Frequently Asked Questions

Is thoracic outlet syndrome serious?

Thoracic outlet syndrome causes severe pain. It is not a medical emergency but should be treated due to the level of pain and dysfunction it creates.

What happens if thoracic outlet syndrome goes untreated?

Thoracic outlet syndrome usually progresses to worse pain and dysfunction if left untreated.

Which fingers are affected by thoracic outlet syndrome?

Thoracic outlet syndrome usually affects the pinky and ring finger, but can involve the whole hand in some cases.

What does thoracic nerve pain feel like?

Thoracic outlet syndrome feels like upper back pain between the spine and shoulder blade that can radiate down the arm.

Does thoracic outlet syndrome get worse over time?

Thoracic outlet syndrome can get worse over time if left untreated. The good news is chiropractic care is usually quite effective at treating thoracic outlet syndrome.

What structures are affected by thoracic outlet syndrome?

Structures affected by thoracic outlet syndrome are the lower neck, upper back, and arms.


Hello everyone, this is Dr. Aaron Seaton with The Chiropractic Place. Today's video, we are doing about something called thoracic outlet syndrome. A lot of people get this. It's actually quite common, I see it several times a month in my office, people tend to get some feeling either lower neck, upper back area, and they start getting shooting pain down the arm, comes into the hand in a lot of cases. It can be really scary, especially if it's on the left side of the arm, people can almost feel like it's mimicking a heart attack. A lot of these patients do go to the ER with these kinds of symptoms and then they get a clean bill of health with respect to their heart, with no kind of understanding of what's going on.

Thankfully, a lot of the Docs in the ER are starting to recognize thoracic outlet syndrome and understand that chiropractors can really help with this, this is like a form of upper back pain with a lot of inflammation that starts to irritate the nerves in the area, and those nerves can cause this pain to shoot down the arm. So that's kind of those signs and symptoms, it can be very painful, very uncomfortable and very worrisome for the person who's experiencing it.

So in our office, when we see somebody with thoracic outlet syndrome, first off, it's about educating that patient, taking some X-rays and trying to understand what's going on specifically with their spine in that area, and then educate them on that course of care. For us in that office, usually it's a couple of times a week for probably around four weeks to really get this thing to stabilize and settle down. And think of it this way, why it takes time is when something gets so inflamed to the point where that's shooting down your arm and causing inflammation to the nerves and coming... Creating pain, we've gotta take time in addressing that, it's probably been going on a lot longer than most people think.

And usually symptoms are the last thing to show up, so we need time to change what's going on in that area of your spine to get that to calm down, get you feeling better and back on the road to health. So long-term, usually after we get patients settled and that is doing better, we always wanna educate them on the importance of long-term spinal health, taking care of their spine along the way, rather than waiting for something like this to flare up.

Typically in my office, our patients are on a Kenny kind of a wellness plan from anywhere from once a week to once a month, and that's just what that does is... Think of it like brushing your teeth. We don't brush our teeth because they hurt or our teeth are in pain, we brush our teeth because our dentists have educated us on the importance of maintaining our dental health. The same is true with chiropractic care, what we are trying to do... Once we get people out of the woods with injuries like this, is to educate them on the importance of getting adjusted regularly to prevent a lot of these types of problems and to keep their spine moving, 'cause motion is extremely important to our long-term health and well-being. If you have any questions about thoracic outlet syndrome, upper back pain kind of shooting down the arm, feel free to give our office a call.

My name is Dr. Aaron Seaton with The Chiropractic Place.

Call our office today to schedule an appointment to kickstart your healthy life: 530-221-8443

*The transcription is auto-generated by a program and may not be accurate. In order to ensure you get all the information from the video properly, you must watch the video.


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The Chiropractic Place
1123 Hilltop Drive
Redding CA, 96003