Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Description, Assessment and Techniques to Bring Relief

Thoracic Outlet SyndromeWhitney Lowe addresses the physical effects, contributing factors, assessment procedures and massage techniques for this nerve-compression problem. Lowe differentiates between two primary categories of thoracic outlet syndrome. The first category, Lowe writes, is a “true neurological thoracic outlet syndrome” resulting from a “relatively rare” physical anomaly, called a cervical rib. The second category Lowe describes as a “non-specific thoracic outlet syndrome” involving the “compression of the brachial plexus and vascular structures in three different areas.” Sensations of pins-and-needles, coldness and muscular atrophy, occurring in the upper limbs, are only some of the physical effects that may indicate a thoracic outlet syndrome, asserts Lowe. He states that although thoracic outlet syndrome is often mistaken for carpal tunnel syndrome, the former affects the ulnar nerve while the latter affects the median nerve. A medical diagnosis should be obtained before the client receives massage, advises Lowe.