T4 syndrome is rare yet deceptive issue that can present in many different ways. T4 syndrome most often appears in people whose profession requires long hours in the same position. Working at a computer most of the work day would be a perfect example.
T4 syndrome can be confused with carpal tunnel syndrome, myofascial pain syndromes, cervical spine degenerative conditions, thoracic outlet syndrome, cardiac pain and pain originating from the viscera.
It is crucial that you seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of T4 syndrome to rule out the possibility of more serious conditions.
What is T4 syndrome?
T4 syndrome is characterized by upper back discomfort and diffuse pain in the arms. The exact cause of T4 syndrome is unclear but it is hypothesized that constant extreme postures can lead to blood loss in multiple tissues contributing to symptoms. Another possible cause for T4 syndrome is that the facet joints in the thoracic spine become damage, either from poor posture or trauma, and that causes inflammation to the nerve root at that level. This could lead to symptoms of T4 syndrome. T4 syndrome is more often found in women than men. The reason for this sex discrepancy is unknown.
What are the symptoms of T4 syndrome?
The symptoms of T4 syndrome can vary but can present as:
Upper body pain that is or is not associated with headache and/or neck pain.
Upper body pain usually presents as:
- Paraesthesias in all five digits, or whole hand, or forearm-hand
- Hands feel hot or cold
- Heaviness in upper extremities
- Hands feel and may objectively be swollen
- Non-dermatomal aches/pains in arm and/or forearm
- Pain often described as crushing or like a tight band
Other symptoms include:
- Tenderness upon palpation in the upper back region
- Palpation of the ribs can recreate symptoms
- Poor slumped over posture
- Hands are slightly discolored or purple
How do you treat T4 syndrome?
Treatment for T4 syndrome includes:
- Chiropractic adjustments
- Soft tissue work on the upper back and neck muscles
- TENS unit
- Postural exercises
- Stretching muscles of the chest
- Strengthening muscles of the upper back
- At home exercises to keep good posture
If you are experiencing symptoms of T4 syndrome and wish to discuss your treatments options please schedule your appointment today.