Home Blog Neck vs. Thoracic Outlet Syndrome: Unmasking the Pain Culprit

Neck vs. Thoracic Outlet Syndrome: Unmasking the Pain Culprit

Nov 27, 2023 -- Posted by : Dr.Harcourt

Neck pain can stem from various sources, and it often presents with similar clinical symptoms, which can pose a diagnostic challenge. One of the related conditions, which can also coexist, is known as thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS). To start, let's delve into the neck and thoracic outlet's anatomy to gain a clear understanding of the subject.

TOS can emerge due to the compression of blood vessels, nerves, or a combination of both, making the diagnostic process quite intricate. Compounding the complexity, this constriction can transpire at multiple sites. Nerves and blood vessels may face compression as they exit the spinal openings (neuroforamen), encounter tight scalene muscles, pass beneath the collarbone (clavicle), or get pinched by a taut pectoralis minor muscle near the armpit. Consequently, symptoms typically encompass pain and numbness in the shoulder, arm, and hand, often affecting the fourth and fifth fingers. Your chiropractor's role is to conduct various assessments to pinpoint the primary site or sites of compression, enabling them to focus on the appropriate area for treatment.

TOS can have numerous causes, including obvious ones like a fractured collarbone or clavicle. Another potential cause is the presence of an extra rib. Given the limited space for additional structures, this can contribute to compression in some cases (although it doesn't lead to TOS in everyone). Overly tight scalene muscles, scar tissue, exceptionally large muscles, and other factors can also lead to the pinching of nerves and blood vessels.

Purses, backpacks, carrying golf clubs, a mailbag, and the like can also cause a pinch. A seat belt injury from a car accident is yet another cause, either from the direct trauma, or later when scar tissue forms in the area.

A slouchy, slumped posture where the shoulders roll forwards can cause TOS. Large breasts and obesity also add to the list of risk factors. Women are affected 3x more than men. Certain jobs where reaching overhead or outwards such as food servers, carpenters, and electricians can also increase TOS risk.

So, if you are experiencing neck pain, pinched neck nerve, cervical radiculopathy or pain in your neck muscles and type in pain management near me or chiropractor near me, you may find Coast Chiropractic Centers with Dr. Timothy Harcourt, me, comes up. 

You may wonder, “Do I need an MRI scan of my neck and who around me can I get a referral from?”

Some people around you will try stretching first to see if they get relief from their neck pain.   A pulled muscle generally will get better with rest.  Persistent or worsening pain intensity and/or frequency necessitates a visit to see a professional near you.

Check out what the experts say about chiropractic care for neck pain here:


Call me, Dr. Tim Harcourt, at Coast Chiropractic Centers at (239) 278-3344 or stop by if we’re in your area on your day off for a walk-in visit and mention this article for an awesome discounted first visit to include history, exam, and adjustment or Class IV high-intensity laser treatment.

So if you find yourself experiencing neck pain that is affecting your quality of life and allowing you to enjoy Fort Myers Beach. Come see us at Coast Chiropractic Centers located on 7270 College Parkway.

If you would like to avoid getting neck pain in the first place or to take a proactive approach to your health and wellness nearby, our membership program called Club C may be just the thing for you with great cost savings, convenience, and even more importantly, a plan to get your health back and keep it.

Schedule Your Appointment Here 

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Don't let neck pain stop you from enjoying the beautiful SWFL! Dr. Tim Harcourt is here to give you the relief you need.



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