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Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (T.O.S) is an umbrella term used for when structures such as nerves, arteries, or veins get compressed in the region of neck and shoulder. The vast majority of cases involve nerves, with true compression of arteries or veins rarely being present. Typically, there are three separate sites at which compression can occur:

  1. Between the muscles at the side of the neck.
  2. Beneath the collar bone.
  3. Beneath the muscles of the chest

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome TOS Brisbane Treatment

What causes it?

In general, the condition is not well understood. Different reasons are proposed for the development of T.O.S; overdeveloped ligaments in the area, the presence of an extra rib in the neck, and poor posture leading to shortened muscles around the neck and shoulder. A history of surgery to the sternum (chest bone) may also increase the risk of T.O.S.

What are the symptoms?

The affected person will usually report feelings of pain and heaviness in the arm. Depending on which structure is compressed, additional symptoms in the arm could also include pins and needles, temperature changes, or swelling in the hand. Maximum symptoms will usually occur when the arm is in the overhead position.

How is it diagnosed?

Diagnosis of T.O.S is made by your physiotherapist, based on your symptoms and response to specific tests of your neck and arm.

How is it managed?

The vast majority of T.O.S improves with physiotherapy management comprising of manual therapy, stretches, postural correction, and strengthening exercises at the neck and shoulder.

If you feel as though you are experiencing symptoms related to Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, be sure to make an appointment with one of our physiotherapists.

Want specific advice for your individual situation? Make an appointment today on (07) 3846 4800.

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