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  • Writer's pictureDr Josh Bonine DC

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Overlooked & Often Misdiagnosed in Whiplash

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS):


Overlooked & Often Misdiagnosed in Whiplash Victims



Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) is the result of pressure of a nerve bundle in the neck between the collar bone and a rib caused by a spasm of the scalenus muscle(s) or a congenital misplacement of the muscle into the first rib.


Symptoms of TOS are weakness, tingling, numbness of the arm and portion of the hand as well as heaviness of the upper extremities and headaches.


In many patients with whiplash who do not respond to conventional therapy, doctors often overlook or misdiagnose the Traumatic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome as a congenital problem. According to Kai et al. (2001), "A special type of EMG is essential in diagnosing this syndrome, but there is no effective long term therapy for these patients" (p. 492). This gives some answers to why victims of whiplash type injuries suffer chronic, long term pain and symptoms.


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