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Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Thoracic Outlet Syndrome/Brachial Plexopathy. In Memory Of DeAnne Marie.

TOS? Pain is very hard to reproduce with Doctors

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Unread 10-25-2012, 06:47 PM   #1
swimmergirl28
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Default TOS? Pain is very hard to reproduce with Doctors

Hello,

Since March I have, what I think is, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome that is gradually worsening. At first I would only have flare ups when sometimes and I would get pain in chest (that would occur when breathing out) and aching pain in my arm and hand. This pain was occasional and always occurred after sleeping on my left side (the pain is also on my left). Anyway, so the summer went by and the pain occured more and more frequently and always after lying on my left side. The pain would last for up to 10 days maximum before calming down and I only get arm pain when it is at its worst. Otherwise, it is mostly pain in my chest below my collarbone. In september I went to see an Osteopath for an evaluation of this pain. She worked on mobilizing my clavicle and stretching my pec. After my treatments with her I started getting pain in my neck, arm, top of shoulder blade, shoulder, chest near my clavicle, and pain underneath my left breast and down to the left of my sternum into my diaphragm. Now, I have seen a doctor who cannot connect the pain beneath my breast and near my sternum to Thoracic outlet syndrom. My other problem is that the only way that I can conciously recreate the pain is by lying on my left side. All of the typical arm raising tests do not ever increase my pain. I have had an X-ray that was inconclusive and just today went for a bone density scan. I have also recently seen the osteopath again and she worked the connective tissues around my heart mostly. This seemed to have provided some relief however, I am also taking Naproxen so it might just be the drugs.

So my main question is, have any of you experienced pain in the sternum/chest area that was not so close to the clavicle. And have any of you had thoracic outlet syndrome that was not worsened by raising arms?

I am in my early 20s and have always been very athletic. This pain has cause a real problem with my career as I often work in remote locations away from doctors, doing active work.

Thank you
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Unread 10-27-2012, 09:49 PM   #2
LosingHope
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TOS has a lot of weird presentations. Most people do experience a worsening of symptoms when the arms are raised, b/c that increases the compression, but that is more obvious with venous or arterial TOS than with solely neurogenic TOS.

That being said, a lot of other conditions have similar symptoms to TOS. Have you had an MRI or other diagnostic tests to check for disc issues? A compressed nerve could cause symptoms like what you are describing. You describe yourself as very athletic - could you have bruised/cracked or otherwise injured a rib or costochondral cartilage? That could explain the more widespread chest pain and lack of symptom exacerbation when raising the arms, and it isn't always apparent on an x-ray; from what I understand even a small injury in this area causes a great deal of pain.

Good luck finding answers and finding relief. Hang in there!
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Unread 10-27-2012, 10:11 PM   #3
Jo*mar
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Sometimes when an area of pain is addressed by therapy, it can make other areas/symptoms show up.
Could be trigger points , spasms, misalignments or therapist error, for lack of another word..

I usually don't have pain with arm raising unless the pain happens in my shoulder, but my pulse does get pinched off until I lower my arms.

If you had any falls, hits or such maybe an expert chiropractor eval would be worth looking into.

We've had a few new members recently so read their posts also for tips/thoughts.
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Unread 10-28-2012, 10:19 AM   #4
swimmergirl28
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I grew up swimming and otherwise have participated in sports more like running, cycling, circuit training. I have never experienced any kind of accident...the pain started occurring occasionally when I slept on that side. I have noticed that if I stretch my pecs by raising my arms for a doorframe stretch that I lose sensation in the left hand before the right...but as my boyfriend demonstrated....the same thing happens to him and he does not have TOS. One thing that I have noticed is if I stretch my chest while lying on my back with my arms bend and hands flexed outwards, I get a shooting tightness along my ulnar nerve straight into my hand. I have also been experiencing some pretyt awful pain in my dorsal scapular nerve in the past few days. Otherwise, mild pain in my armpit/tricep and pain that is sometimes in my pinky and ring finger or sometimes in the thumb area. I have not been for an MRI.... but no one has been able to reproduce pain from my neck region and I think I have a good range of motion. At this point I feel that, I flared up really badly a few weeks ago and all of my muscles have tensed up and are now causing some mild symptoms even though the root of the problem has not been aggravated.
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Unread 11-03-2012, 12:25 AM   #5
Tara@norcal
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Default Sternum pain

My daughter was hurt during a softball game 7 months ago. One of the many symptoms was mid chest pain. She had surgery two weeks ago
Quote:
Originally Posted by swimmergirl28 View Post
Hello,

Since March I have, what I think is, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome that is gradually worsening. At first I woulv[FONT="Arial"[/font]d only have flare ups when sometimes and I would get pain in chest (that would occur when breathing out) and aching pain in my arm and hand. This pain was occasional and always occurred after sleeping on my left side (the pain is also on my left). Anyway, so the summer went by and the pain occured more and more frequently and always after lying on my left side. The pain would last for up to 10 days maximum before calming down and I only get arm pain when it is at its worst. Otherwise, it is mostly pain in my chest below my collarbone. In september I went to see an Osteopath for an evaluation of this pain. She worked on mobilizing my clavicle and stretching my pec. After my treatments with her I started getting pain in my neck, arm, top of shoulder blade, shoulder, chest near my clavicle, and pain underneath my left breast and down to the left of my sternhum into my diaphragm. Now, I have seen a doctor bbwho cannot connect the pain beneath my breast and near my sternum to Thoracic outlet syndrom. My other problem is that the only way that I can conciously recreate the pain is by lying on my left side. All of the typical arm raising tests do not ever increase my pain. I have had an X-ray that was inconclusive and just today went for a bone density scan. I have also recently seen the osteopath again and she worked the connective tissues around my heart mostly. This seemed to have provided some relief however, I am also taking Naproxen so it might just be the drugs.

So my main question is, have any of you experienced pain in the sternum/chest area that was not so close to the clavicle. And have any of you had thoracic outlet syndrome that was not worsened by raising arms?

I am in my early 20s and have always been very athletic. This pain has cause a real problem with my career as I often work in remote locations away from doctors, doing active work.

Thank you
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