I went to the doctor today to see about my neck/shoulder "crick" that's been hanging around since October 22nd. Turns out it's not a crick at all. I have Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, which is a combination of pain in the neck and shoulder, numbness and tingling of the fingers, and a weak grip, and is caused by the presence of an extra cervical rib (which was discovered in an x-ray he took today). My doctor said he's surprised I've not had more severe problems from it before now because most people with this thing do. Well, it's here now that's for sure. Oh, goodie.
From Wikipedia: A cervical rib is a supernumerary (or extra) rib which arises from the seventh cervical vertebra. It is a congenital abnormality located above the normal first rib. A cervical rib is present in only about 1 in 500 (0.2%) of people; in even rarer cases, an individual may have not one but two cervical ribs. (I have two)
The presence of a cervical rib can cause a form of thoracic outlet syndrome due to compression of the lower trunk of the brachial plexus or subclavian artery. These structures are entrapped between the cervical rib and scalenus muscle.
Compression of the brachial plexus may be identified by weakness of the muscles around the muscles in the hand, near the base of the thumb.
Children born with cervical ribs develop early childhood cancer at a rate 125 times higher than the general population. The Hox genes that control the development of cervical vertebrae are believed to play a role in suppressing cancer.
I'm on a steroid pack to calm down the inflammation and a high-power muscle relaxer. I have to go to therapy for a few days. If it's not any better before Thanksgiving (a week from tomorrow), I'm suppose to call my doctor.
I see many naps in my future. :)