The thoracic outlet region is at the lower part of the neck. It begins from above, behind the clavicle and extends all the way to the upper part of the arm. The thoracic outlet is located next to the large muscles which run vertically to the neck and are known as the sternocleidomastoid muscle. In front, there is a muscle which runs back to the neck and is called the trapezius muscle. The lower portion of the thoracic outlet extends behind the clavicle. It is known as the pectorals muscle. There are many nerves and vessels which pass through the Thoracic outlet and supply the shoulders as well as arms. They are together known as the Brachial plexus and control the muscles and also provide sensation to specific areas over shoulders and arms. The compression of these arteries leads to pain and hence the occurrence of thoracic outlet syndrome occurs. In this article we will mainly discuss the details of thoracic outlet syndrome and how its management can be done in Ayurveda.
This condition emerges due to compression of blood vessels and nerves which are present in the spaces between the collarbone and first rib. It results in severe pain in the shoulder associated with numbness in the fingers. The condition is named after the thoracic outlet which, as mentioned before, is present between the lower neck and upper chest. Most of the blood vessels, as well as nerves, are located in this area. The commonest cause for the syndrome is repetitive injury or a traumatic car accident and certain types of defects. The term Thoracic Outlet Syndrome was first given by RM Peet. 1965.
Incidence of thoracic outlet syndrome is common in only 1-2% of the population.
It is mostly seen in patients between the ages of 20 to 50 years
Females generally suffer from thoracic outlet syndrome more than men.
Sign and symptoms of Thoracic outlet syndrome
Following are the common clinical features that are observed in this condition depending on the type. It includes
Vascular thoracic outlet syndrome
This condition is seen in the condition in which veins of the lower neck and upper chest are damaged. The condition generally develops after excessive exercise and common signs like swelling in fingers, arms and hands along with heaviness associated with weakness in arms and neck.
Neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome
Neurogenic type of thoracic outlet syndrome is related to the abnormality which is present in the soft as well as bony tissue. It is generally seen in the region of the lower neck. This causes compression and irritation of the brachial plexus. Generally the nerves are responsible for motor and sensory response. This can result in symptoms like numbness and weakness of the hands, the size of muscle is decreased and tingling along with a pricking sensation is observed.
Arterial thoracic outlet syndrome
It is one of the least common types and has higher severity than others. This is the congenital type which means it is present from birth and mostly seen in the lower neck as well as upper chest. Soreness in fingers along with poor circulation of blood around arms, hands and fingers is commonly observed. Cold sensation in fingers and arms is also common.
Causes of Thoracic outlet syndrome
The Exact cause for the thoracic outlet syndrome is not known but it is understood that it is due to nerve compression. The causes for nerve compression can include things like
Holding the head for too long or dropping the shoulder instantly can result in compression of the thoracic outlet area.
Congenital defect which is present from birth due to mutation or can be an inherited condition results in abnormal tightening of the fibrous band connecting the spine to the rib.
Trauma can be the result of a car accident or can be due to a fall, damage to the shoulder thus resulting in compression of nerves or vessels in the thoracic outlet syndrome.
Doing an excessive amount of the same action or exercise every day may lead to wearing and tearing of the tissue. Mostly activities like typing, lifting, swimming, or playing basketball can also lead to compression of nerves in the thoracic outlet.
Pressure on the joints
Obesity or being overweight will put pressure on the joints or carrying an oversized backpack can do the same, thus compressing the nerves or vessels in the thoracic outlet.
Below are two factors that may increase the chances of developing this condition. It includes
Sex:- Females are more likely to suffer from the disease as compared to males.
Age:- Adults between the ages of 20 to 40 years of age.
Diagnosing thoracic outlet syndrome
The diagnosis of this condition is generally done by doing examination of the patient and after examination certain scan tests can be guided to the patients
Physical examination showed depression in the shoulder and swelling of the arms.
CT-scan (Computed tomography)
MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging)
Arteriography and venography
Nerve conduction study
Treatment for Thoracic outlet syndrome
In neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome, physical therapy is the kind of treatment that is usually preferred. The patient is asked to perform certain exercises which helps in strengthening and stretches your shoulder muscles to open the thoracic outlet and hence improve your range of motion and hence improve your posture.
