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Old 09-11-2021, 06:40 AM #1
driftless driftless is offline
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Hello, this is my first posting.
With the help of a sister who was a registered nurse for over forty years I have deduced what I think is Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. My sister had similar symptoms developed in the course of her work as a nurse.
My problem stemmed from poor posture. I am an amateur musician and started developing weakness in my hands in my early thirties.
I saw neurologists at two different clinics in my hometown in the early eighties. They gave me cursory hand strength exams, stuck needles in my hands, and they told me I didn't have any problems. Not one of them talked to me about possibly correcting my posture. I don't know if TOS was a topic that was discussed among the medical community at that time, but at any rate the doctors were worthless.
I didn't correct my posture until I was in my mid forties thanks to advice from a chiropractor I was seeing. I then was alerted to a book about correct posture and the Alexander Technique by a massage therapist.
After one month of correcting my posture I was able to resume playing my guitar for hours. a day where for the previous fifteen years I had rarely been able to practice.
They symptoms for TOS I had did not involve any pain. I simply had numbness in my fingers. I arms became extremely fatigued when i put them over my head.
Because my arms became tired and sore quickly I could not play tennis as well as practice my guitar. My right hand is still discolored.
Everything I loved to do came to a halt.
But after correcting my posture I was able to resume playing my guitar and playing tennis.
But after I started working for the USPS later that year the problems resumed chiefly from having to do a lot of lifting and throwing (yes throwing) of heavy objects. I would occasionally have periods where the strength in my arms and hands would return but then I'd get relapses,'
It wasn't until I retired and bought a back brace and started doing stretching exercises that my health improved. I actually thought I had TOS licked.
But then I'd have relapses. I'd start losing strength in my hands and arms despite the back brack and stretching.
The funny thing was when I noticed the strength leaving I'd lessen the time I practiced.
But when after resting my arms and hands for a week I found the strength had almost completely disappeared and I was back to square one. This has happened numerous times over the past ten years. I'd build up strength, things would be looking good, and the arms and hands would start getting sore and weak again, and the strength would go down to square one.
It was only recently that I discovered that my sleeping habits might have a lot do with my problems.
For all my life I had preferred to sleep on my right side the side where I had most of the TOS problems. because I'm right-handed.
I have read articles about TOS for many years, but I had failed to pick up about not sleeping on the side with the major TOS problems. So I will see if that was one of the major problems in keeping my strength in my arms and hands.
My advice to anyone who has problems with hand and/or arm strength is to check your posture. If you do get diagnosed with TOS don't sleep on the affected side.
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Old 09-11-2021, 09:06 AM #2
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Welcome driftless. Someone will be along.
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Old 09-11-2021, 01:07 PM #3
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driftless, welcome!

Thank you for adding your experience. I haven't been diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome but have arm weakness problems. I'm going to start paying more attention to posture thanks to your comments. I have MS and when tired I tend to slump over--a very bad habit.
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Old 09-11-2021, 02:12 PM #4
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OP: Reading your issues, sounds like you figured a lot out about where you are now. So many I'm sure ended up with health issues from what they loved to do in their lives, job wise and fun. I know my sister did who ended up with MS and I believe in her life, it was stress of the job and also foods.

For me it probably was a lot of dancing, which I loved to do and a lot of exercise, and stress from jobs but I worked on my health as best I could thru my life. Now at 83, I can't do much but have good memories.

I've been a back sleeper for probably 11 yrs since hip replacement and I can't sleep on sides, especially hip surgery side and the other side I mess up my shoulder....so it's the back. And I do sleep good. Hope you'll get some insights here.
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Old 09-11-2021, 05:29 PM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agate View Post
driftless, welcome!

Thank you for adding your experience. I haven't been diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome but have arm weakness problems. I'm going to start paying more attention to posture thanks to your comments. I have MS and when tired I tend to slump over--a very bad habit.
Sorry to hear about your MS. That dwarfs my problem.
There were a number of factors contributing to what I'm pretty sure was TOS. The sad thing is that if I had been diagnosed with TOS (which was known at the time I went to seek medical help) I could have saved about 15 years before I discovered my problem.
But after becoming aware that I had TOS it only took me four weeks to almost get completely healthy.
That's the problem with many mechanical/postural problems. Even when you correct your posture or some other wrong thing you're doing with body, it often takes weeks/months to see the benefits.
But I was very glad to finally know what my problem was. I wish I had started a program of stretching, use of a shoulder/back brace, and sleeping on the unaffected side when I figured out that I had TOS.
I wish you good luck in getting help for your problem. I'm just a petty whiner compared to what you're going through.
But your teachers and parents were right.....sit up straight, walk upright, and don't slouch. Good posture is every important for good health.
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Old 09-11-2021, 05:42 PM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caroline2 View Post
OP: Reading your issues, sounds like you figured a lot out about where you are now. So many I'm sure ended up with health issues from what they loved to do in their lives, job wise and fun. I know my sister did who ended up with MS and I believe in her life, it was stress of the job and also foods.

