There doesn't seem to be a permanent fix to Thoracic outlet syndrome unless you have a removable tumor?

by Shay
(Colorado )

Get into new foods like making your own hummus or baba ghannouj.

Get into new foods like making your own hummus or baba ghannouj.

There doesn't seem to be a permanent fix to Thoracic outlet syndrome unless you have a removable tumor? That's true, but it applies equally to virtually all medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and hypothyroidism; they all need maintenance care. The alternative is a serious upgrade in diet and exercise program.

I found your site very interesting. And possibly helpful. I've been coping with back and joint pains off and on. Which is why I just cope or deal with whatever the pain of the day is.

I initially started off with lower back pain and spasms. Probably a result of falling or heaving bags. I eventually started experiencing carpel tunnel type pain, but early on it was rare and I knew I typed a lot. Shortly after that have gradually started having pain in my shoulder and back. Depending on your job assignment and school work load I've ranged from typing all day to moving heavy property and bags around a warehouse and up on shelves. The more taxing points were loading gear and luggage on and off aircraft. Or worse, just carrying my own duffle bags. At these times I often wrote the pains off. I was diagnosed with potentially having thoracic outlet syndrome and or something else.

But inbetween different deployments, duty assignments and unspecialized military doctors with "negative" results on MRI scans and X-rays, I never took time or got momentum on any therapy or progress. Now my back feels raw and tired and tender all the time. Wearing a basic bra is unbearable sometimes. I've gone from dull and sharp pains up and down my shoulder neck back, to having the "frozen shoulder" and neck and face and ears and arm all the time.

I'm constantly digging and massaging my arm muscles. But because I've always been "arthritic" I assumed it's because I agitated my neck so much that it was simply my joints wearing away. And it's probably true. The older I get the easier it is for me to now echo that it's old age, but I'm 36 and this has been my life since my early 20's. I'm not 120lbs anymore but I've remained pretty fit, for the most part. I could be stronger but At 5'6 and 135ish lbs with a decent fitness routine, I'm ok. Yet, I can't remember the last period of time I slept without a heating pad. My right breast/chest has a dull to noticeable sensation, deeper in my chest, through my back at times.

This year I started sleeping with a heating pad on my FACE and side of my neck. I am seriously getting concerned about the quality of life I'm facing with the increasing and spreading pains, specifically, if I actually have the thoracic outlet syndrome. I don't want to sleep with a heating on my face for the rest of my life.

Hello Shay,
There's no easy solution but you certainly make it sound like you're on the slippery slope at 36, and ready to ring in some changes.

The first that I'd put to you is a mind shift. Pain is actually your friend; it's telling you something is wrong, and writing it off is akin to ignoring the firealarm. I think you're ready to do that; analgesics and hotpacks for the rest of your life isn't such a pretty prospect.

Just as important, this inflammation in your joints and muscles is almost certainly also happening in your organs and blood vessels.

So where do you start. Firstly, on top of your "decent fitness routine" how about starting some specific exercises for your lower back, neck and shoulders? Simple, easy stuff that's not going to injure you and make things worse, but done every single day. We're talking about an extra 5 to 10 minutes every day.

Secondly, if "you've always been arthritic" then you're probably on the great American inflammatory diet; would you be willing to ring in some small changes? There are a thousand things I could suggest, but I'll make a few simple suggestions.
1. Change to olive oil.
2. Make sure you are having at least five, and preferably eight to ten coloured foods every day. That means salad and fruit. Start wherever it fancies you, but I'd suggest prunes for breakfast, an apple a day, and a mixed green salad (preferably with homemade hummus, olive oil and lemon juice) and veggies like winter squash and beets on a regular basis.
3. Eat omega-3 rich foods on a daily basis; that means fatty fish like salmon, freshly ground flaxseeds (get a little cheap coffee grinder), genuine free range eggs, if you can find them, and freshly cracked walnuts or pecans.

And thirdly, what role might chiropractic have? All I can tell you is that I treat folk with these sorts of problems on a daily basis. There are chiros who'll try to get you locked into a program that'll mean mortgaging your house, but I would recommend a course of say ten treatments, and then a consultation every month. Neither your chiro nor anyone else is going to "cure" you. Your body is calling for maintenance care. Most of that you'll be doing yourself.

The exercises and dietary changes cost some time. The chiro will cost you some genuine money. The alternative is a heating pad on your face for the rest of your life, increasing pain and stiffness and worse stuff that's too ghastly to contemplate.

Are you ready for the mind shift and step up to better health? It's called "I want to live long in the land without pain and pills." Others call it the desire to sit under the trees they once planted and watch the grandchildren grow up. I call it the green journey.

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