Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS)
What it is: Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is a common cause of neck, shoulder or upper extremity pain. It presents frequently with numbness
or tingling sensations. Its diagnosis can be difficult and usually necessitates special X-Rays and tests, such as nerve testing (EMG).
Cause: This problem is the result of compression of nerves and/or vessels as they pass from the neck into the arm. The compression can
be from an abnormal bone, such as an extra rib, an abnormal muscle, or an injury to the neck and shoulder.
Why did I get it? There is frequently a predisposing factor; you may have been born with the nerves and vessels being normally crowded
behind your collarbone. It can take very little, in that situation, to trigger this problem. Trauma can also be a provoking factor.
What can I do about it? Simple things will often aggravate Thoracic Outlet problems. Poor posture, certain neck and arm positions and
carrying heavy weights are such offending factors and should be avoided. A therapy program is often helpful in relieving the symptoms
What about Surgery? More than half of the people with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome will get better without surgery. A few will need surgery, in
addition to the therapy program, to relieve them from that problem altogether. Surgery is a serious endeavour and and could carry
significant complications. Surgery is not, of course, one hundred percent successful in every person; for this reason, you should take
therapy very seriously to give yourself your best chance of a cure.