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Managing Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

PTD0515_MassageThoracic outlet syndrome is a condition in which the nerves or blood vessels that travel to the arm and hand are compressed between soft tissues near the side of the neck. Most people are able to manage their thoracic outlet syndrome symptoms through physical therapy.  Specialized exercises can improve muscle balance and posture to lessen your symptoms. Generally, surgery should be the last resort when treating this syndrome.
The compression that produces thoracic outlet syndrome can result from a variety of conditions, including
• trauma, such as that which might occur in a car accident
• repetitive injury from job- or sports-related activities
• poor posture
• an extra first rib
Physical therapy and pain management are the two predominant methods of treatment. Exercise strengthens the muscles, increases the range of motion and promotes healthy posture. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, can alleviate immediate pain. A target program of physical therapy often produces results that can eliminate the need for surgery.
The surgical option is reserved for those patients who remain severely debilitated after all other nonsurgical options have been exhausted. Surgery of this nature carries with it certain risks, including, but not limited to, failure to correct the problem, nerve damage, internal bleeding, a collapsed lung and lymphatic fluid leakage.
The earlier thoracic outlet syndrome is diagnosed, the more effective treatment can be. If you experience symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome, we will work with you and your physician to design an individualized exercise program that could help you avoid surgery.
 Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Wyckoff, NJ provides orthopedic, spine and sports physical therapy services for the greater Ridgewood, Wyckoff, and Bergen County region. This blog is intended for informational purposes only and should not be used for diagnostic or prescriptive purposes. The views expressed here are the author’s views and should be taken as suggestions. Always consult your doctor or healthcare practitioner before engaging in a physical therapy or rehabilitative program.

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann is a premier physical therapist based out of Bergen County, New Jersey. He holds an MS in physical therapy from the University of Miami, is credentialed in the world-renowned McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT), and holds an OCS (Orthopedic Clinical Specialist) certification. As of 2018, there are approximately 14,000 ABPTS certified specialists in the nation and less than 400 of them are located in the state of New Jersey. Tom is the owner and director of Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Paramus. He opened the clinic, which specializes in spine and sports injury prevention, in 2004 after many years of experience in the field. Tom’s caring interest in others and his strong belief in continuity of care, combined with his clinic’s ability to find solutions for the most difficult orthopedic problems, have earned Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation its excellent reputation with patients and medical professionals in northeastern New Jersey and beyond. A true “family man,” Tom takes pride in his clinic’s warm and welcoming environment.
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