shoulder skeleton diagram

Hey Everyone,

This is Paul and I wanted to write about a problem today that many people can have off and on throughout their life, namely, pain or numbness and tingling down one or both of the arms. Now this can happen for a couple different reasons but both of the reasons come down to muscles that have gotten too tight, inflexible, and most likely have knots or trigger points.

The first way that the muscles can cause pain or numbness down the arm is by getting tight and causing what we call Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Thoracic Outlet Syndrome occurs when the muscles get tight enough to compress the blood vessels or nerves passing through the neck to the arm. This can happen in three different areas: 1) between a couple of the muscles of the neck that we call the scalenes; 2) between the clavicle and the first rib; and 3) by the muscle pectoralis minor which is located in the front of the upper chest.


The second way that muscles cause pain and numbness is by knots or trigger points in specific muscles causing pain down the arm and sometimes into the fingers. The big offenders are the Scalenes which cause pain down the outside of the arm and into the fingers and hand. Pectoralis Minor causes pain down the inside of the arm and into the pinky, ring, and middle fingers. Serratus Anterior can cause pain down the inside of the arm and into the pinky and ring fingers. The Latissimus Dorsi muscle, the “lats,” also has a similar pain pattern along the inside of the arm and into the pinky and ring fingers. The pain from these muscles is coming directly from the muscles themselves and not because of a compression of the nerves or blood vessels. Because of this, working them directly can be very effective in reducing or eliminating pain.

Sometimes it can be a little difficult to tell if the pain is coming directly from the muscle or if the muscle is causing a compression of the nerves or blood vessels. This is why surgery is not the best way to deal with these types of problems. In fact, it is often misdiagnosed and symptoms persist after about 80% of surgeries performed for this type of problem.

Instead, Massage is a Much Better Option!

With Massage we would take a two step approach. First, we would have you come in for a massage to work through all of the muscles related to the problem. Second after getting massage we will teach you specific stretches that will help to keep the muscles a little more loose and not so tense. This may seem simple and basic but it actually works very well for most people.

If you have any questions leave a comment down below. If you are having trouble with these types of problems give us a call, send us a text, or just go ahead and make an appointment online and we will do what we can to get you feeling better!

​Paul Ouderkirk LMT

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