What is Thoracic Outlet Syndrome?
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is a neurovascular condition in which the thoracic outlet, the space between the collar bone and rib cage through which blood vessels and nerves pass through, becomes compressed. This often results in symptoms including pain in the neck and shoulder, finger and hand numbness and hand weakness. Irritation of local nerve fibers can also lead to cardiac symptoms, such as arrhythmia.
Although many doctors of chiropractic have reported improvement in cardiac disease symptoms with chiropractic treatment, there has been little published information on the effectiveness of chiropractic manipulation on either arrhythmia or Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. A case study from 2011, though, describes the chiropractic treatment of a 60-year-old man whose arrhythmia would be exacerbated when rotating his head to the left. This had been present for the past seven years and was diagnosed as thoracic outlet syndrome. The patient also complained of pain in the neck, mid-back, and hip.
Over the course of several visits, high-velocity, low-amplitude manipulations were performed on the patient’s cervical spine. He reported that his symptoms had noticeably improved after one visit, and by the third visit had completely resolved. During the year following the treatment plan, he reported minor recurrences of arrhythmia that also resolved with further chiropractic adjustments. This is the first published case study documenting the successful treatment of cardiovascular problems using chiropractic treatment as the sole intervention.
Shreeve M, La Rose Jr. Chiropractic care of a patient with thoracic outlet syndrome and arrhythmia. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine 2011; 10(2): 130–134.