Massage Therapy for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Numbness or tingling in your shoulder, arm, hands, and/or fingers, sometimes combined with pain can often be difficult to diagnosis. Nerves emanating from the cervical (neck) region of your spinal cord pass through your shoulder and into your arm, hands and fingers along with major blood vessels of your upper extremity. Compression or other forms of irritation of the nerves and blood vessels in your neck, shoulder, and arm may result in this numbness. Ultimately, thoracic outlet syndrome is a condition that results when these structures are compressed around the region of your collarbone and upper chest.
The complexity of thoracic outlet syndrome cannot be understated – symptoms of the syndrome may be related to compression of nerves, arteries, veins, or some combination of each. This means symptoms can vary significantly from person to person and is often associated with physical and psychological causes. Some people will experience thoracic outlet syndrome chronically and as such may develop fear of movement, worry about pain, and a poor outlook when it comes to prognosis.
As you can see, assessment and treatment from a qualified health professional must respect that thoracic outlet syndrome requires a holistic approach to treatment. Registered massage therapists (RMTs) are uniquely qualified to support people in recovering from thoracic outlet syndrome. Starting with a thorough assessment that represents a dynamic and person-centred approach to healing, RMTs consider the physical, mental, and lifestyle factors that may contribute to thoracic outlet syndrome.
Next, RMTs are skilled at empowering their clients to identify and progress toward their health goals. RMTs may provide education on the condition as well as self-management recommendations that include lifestyle and physical activity adaptations to manage symptoms and promote healing. When combined with manual therapy delivered by a highly trained RMT, outcomes for thoracic outlet syndrome are generally good. With that in mind, your RMT utilizes their assessment skills to develop a multifaceted treatment plan that integrates massage therapy with home exercises, activity adaptations, and other home-care recommendations that will ultimately help to reduce the severity of symptoms while also restoring your ability to participate in life.
In many cases, treatment of thoracic outlet syndrome is longitudinal in nature – we typically do not expect full recovery after a single treatment, particularly for chronic cases. Nevertheless, regular symptom review and progression of activity and exercises can mean a full recovery for most. Your RMT will work with you to reduce pain, improve emotional well-being, and gradually restore quality of life. Try Massage Therapy for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.