Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

There was an interesting post on the forum this weekend.  A person posted that he has numbness and pain in his hand while he sleeps. The physical therapist has been working on his neck (probably his scalenes) and it didn’t help. They has just decided that he has Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) and have begun to stretch his pectoralis minor muscle in his chest.  He said it has gotten worse and was wondering why this would be happening.

I decided that I wanted to share this post, and my answer, in case anyone else is having a similar problem.

Here’s the message:

I have just recently been diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome. After a year of symptoms and 6 months of PT thinking it was my neck that was causing my hand and arm numbness while I slept, it was finally discovered that the nerve impingement was TOS related, specifically the pectoralis minor. My symptoms have worsened since working that area (maybe inflamed it?), but it has only been a week so far of the new stretches and such. What part of your system might help me? I am looking to supplement at home what the P. therapist already does for me.   Thank you.

and here is my response:

As you were saying that the pain and numbness came while you slept, I immediately began thinking of your pectoralis minor muscle. Another muscle that is involved is your biceps (short head) because that tendon also originates on the same coracoid process as your pecs minor inserts. Both of them will pull down on the coracoid process and put pressure on the nerve. Also, if you bend your wrist while you are sleeping, the odds are it is also your forearm muscles are involved.

The Julstro System teaches you how to self-treat every muscle that has any impact on your median nerve, as well as the muscles that impact the ulnar and radial nerves to your hand and wrist.

It doesn’t surprise me that stretching it is making it worse. The problem with stretching is that it doesn’t always release the spasms that are shortening the muscle fibers. In fact, I’ve found that most of the time you have to first release the spasms, and then you can safely stretch.  The analogy I use is, if you had a 12″ piece of rope and you tied enough knots in it to make it 11″ long, you couldn’t stretch it back to 12″ without first untying the knots.  It’s the same thing with your muscles.  That’s what the Julstro System does, it shows you how to find the many knots, and how to untie each of them, and then how to safely stretch all the muscles.

I think you’ll be very pleased with the results, and since you know how to self-treat, you don’t have to worry about the muscle shortening again in the future, you will just treat it at the first sign of a problem, and it’s better.

I only wish there was some way to get the word out further that stretching, without first releasing the knots in the muscle fibers, will cause pain and could potentially tear the muscle fibers.  At least you know it, and I hope you’ll tell others.

Have a great week,



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