thoracic-outlet-syndromeWhat is it?

Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is the term given to the condition in which there is compression of the neuro-vascular structures (nerves, arteries and veins) as they exit the thoracic outlet (neck to the armpit) and into the arm.

Symptoms

  • Since there is compression of neurovascular structures, patients will typically complain of either
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Decreased/increased sensation
  • Weakness in arm/grip or
  • Pain

The most common neurologic symptom is tingling and numbness in the hand.

How does it occur?

TOS usually occurs in athletes in overhead sports. Poor posture, muscle tightness, anatomical abnormalities, trauma, or inflammation can all cause compression of the neurovascular structures.

How do I know if I have it?

If you suspect you have TOS, consult your PPS Physiotherapist today to assist in the correct diagnosis of the problem.

How can physiotherapy help my problem?

There exists research to suggest that physiotherapy treatment helps reduce the symptoms of TOS.

An assessment of posture, movement mechanics, muscle length and strength as well neural tension special tests are done to help diagnose the problem.

From this information, your PPS Physiotherapist will let you know the underlying problem causing the TOS and treat it appropriately.

Some of the treatment techniques include modalities such us ultrasound and interferential, massage, joint mobilizations and neural gliding.

In addition, your PPS physiotherapist will design an exercise program for you to help maintain muscle length and strength and address any contributing movement or postural factors. This will help prevent the problem happening again.