Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and You.

Ever get that tingly feeling into your hands or finger tips, like they’ve fallen asleep? Often times, that sensation is the result of compression on the nerve and/or the blood vessel that feed into the arm. Most people dismiss it as temporary and leave it alone, shaking their hands or moving their shoulders around, without realizing what the causes are that set this situation up in the first place. This problem, called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS), is an extremely common issue that most individuals who work at a computer work station will have to deal with at one time or another. TOS can arise from a problem at one or more location. These sites of compression are in the side of the neck where the nerve and blood vessel leave the torso, under the collar bone, and under the deep Pectoralis Minor muscle. Unfortunately, working at a computer forces people to round their shoulders and bring those shoulders up to their ears. This traditional pose engages all three of the most vulnerable areas for TOS. Most people have many contributing factors outside of just the computer work station; sleeping on your side and collapsing your shoulders, performing activities that keep the arms above the shoulders, or trauma in the form of big falls or car accidents. While stretching can help to a degree, the main way of helping the situation is to remain active. Regular movement throughout the course of the day can help alleviate the discomfort felt. Shrugging the shoulders up as high as they can go and then dropping them down as far as they can go, followed by rolling of the shoulders. This technique takes a very short period of time and can help dramatically reduce the symptoms. Stretching the neck can help but adding a pec stretch (stretching of the chest) can increase its effectiveness, especially if the stretch is done in a slightly elevated manner. Use of massage will ease down the irritated muscles and open up some of the trouble spots, allowing for more space and reduced compression issues.