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Injuries and Conditions > Thoracic Outlet Syndrome          
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Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

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                Brachial Plexus (Thoracic Outlet Syndrome)What is Thoracic Outlet Syndrome? 

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is a condition which involves compression of either blood vessels (Subclavian Artery, Subclavian Vein) or nerves (Brachial Plexus) in the shoulder and back.

What are the Symptoms of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome?

Common symptoms include pain throughout the arm including the fingers, hands, and arms (especially the inner side of arms), the neck, the pectorals and the trapezius / rhomboid area of the back.  In serious cases, the affected hand may be noticeably colder, discolored (due to lack of blood flow), and may even experience a 'pins and needles' sensation (numbness).

What Causes Thoracic Outlet Syndrome to Develop?

Most commonly Thoracic Outlet Syndrome arises from physical trauma causing acute pressure which results in compression of the Subclavian Artery/Vein or more commonly the Brachial Plexus.  Another common source is repetitive strain injury from work related tasks (especially when repeatedly Overreaching for the mouse or other work materials).  Thoracic Outlet Syndrome can also arise from spasms or enlargements which result in compression of the affected blood vessels or nerves.  

What Movements Should be Avoided if you have Thoracic Outlet Syndrome?

Try to engage in more movement and stretches as opposed to static awkward postures.  This can assist in relieving pressure in the thoracic cavity.  Ensure that good posture is maintained while sitting (i.e. avoiding 'slouching' or 'leaning' into the arm rest of the chair).  It is also often the case that performing tasks while fully Pronated and with Wrist and Finger Extension and minimal arm movement will also increase discomfort.

What Types of Products can be Used to Help Prevent or Reduce the Symptoms and Incidence of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome?

Overreaching can be avoided by Corner Converters, Writing Surfaces, Document Holders, Book Holders and Compact Keyboards.

To help prevent Wrist Extension, Articulating Keyboard Arms or Adjustable Height Workstations will ensure the proper height for using keyboards and mice.

To assist in reducing Pronation, consider Orthopedic Mice or Vertical Mice which reduce or eliminate the requirement to pronate while mousing.  Also consider Adjustable Keyboards to reduce the degree of Pronation required to keyboard.


Last edited December 16th, 2013

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