DID YOU KNOW  that pain discomfort in your shoulder that extends into your arm could be the results of impingement of soft-tissue in the shoulder area. The soft-tissue could be compromised by  compression of the clavicle bone or from a muscular spasm.

This condition has a medical name. It is called THORACIC OUTLET SYNDROME, and it seems to effect women more that men. It can be caused by an injury, or rarely by a congenital anomaly, but more commonly from postural distortions. It can ultimately  lead to painful muscular spasms referred to as trigger points.   It can  cause neck pain as well, due to muscular involvement of a group of neck muscles in the front of the neck called the anterior and middle scalene muscles.


*  Neck Pain

*  Shoulder Pain

*  Arm Pain (with tingling and numbness)

*  Impaired Circulation in Hand (causing discoloration and coolness of the extremity)

*  Hand Pain (extending into fingers)

*  Weakness in Hand

*  Sensation of Heaviness in the Extremity

The symptoms can be mild and intermittent, or severe and constant. the four different pathologies, all but one are caused by some form of muscular dysfunction.  Rarely TOS involves compression of the nerve and vessels by an extra rib, called the cervical rib, which causes pressure against the nerve plexus as it exist the neck. The other three causes are directly or indirectly caused by muscular dysfunction.

There are 4 different pathological causes of TOS. One is very rare and is called true nerogenic TOS. It involves an extra rib, called the cervical rib. While very rare, it can compress the nerve and vessles and cause symptoms. The other 3 pathologies are related, directly or indirectly, to muscular dysfunction.

The anterior scalene syndrome is caused by muscle spasticity in the front of the neck. The Costoclavical Syndrome, which is the results of spasm of the coracobrachialis and the biceps brachii, two muscles in the upper arm,  cause the collar-bone to compress against the neurovascular structures. Lastly, the Pectoralis Minor Syndrome, a result of the tight pectoralis minor musculature, in the front of the chest.

Today it is generally agreed upon that the majority of TOS symptoms, that is up to 90%, are the results of neurological impairment.

 Of the common causes of TOS, chronic postural distortions caused by musculoskeletal dysfunction, that is muscle tightness and/or spam with myofascial trigger points, located in the neck, shoulder or chest area, should be considered to be a possible root cause.

If you can rule out the extra rib as the cause of your symptoms and pain, muscle release techniques, and  trigger point therapy, will often result in relief of your symptoms.

For more information, contact your local ORTHOPEDIC MASSAGE & INTEGRATIVE MUSCLE  THERAPIST