This condition occurs with compression of veins, arteries and nerves that lead from the lower part of the neck to the armpit. Each type has various areas of pain or discoloration occurring from the base of the thumb to the armpit. Weakness and lack of feeling in the limb can be traced to one of the three areas compromised. In addition, there are often muscular problems with the shoulder, elbow or wrist areas that can be traced to thoracic outlet syndrome.
The symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome depend on where it is located. The upper arms, neck and shoulders are involved along with pain in the hands. The pain can manifest as stinging, aching, burning or sharp. There are occasions when partial pain of the fingers or hands are present. The areas of pain often vary according to whether it is the nerve, arterial or the veins being affected. Conditions such as frozen shoulder and carpel tunnel syndrome can be caused by thoracic outlet syndrome. If the blood flow is interrupted, the affected limb will be colder, weaker and discolored. This is often a sign that the subclavian vein is being compromised either by blood clot or blockage from pressure from muscles or bone. Arterial compression can cause problems with vision and blood flow to the brain. It is important to make note of vision changes along with muscular changes that occur.
In addition to stretching, nutrition and exercise, using the proper techniques for sleeping can help prevent thoracic outlet syndrome. Organic latex pillows are designed to help keep the neck, shoulders and head in proper alignment. This will reduce stress and strain on the areas that can cause thoracic outlet syndrome. Other types of treatment include massage therapy, physical therapy, medication and in some cases, surgery can be used. With care and attention, thoracic outlet syndrome can be dealt with and not dominate every waking moment.