Chiropractic Resolved Cardiac Problems in Older Man with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

 Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, or TOS, is a rare condition involving the thoracic outlet, which is the area between the collar bone and rib cage. Blood vessels and nerves passing through this area can become compressed, causing symptoms including neck and shoulder pain, numbness in the fingers, and a weak grip. Irritation of nearby nerve fibers can also cause cardiac problems, such as arrhythmia.

Although doctors of chiropractic have reported positive results in treating some forms of cardiac disease with spinal manipulation, there is very little published information on the treatment of arrhythmia or TOS through chiropractic manipulation. A 2011 case study describes the treatment of a 60-year-old man who experienced arrhythmia when turning his head to the left. This symptom was attributed to TOS, and had lasted for approximately 7 years. Secondary complaints included pain in the neck, thoracic spine, and hip.

The patient underwent chiropractic treatments involving high-velocity, low-amplitude manipulations. His symptoms improved after one visit, and resolved after the third visit. In the year following the initial treatment, he had minor recurrence of arrhythmia that resolved with chiropractic adjustments. This appears to be the first case report describing the successful treatment of arrhythmia using chiropractic adjustments as the sole intervention.


Shreeve M, La Rose Jr. Chiropractic care of a patient with thoracic outlet syndrome and arrhythmia. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine 2011; 10(2): 130-134.