Posted by: admin in Monthly Newsletter on November 7th, 2012

Dear Patients and Friends:

Thanksgiving is therapy for the heart, and at this time of year, we want take a few minutes to reflect on the many blessings that have come our way.  We are conscious of such blessings and privileges and cannot recount these for long without feeling true Thanksgiving of the heart.

It’s good to make a Thanksgiving list and we’d like to share our list with you.

  • We are thankful for family and friends and home.
  • We are thankful for the memories of other Thanksgiving seasons.
  • Most especially, for all of you, our patients.  We are grateful that you have given us the opportunity to serve you and share in the privilege of your healing.
  • And we thank you for sharing your good news with others so that they, too, may enjoy improved health through chiropractic.

Yours for better health naturally,

Dr. William A. Miller

We Wish You and Your Family a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!

Understanding Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

The thoracic outlet is a small space between the collarbone (clavicle) and the first rib.  Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is a group of disorders that involve compression, or irritation of the nerves, blood vessels, or veins in the thoracic outlet.  This can cause pain in the shoulders and neck and numbness in the fingers.

What are the Causes?

The cause of the compression can vary and may include:

1.  Anatomical defects:  Inherited defects present at birth, including a cervical rib-an extra rib located above the first rib-or an abnormally tight fibrous band connecting the spine to the rib.

2.  Poor posture:  Drooping the shoulders or holding the head in a forward position can cause compression in the thoracic outlet.

3.  Trauma:  A traumatic event, such as a car accident, can cause internal changes that then compress the nerves in the thoracic outlet.

4.  Repetitive activity:  Doing the same activity over and over can wear on the body’s tissues.  You may notice symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome if your job requires repetition of a movement, such as typing on a computer for extended periods, working on an assembly line, or stocking shelves and repeatedly lifting things above your head.

What are the Symptoms?

The symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome, as well as their intensity, vary between individuals and depend on the location of the compression site.  When nerves are compressed, signs and symptoms often include:

  • Numbness or  tingling in the neck, shoulder, arm or fingers
  • An ache in the arm or hand
  • Weakening grip
  • Difficulty with fine-motor tasks

Compression of one or more veins or arteries can result in symptoms such as:

  • Bluish discoloration of the hand
  • Swelling or puffiness in the arm or hand
  • Coldness of hands or fingers
  • Throbbing lump near the collarbone (clavicle)
  • Deep pain in the neck and shoulder region that may increase at night
  • Arms and hands that are easily fatigued

How is it Diagnosed?

Because TOS doesn’t have unique symptoms, it can be difficult to diagnose.  It is important to differentiate TOS from other conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, shoulder tendinitis and a herniated cervical disk.  A detailed health history and thorough physical examination are the most important components in establishing the diagnosis of TOS.  Your Doctor of Chiropractic may also recommend xrays, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), laboratory tests, or a nerve conduction velocity test if he or she suspects TOS.

How is it Treated?

In the vast majority of neurological TOS cases, a conservative, non-surgical approach to treatment is most effective, especially when the condition is diagnosed early.  A chiropractic treatment plan for TOS may include a mix of joint mobilization/manipulation, physical therapy modalities, home stretching exercises, and soft-tissue therapy.*  (Read the entire article on our

Did You Know?

More than half of the U.S. soldiers medically evacuated from Iraq and treated at military pain treatment centers weren’t suffering from battle wounds, but for bad backs.  Today’s soldiers carry heavy body armor, serve long deployments in challenging terrains, sit in uncomfortable positions while riding in long convoys, sleep on notoriously ill-supporting Army cots and face the day-to-day stress of living in a war zone, all being the ultimate recipe for musculoskeletal injuries.

Once upon a time, military doctors treated a malady they called “rucksack palsy,” caused by carrying heavy backpacks for many miles.  Today’s soldiers still must carry heavy loads, including 30 pounds or more of body armor.  Hiking over challenging terrain, sitting in uncomfortable positions in long convoys and sleeping on sagging cots all help to contribute to the continual stain on the spines of our servicemen.  Intense vibration combined with poorly designed seats affect the low backs of helicopter pilots and air crews as well as lifting heavy ordinance onto the bomb racks of a wing or pushing aircraft around on a flight deck.  The G-forces experienced by jet pilots on a daily basis compress the spinal disks, and many complain of severe headaches and back pain.

Acceptance by the military medical establishment has been spotty at times, but chiropractors say the troops themselves have been quick to embrace chiropractic.  “We can hardly meet the demands.  We just take good care of our patients, get them better, and that speaks for itself.  We’ve never had to go out and look for business.  There’s always somebody waiting to get in here,”  says Dr. McKinney, McCullough’s care provider at Eglin Air Force Base, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and practicing at Eglin since 2003.*  (Read the entire article at, ChiroHealth Newsletter, August 2010).

Develop the Once-A-Month Chiropractic Tune-Up Habit

*(reprinted in part with permission of the American Chiropractic Association)

No individuals, including those under our active care, should use the information, resources or tools contained within to self-diagnose or self-treat any health-related condition. Diagnosis and treatment of all health conditions should only be performed by the doctor or other licensed health care professional.
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