Generally anti inflammatory is prescribed along with some analgesics. Sometimes clot-dissolving medication is also given, they are called anticoagulants.
It is only advised when conservative treatment is not effective.
Herbal formulations by Planet Ayurveda
Planet Ayurveda is a leading Ayurvedic firm which deals with the manufacturing of herbal formulations. These formulations are prepared using potent herbs which are really effective in managing many conditions. The formulations prepared by Planet Ayurveda do not contain any kind of adulterants, dyes, additives, fillers etc. These medications are too potent to manage many conditions and are very fruitful hence giving positive noticeable results. The medication or formulations offered by Planet Ayurveda for the management of thoracic outlet syndrome is as follows
Vrahat VatChintamani Ras
1. Yograj Guggul
Yograj guggul is prepared using herbs like Guggul (Commiphora mukul), Pippali (Piper longum), Kulanjan (Alpinia galanga) and many others. The formulation helps in providing strength to the body and muscles as well. The formulation helps in nourishing the thoracic outlet area. Along with that, it will remove the ailments like pain, stiffness as well as numbness of the bones and muscles.
Dosage: Two tablets twice daily with water after meals
2. Boswellia Curcumin
Boswellia curcumin is prepared from two very excellent herbs, Shallaki (Boswellia serrata) and Curcumin (Curcuma longa). This is very effective in decreasing inflammatory changes in the muscles and hence increases movement of the area. This herbal formulation is no doubt very good for the patient who suffers from thoracic outlet syndrome.
Dosage: One capsule twice a day after meals
3. Aamvatantak Churna
The formulation is available in Churna or powder form and helps in getting rid of the inflammation and stiffness from the joints as well as the muscles. It contains herbs like Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), methi (Trigonella foenum graecum), Gorakhmundi (Sphaeranthus indicus), haridra (Curcuma longa) and many others. It is very effective in removing pain and tingling sensation from the affected part. Moreover, it helps in pacification of vata dosha which is mainly responsible for various types of pains in this condition, especially the pricking ones.
Dosage: Two teaspoonfuls twice daily after meals with water.
4. Vrihat Vatchintamani Ras
The formulation has ingredients like Swarna bhasma, Abhrak bhasma, Loha bhasma, Mukta bhasma and many more. Vrihat vatchintamani ras is very effective in enhancing the movement of muscles as well as bones by improving the circulation of blood vessels and veins. It also helps in pacification of vata dosha which is responsible for nerve compression. Moreover, it having rejuvenating and anti-aging properties.
Dosage: One tablet twice a day after meals with water.
5. Bone Support
Bone support is made from herbs like Shudh Laksha (Laccifer lacca resin), Arjun (Terminalia arjuna), Mukta (Pearl calcium), and many more. This is one of the best ayurvedic combinations for improving the health of the bones and promoting circulation to the muscles. It is very effective in treating any kind of bone or muscle defect. This formulation helps in improving bone density especially in osteoporosis, paget’s disease and many others.
Dosage: Two capsules twice a day with water after meals.
Thoracic outlet syndrome is a very rare known condition but can have a serious impact on one’s life. Generally patients present with complaints regarding restriction of movements along with pricking pain in the shoulder which radiates to back, arms, hands and towards the sternum. As mentioned the thoracic outlet is located in the back of the lower neck and no doubt compression of nerves affect the movement of the neck also. The formulations which are being suggested by planet ayurveda are totally herbal and are effective in managing this condition. They do not contain any kind of adulterants or additives like dyes and colors. In case of any query kindly visit WWW.planetayurveda.com
Dr. Vikram Chauhan (MD - Ayurveda) is the CEO and Founder of Planet Ayurveda Pvt. Ltd. He is Author of the Book "Ayurveda – God’s Manual For Healing". He is an Ayurveda Expert Serving People worldwide through all the Possible Mediums, Operating from Main Branch in Mohali, India. With his Vast Experience in Herbs and their Applied Uses, he is successfully treating Numerous Patients suffering from Various Ailments with the help of Purest Herbal Supplements, Diet, and Lifestyle, according to the Principles of Ayurveda. For More Details, visit www.PlanetAyurveda.com.