause weird sensations, numbness or pain into the arm and hands. This could happen on one or both sides of your body and could be due to a number of reasons.
Poor posture, poor breathing habits, trauma like a car accident or fall, poor ergonomics at work.
Locations of Entrapment (where nerves can become squished):
- Interscalene Triangle: between anterior (front) and middle scalene muscles of your neck
- Costoclavicular Triangle: between collar bone, first rib, and shoulder blade
- Subcoracoid Space: below coracoid process (a bony extension of the shoulder blade) and underneath the pectoralis ("pec") minor muscle
After being diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome, there is much you can do to help improve the condition. Depending on the location of the entrapment or pinched nerve or blood vessel, you can work on posture through practice and strengthening, ergonomics at work, and massaging or stretching of the guilty muscles.
See improved posture for upper crossed syndrome, desk ergonomics
See scalenes and breathing techniques
See subclavius muscle, SCM, anterior & middle scalene, upper crossed syndrome
See coracobrachialis, short head of biceps, pectoralis minor