Physical therapy?

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I found out about 3 months ago that I had cervical ribs. I was going to my family Dr several times because my left hand is turning blue and my blood pressure on that side is extremely low.  Also severe  neck and shoulder pain.  Everyone says Thoracic outlet syndrome, and I agree. In a couple weeks I am going to a neurologist for a nerve study and EMG to confirm this. I'm nervous!   What I am wondering is do they try physical therapy for T.O.S. caused by cervical ribs?  It doesn't seem like you can do therapy to fix a bone problem. Thanks for any feedback you have. smile

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  • Posted

    My symptoms are similar to yours.just had an MRI today on my neck as my own GP wants to know what exactly is causing the pain.I had been tested by a vein specialist who diagnosed TOS, he put me on aspirin , but told me that there ``is enough blood getting through`` he didn`t want to hear about any pain.my fingers go blue and veins pop regularly especially in cold weather .I`m hoping the MRI will be of some use to my GP as i have been taking painkillers for months.I tried phsio and aquapuncture which helped a bit.hope you get sorted.lots of good articles re exercise on you tube, see the one where two physios show how  lying with a rolled up towel between the shoulders   -it  helped a bit.
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    • Posted

      Thanks for the response ann! Do you have cervical ribs on both sides as well? It's odd that I have them on both sides, larger on the right side, but all my problems are on my left. What kind of test does the vein specialist do? I am so nervous about the nerve tests!

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    • Posted

      I have them on both sides. Larger on my left which caused me the most problems. I had surgery about 2 years ago. Don't be nervous about the test, EMG. I was SUPER sensitive because I also have Psoriatic Arthritis and even then the tests were not painful or bothersome. They ARE kind of funny because it will trigger a response without you involved. It was educational because I found out EXACTLY where things were going awry. As for the Vascular Surgeon, I didn't really have any tests or even physical exam. It was mainly just a consult. I was particularly in pain that day. I was in TEARS. SOOOO embarrassing! I couldn't help it though because I was just SO hopeless. He scheduled me for surgery that day. BEST THING I EVER DID!!! I have SOOO much relief from pain. I do still have some of the numbness. I think that may be nerve damage. I'm not sure if it will ever get completely better but I take Lyrica 3x daily for the nerve issues. Sometimes if I sleep on it wrong I will have some pain and numbness as well. NOTHING compared to before.

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    • Posted

      I had the EMG 2 weeks earlier than planned because they had a cancellation. It wasn't terrible, but I'm happy it's over! The results were normal. Showed no permanent nerve damage so I guess that's good! The neurologist did give me the diagnosis though! I have an MRI on Monday of my brachial plexus.  I'm really hoping after that they will get me in to see an actual Thoracic Surgeon. Seems like this has been going on forever!

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  • Posted

    Hi - I found out I had both C-ribs in 2009, sent to physio to find out range of movement, nerve conduction tests slow-reactions, usual lack of arm pulse when arms up, hands numb, "blunted" fingertips, pins/needles in arms,  etc. MRI thoracic scan with dye to check for vascular impairment (not found) & surgeon said prepare for surgery as nerve impairment likely.

    Meanwhile I thought why now? I was born with these ribs - so researched, forums, & private blood tests I found out I was low pro-hormone Vitamin D & B12 - supplemented and sorted.  Just my story but many report unnecessary ops - join a TOS forum & see.  Good Luck x

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  • Posted

    You're EXACTLY right, or so my Surgeon said. I had an EMG with neurological damage. I think I HAD to do it because of insurance and protocol to get the referral for the Vascular Surgeon. I was going to PT during this time as suggested by my Neurologist. I will admit it was good to have my consult and to get some exercises that may help with my posture and strength associated with my structural problems. However, one of the FIRST things my Vascular Surgeon said, and he has done an extensive amount of these surgeries, was that PT and exercise can't fix a "structural issue."

