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TOS Symptoms After an Auto Collision

TOS Symptoms After an Auto Collision - El Paso Chiropractor

Thoracic outlet syndrome, or TOS, is a medical term used to describe a group of disorders which frequently occur when the nerves or blood vessels in the space between the collarbone and the first rib, known as the thoracic outlet, become compressed. The thoracic outlet is normally narrow where the important bundles of nerves and blood vessels that travel through it fit very tightly. When an injury to the neck causes inflammation of the muscles in the area, it’s very easy for the nerves and blood vessels to become impinged and result in symptoms.

Causes and Symptoms of TOS

Thoracic outlet syndrome symptoms can vary according to which structures are compressed. If there is an impingement of the nerves in the thoracic outlet, the signs and symptoms usually include numbness and tingling sensations in the arms, hands, and fingers, pain and soreness in the neck, shoulder, or hands, a weakened grip, and wasting in the fleshy base of the thumb, also known as Gilliatt-Sumner hand. If there is a impingement of the blood vessels in the thoracic outlet syndrome, the signs and symptoms usually include arm pain and swelling, discoloration of the entire hand, a single or multiple fingers, weak or no pulse in the affected arm, cold fingers, hands, or arms, upper extremity fatigue, and numbness or tingling sensations in the fingers.  

Thoracic outlet syndrome can be caused by a variety of injuries or conditions, from repetitive sport-related injuries to birth defects. Occasionally, doctors have a difficult time determining the source of development for TOS in certain individuals. But, most commonly, thoracic outlet syndrome is often diagnosed as a result of an automobile accident. Individuals who are involved in auto collisions frequently experience injuries. Whiplash, defined as a neck injury resulting from an abrupt, back-and-forth jolt of the head, is a common injury resulting from auto accidents. Because whiplash type injuries involve damage or injury to the surrounding muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the neck, the irritation from the trauma to these structures often leads to compression of the nerves and blood vessels around the cervical region of the spine, resulting in thoracic outlet syndrome.

TOS After an Auto Injury

The neck is a complex structure consisting of many bones, muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels and because of this, finding the exact source of an individual’s pain can be difficult. The symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome can also be very similar to other common injuries or conditions resulting from automobile accidents. If you suffered an auto accident and you’ve been experiencing symptoms of pain and discomfort, make sure to seek immediate medical attention to diagnose any possible complications and begin treatment as soon as possible. A chiropractor can often help determine the root cause of your symptoms and develop a treatment plan to help regain your health.

By Dr. Alex Jimenez

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