Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS)

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The thoracic outlet is the area where the nerves and blood vessels exit the base of the neck. From here they run down to the shoulder and arm, supplying the hands and fingers Thoracic outlet syndrome is the general term for the condition resulting from compression of these structures. When compressed, pain and pins and needles can shoot down the arm. The most common cause of TOS is poor posture, especially with occupations that require a lot of sedentary work. Occasionally an extra cervical rib can also protrude into the thoracic outlet causing the same symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Numbness and/or pins and needles in the involved arm/hand.
  • Pale skin/coldness in the involved arm.
  • History of poor posture.
  • Swelling of the arm.
  • Pain in the shoulder.
  • History of overhead activities.
  • Potential weakness in the involved arm.