For me it probably was a lot of dancing, which I loved to do and a lot of exercise, and stress from jobs but I worked on my health as best I could thru my life. Now at 83, I can't do much but have good memories.

I've been a back sleeper for probably 11 yrs since hip replacement and I can't sleep on sides, especially hip surgery side and the other side I mess up my shoulder....so it's the back. And I do sleep good. Hope you'll get some insights here.
I'll find out in few more weeks maybe. But it makes sense. Sleeping on the side of your body most affected by TOS can prevent healing.
I've been a right side sleeper my whole life which is the side most affected by TOS.
Before I started correcting my posture in my mid forties (I'm now 71), I'd experience weakness and numbness in both hands. Both arms would get fatigued almost immediately if I tried to exercise them. I became interested in juggling and it took me a long time to learn basic juggling because my arms would get super fatigued almost immediately. Raising my arms over my head made them super tired another sign of TOS.
Since correcting my posture and using a back brace and stretching the only weakness I experience now is on my right arm. So at least no problems with my left arm and hand anymore.
But not sleeping on the side of your body most affected by TOS makes a lot of sense. I probably minimized the good of stretching, good posture, and the back brace by sleeping on the damaged nerve bundles for 7-8 hours every day.
We'll see what happens.. I would like to hear stories from people who improved or cured their TOS situation by changing their sleeping positions. I could not find any stories about that possibility on the internet. But I did see a number of admonitions about not sleeping on your TOS-affected side of the body. I hope that was the problem.
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Old 09-11-2021, 06:55 PM #7
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Have you found and explored our TOS forum and the TOS sticky threads?
Or our site search tool might find related posts faster.

From the symptoms you describe, it sounds like you have VTOS , a blood flow based TOS.
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Old 09-12-2021, 05:25 AM #8
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Originally Posted by Jomar View Post
Have you found and explored our TOS forum and the TOS sticky threads?
Or our site search tool might find related posts faster.

From the symptoms you describe, it sounds like you have VTOS , a blood flow based TOS.
I have only recently joined this forum, but I am eager to seek any help possible and to help anybody else if possible. Thank you for asking.
I should like to mention one other thing people can do to relieve symptoms or related health problems and that is to eliminate trigger points.
I discovered trigger point therapy in my mid thirties almost ten years before I found out my chief problem was posture related. I was also liked to play tennis and hit the ball hard. That along with poor posture possibly help create many trigger points.
But after reading books about trigger points ( can't remember how I was alerted to them) i discovered many severe trigger points on my chest and arms. As anybody who has tried to eliminate them knows it can be very painful. to get rid of them.
I am an amateur musician who plays the guitar and other instruments requiring good breath control like the harmonica and flute. I'm not going to be appearing at Carnegie Hall any time soon, but I did and still do enjoy making noise on a variety of string and other instruments.
Before discovering trigger points I could scarcely get any breath into my harmonicas and flutes. I could barely play for more than a few minutes and poorly at that. I discovered that my intercostal (rib) muscles were peppered with trigger points many of them very painful to eliminate.
But after correcting my posture and eliminating most of the trigger points in my chest and arms I began to get may wind back and play my harmonicas and other instruments needing breath like flutes and tin whistles. (I love to play Irish folk music.) I now at 71 have far better breath control than I did in my mid thirties before I corrected my posture and eliminated many chest trigger points.
So bad posture can cause many other problems. If you have muscle problems, a number of them might be trigger-point related as well as neurologically related.
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Old 09-14-2021, 04:27 PM #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caroline2 View Post
OP: Reading your issues, sounds like you figured a lot out about where you are now. So many I'm sure ended up with health issues from what they loved to do in their lives, job wise and fun. I know my sister did who ended up with MS and I believe in her life, it was stress of the job and also foods.

For me it probably was a lot of dancing, which I loved to do and a lot of exercise, and stress from jobs but I worked on my health as best I could thru my life. Now at 83, I can't do much but have good memories.

I've been a back sleeper for probably 11 yrs since hip replacement and I can't sleep on sides, especially hip surgery side and the other side I mess up my shoulder....so it's the back. And I do sleep good. Hope you'll get some insights here.
sorry. I didn't read your response correctly. It's your sister who has ms. My sympathy for her.
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