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  • Posted

    The only time physical therapy has helped me was when I had a stiff neck on the lt. side for 3 weeks making driving difficult because I could not turn my head to see oncoming traffic. They used ice therapy and stretched the muscles in my neck and shoulder. PT could not believe I did not have severe headaches. My Lt. pulse is difficult to find. I have Bilateral Rudimentary 7th cervical ribs, the right is larger than the left.

     

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  • Posted

    So now I've had a CT scan, Emg, nerve study, and MRI. All have come back normal. However, my hand still turns blue and I still feel like I pulled every muscle in my neck and shoulder. Is this normal for all the tests to come back showing nothing? Other than extra robs of course?

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    • Posted

      I'm going to say, "Yes" but I'm not a doctor. As I remember it, you have to go through all the necessary channels for insurance to cover it. FYI: I'm in Seattle, WA USA. Even if those tests are negative, you still have a structural problem aka extra ribs. My surgeon made it a point to say that none of the above can change that fact EXCEPT surgery.

      Also, just to get into a vascular surgeon they want test results to ensure they are doing the right surgery for the right problem. If I were you I wouldn't worry about not getting approved. Your symptoms are exactly what mine were pre-surg. I understand where you're coming from though, I was so scared I wasn't going to get approved. When I finally got scheduled I thought I was going to explode with happiness. 

      It really has been life altering for me. I doesn't help everyone. My suggestion is to go with an open mind, do everything they say, work hard through the pain, and strengthen your muscles as much as possible BEFORE and after. You'll be glad you did. PT is good for that. Strength in my left arm was the LAST thing to heal. Actually, I'm STILL much weaker in that arm.

      Oh, and take the pain pump if they offer it after surgery. It's the wildest feeling EVER... think ghost limb. I was told most people can't tolerate it but it's supposed to help heal quicker. I can't say otherwise, but I will say my healing was quick. I was back at school 3 or 4 days later. 

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    • Posted

      Thank you for all your info! So the Dr who read the MRI said he recommended another MRI with my arm in different positions since she just did the whole thing with my arm bunny side. I asked her about it three times.🙄 Anyway, so I called the neurologist back since he ordered the test to begin with for him to schedule my next one. Apparently he didn't want to deal with me anymore because he referred me to a Thoracic cardiac surgeon. Yay! Now maybe I'm getting somewhere! Oh the MRI did show that I have advanced disc space degeneration between c5-c6. No idea if this is from my friends hanging onto c7 in there. Ha! I'm in Illinois by the way.

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    • Posted

      That IS good news. Lmao... you sound like me! Oh, and that's "Buddy" side, I'm guessing... Meaning, that your arm was down by your side? I was a Medical Assistant and now a Medical Scribe. Anywho...  there IS some controversy about doing surgery. I will send you the link to an interesting site about this. It may take a little while for them to clear it. I believe that this is one of those conditions that you just have to find the right surgeon to do it. I was AMAZED... no, FLOORED as soon as the Vascular Surgeon who had done tons of these scheduled me on the FIRST visit!!! Think about this while you seek out options. Don't take "No" for an answer, if I were you. The controversy has much to do with the fact that surgery doesn't help for everyone. It did for me... if it hadn't, I STILL would have done it... I was SUPER desperate.

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    • Posted

      Yes it was by my side lol. Apparently I was frantic typing.  But about the angiogram, he wants to check for a clot in my subclavian artery or vein or whatever. I'm not really digging the idea of having a camera shoved through my body... but whatever makes my neck and shoulder stop hurting I suppose. I wonder how long I have to wait for results. The thoracic dr wants me back in his office as soon as I can after. I'll wait for your link to come through! Thank you😊

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  • Posted

    My MRI also showed compression and narrowing at c4,c5,c6,c7  .I`m told this is the cause of the stingy sensation in my wrist and arm.I have started physiotherapy and exercises.

     

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  • Posted

    I had my appointment with a thoracic surgeon. He said looking at my MRI that he couldn't say I have thoracic outlet syndrome for sure. He is sending me for an angiogram. Now I'm really scared 😳 has anyone had this?

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