Last Modified on Jun 22, 2014
Treatment for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome addresses the underlying muscle weakness with lifestyle changes, exercise and a massage technique called myofacial release. Herbal cures reduce the inflammation and help relieve pain.
What is Thoracic Outlet Syndrome?
Weak shoulder muscles that cannot hold the collarbone in place cause a rare condition known as Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. The space between your first rib and collarbone is the thoracic outlet, crowded with nerves, blood vessels and muscles. When the collarbone slips from its proper place, it puts pressure on the nerves and blood vessels and causing various symptoms depending on which nerves or blood vessels are being compressed. There may be pain, tingling, weakness or swelling in the neck, shoulder, arm or hand. Range of motion will be limited. Nerve compression is more common than blood vessel compression. Thoracic outlet syndrome can be a birth defect or a result of disease or injury. Poor posture and obesity make the problem worse.
Natural Remedies for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Natural treatments for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome focus on strengthening the weak shoulder muscles. While the inflammation can be treated with herbal remedies, the condition will persist until the collarbone is no longer pressing on nerves and blood vessels. Lifestyle changes incorporating a treatment regimen of exercise, myofacial release and herbal remedies can gradually correct the problem.
The goal of lifestyle changes is to end with the collarbone in the correct position. Examine seating, workstation and any activities looking for ways to improve them; everything should encourage good posture. Carrying anything heavy on the shoulder should be avoided entirely. If needed, losing weight helps. Exercises that encourage good posture and muscle stretching and strengthening (such as neck stretches and shoulder rolls) can be done twice daily. Do not do anything that causes more pain.
Myofacial Release is a massage technique traditionally used to relieve back pain and has been successfully used as an alternative treatment for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Manual pressure and stretching are used to alleviate restricted movement, thereby reducing pain. Some massage therapists may recommend a method of self-myofacial release using foam rollers which patients can do at home to speed healing.
Many herbal cures are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric contains curcumin which reduces inflammation. Traumeel is a homeopathic ointment used for joint pain which contains 14 natural remedies including arnica, used topically for joint pain. Ginger and garlic have many health benefits, among them anti-inflammatory properties.
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome restricts movement and daily activities, leaving many sufferers feeling depressed. Alternative medical treatments done as part of a treatment regimen will slowly correct the muscle weakness. Inflammation and pain is reduced with herbal remedies. This syndrome can usually be treated without surgery.
11/09/2009: Maggiemay from Decatur, Georgia, U.S.A.: "Thoracic outlet syndrome: Does anyone have a good remedy for this problem? My son-in-law suffers from this and I would like to help him. Thank you to everyone who responds."Replies
08/17/2010: Lori from Tryon, Nc replies: "I don't know if this will help or not. I have had extensive surgery by the NC Panthers team surgeon for a badly broken collarbone and am left with permanent swelling for years and take percocet for bad pain control. Dr's said there is nothing they can do and I have permanent nerve damage. I did use lots of rub on heat type formulas and cayenne which helped some but not until I found a homeopathic ointment called traumeel, did I get off the pain pills. I still have to take one occasionally if it's really going into spasms, but if I use the ointment before it swells up too much or goes into really bad spasms I find I can avoid that pain med and the after effect headaches they leave me with. Unlike pain pills and rub ons you are not going to get immediate results with this ointment sometimes, but keep reapplying it for a few days and you may notice a big differenc in the painful areas. I know of nothing else that helps as Dr's don't seem to be able to do much in this area and with all the MRSA in the hospital I'm afraid to go back into surgery for anything! You can find this for sale on most any large vitamin/supplement site on the internet or at your local health food store. Good Luck!"
11/22/2010: Dekay from Chicago, Il replies: "Hi I was diagnosed with TOS this March although I have suffered for a few years now it is always worse in the winter time. I have been to three therapists and only one has finally helped me she specializing in myofacial release! Look it up it deals with connective tissues. My body was literally misaligned and I could no longer function from day to day. My right shoulder was literally 2 inches shorter than the left. She has brought my shoulder up where it is almost the same level. All the pain, numbness, parathesia sensations, and coldness in my last to fingers has all improved and it has been only a little over 2 months. I found some information that might be helpful. I have autoimmune disease that were all diagnosed this year, Hashimoto thyroiditis, Fibromyalgia, Dercum's Disease, Crohns, Vasculitis and just weeks ago Lupus.
In my reasoning of everything that has been going with my health, I'm reasoning that it stems from not being active due to my back(herinated discs) My lymphatic system becoming severely stagnant (which allowed virus, yeast, toxins to florish in my blood stream... Why wouldn't my immune system go haywire). I also am a very shallow breather no oxygen flow developing hypoxia due to poor posture... Which in turn can cause one to develop TOS. I work for the Postal service and my neck was always in a forward position which also affected my frontal neck muscles and clavicle area.. Repetitive usage of my right arm all had a bearing.
Check out the video on Youtube... www.youtube.com/user/vultraven1 Dr. Karen Herbst give some good advice. If I would recommend anything it would be find someone who does myofacial release, they will help correct your posture and align your body. Do resistant breathing exercises everyday. When you start making improvements buy a rebouncer/trampoline to get your lymphatic system moving throughout your body. I also use a infrared sauna every other day... To release toxins and speed up my metabolism, due to me not being able to fully exercise. I hope this helps... Good health to you."