I originally became interested in Thoracic Outlet Syndrome purely by accident.
During the 24 years I’ve been in practice, I noticed a great number of patients coming in with chronic upper back pain, which they usually described as “stress”. More often than not, they also had stooped posture, stiff and painful shoulders, and pain or numbness down the arms.
They had a similar medical history which, years later, I heard described as the “TOS Shuffle”. That is, they had been to a series of doctors who really coundn’t say for sure what their problem was.
They had undergone many different treatments, none of which had worked.
These patients usually came to my office as a last resort. Starting from that point, I would treat them with chiropractic manipulation of the spine in order to help relieve pinched spinal nerves and restore proper posture. I noticed that their symptoms would improve but often returned.
It so happened that one of my patients was a yoga instructor. I casually asked if he knew of any yoga exercises to relieve my patients’ upper back “stress”. He showed me a yoga position designed for just such a purpose.
I started using the technique with my patients and noticed a dramatic improvement in their upper back pain and, most surprisingly, in the pain and numbness radiating down their arms. This was very striking because “radicular” symptoms are considered the most medically serious and difficult to cure.
However, it was hard for them to perform the yoga maneuver without my help. I thought that a mechanical device could be useful in guiding the body in the precise way needed to benefit from the exercise. After much thought, I came up with a design which I then built with $12 worth of materials from Home Depot.
This simple prototype proved to be incredibly effective not only at eliminating upper back pain, which was my original goal, but also the radicular arm pain and numbness. To my surprise, I realized that by sheer accident I had developed a successful treatment for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.
Seven years of refinements and many hundreds of patients later, it evolved into the Flex-3. You can read more about it in the Our TOS Program section. I experimented with a variety of other therapeutic methods and eventually developed a comprehensive, highly effective treatment program especially for TOS.
After I realized there was a light at the end of the tunnel for such patients I become passionately interested in Thoracic Outlet, especially after reading the distressing stories posted on websites and blogs. People who are driven by extreme pain to take desperate and often futile measures, whose lives have been so distorted by this awful condition.
What I can tell you is that there is hope for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. I haven’t found all the answers but I’ve come upon some very good ones. Especialy compared to the standard alternatives you might have already experienced.
What I’ve learned is that TOS is a complex condition comprised of a number of separate problems. Pinched nerves, weak and stiff muscles in the chest and shoulder, inflamed tendons to name just a few. To cure Thoracic Outlet Syndrome you must address and cure each of these individually.
We utilize the proper physical rehab methods to treat each separate component part of the “Syndrome”. For the vast majority of patients the cure is quick and dramatic. Without drugs, without surgery.
I know there is hope and there is help for TOS sufferers, I see it every day. I would be grateful for the opportunity to help you as well.
I wish you the best of health,
Dr. John Carlucci, D.C.