Thoracic Outlet syndrome

  1. My husband was diagnosied with thoracic Outlet Syndrome and White Hands. The cause is from working as a diamond driller for many years, He is not a very big man, most drillers are.
    The Doctor says it is caused from the exposure to vibrations of drilling. He now also has deterioating discs in his neck.
    Recently he has been in extreme pain and his both arms go numb and they are very painful. Also he is experiencing numbness on the back of his head and along his left side of his face, then he gets a massive headache.
    I know everyone will tell me to get him to a doctor. We have No specialists in our town except for visting ones, and the eaiting lists are long.
    I took him to Er the other morning and his family doctor said " Having a lot of pain, must be from the change in weather, He didn't offer any meds or solutions.
    We will be moving to North Bay shortly and I will bring him to a doctor once we are there.
    Does anyone have any input on this for the present?
    Your wealth of knowledge would be greatly appreciated
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   copperd
    All I know is they generally do first rib resection to alleviate this problem. However you might use tips for Carpal Tunnel for some alleviation of pain. Also Never, Never sleep with the arms thrown over the head. I am not an Ortho, or Neuro Nurse, just hints from listening to surgeons in the OR. And that was years ago. Also keep the hands elevated on a pillow while sleeping (to keep circulation going). Knew a CRNA with the problem. She had the surgery and has had no further problems. Good Luck!!!
  4. by   Zee_RN
    I have no advice either! I have only seen this condition once, in a young (19-year-old) man who was a weight lifter. They did the rib resection on him. He was in my unit but I didn't take care of him so I don't have all the details. He developed a clot and had to be on retevase. Then we discharged him on coumadin but he quit taking it so he could try out for baseball....a scout was in the area so he quit meds...and clotted again. That's when they did the rib resection. That's all I know!

    Hope you find someone who can help you.
  5. by   susanmary
    Have seen positive results with many patients -- surgery by a vascular/thoracic surgeon. There are many types/causes of thoracic outlet syndrome "TOS." In a nutshell: true, arterial, venous, and traumatic. From what you have written about the repetitive nature, I'm guessing he was diagnosed with traumatic TOS. Your spouse needs to be seen by a specialist that has expertise with TOS -- this might mean driving a distance. Each case is different -- but the course of treatment a doctor MIGHT prescribe could include heat, analgesia, physical therapy, and possibly surgery. There are wonderful sites on the internet -- type in "thoracic outlet syndrome" and you will get some solid information.
    Last edit by susanmary on Mar 13, '03
  6. by   susanmary
    After rereading your post, made me feel fortunate to live within 1/2 hour driving distance to two major hospitals and one large university hospital. Don't always like the drive/traffic into the city -- but I do feel fortunate to be able to see specialists when needed.
    Last edit by susanmary on Mar 13, '03
  7. by   sixes
    Thank You all for your responses.
    We will be moving to the city on April 1st. I will get him to a neruo consult asap. He is having a better day today.
    I will get him the pillows for his arms.
    I will also be searching the web.
    I'm pretty new at this computor thing and I find it fascinating and frustrating at the same time. I know there is a wealth of knowledge out there I just get confused trying to figure out where to find things.
    He is unable to have physio as they say his condition is too far gone and that it would only aggrevate the problem.
    I managed to get him to take some advil last night and he at least slept, he hates taking any kind of pill. He has yet to learn what a sick role is He has never been sick except when he was born.
    Keep the info coming every suggestion will be welcome
    It's +7C today. Beautiful
    Have a nice day everyone
  8. by   NRSKarenRN
  9. by   copperd
    Let us know what happens when he goes to the other MD. Best of Luck for you.

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