Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
What is Thoracic Outlet Syndrome?
Thoracic outlet syndrome is a group of conditions that result from nerves and blood vessels in the neck and shoulder being compressed. this can be caused by a rib, scalene muscles, etc., poor posture or obesity, be the result of an injury like a car accident, or occur due to overuse of the shoulders and arm.
What are the Symptoms?
The symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome include:
- Pain in the neck, shoulder and/or arm
- Numbness or tingling in the arm, hand or fingers
- Circulation issues in the extremities, resulting in swelling, redness, or cold to the touch
- Weakness in the shoulders, arms and hands
How is it Diagnosed?
Your doctor will complete a thorough physical exam, including a neurological exam. At least one diagnostic imaging study will be taken, including:
- Nerve conduction study
How is it Treated?
When treating thoracic outlet syndrome, non-surgical treatments are generally considered first. your doctor may recommend physical therapy to strengthen your shoulder muscles, improve range of motion and posture and open the thoracic outlet. Your doctor may also prescribe pain medication, along with anti-inflammatory medication and muscle relaxants. If there are related blood clots, you may receive a prescription for clot dissolving medication and anticoagulants. If these treatments aren’t effective at relieving your symptoms, surgery may be recommended.Previous Page Last Review Date: May 15, 2019