What is thoracic outlet syndrome?
The thoracic outlet is a space between the lower neck and upper chest where a cluster of nerves and blood vessels is located. Thoracic outlet syndrome refers to a group of disorders that occur when the nerves and blood vessels in that region are compressed, irritated, or otherwise injured.
Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) affects patients of all ages and genders, though it’s somewhat more likely to affect women than men. Patients who participate in activities that require repetitive arm motions like swimming and volleyball are at greater risk of developing the condition. The symptoms of TOS include numbness and impaired circulation to the affected areas, although each patient will experience their symptoms differently.
Source: Cleveland Clinic
What causes thoracic outlet syndrome?
Thoracic outlet syndrome is the direct result of the thoracic outlet narrowing. When the area between the collarbone and upper chest shrinks, it can compress the nerves and cause the onset of TOS. However, the cause of the compression can be difficult or impossible to identify.
Frequently, TOS is due to overuse of the shoulders and arms. Activities like swimming, weightlifting, or throwing can lead to excessive wear and tear of the thoracic outlet. Car accidents and other traumatic injuries, poor posture, or obesity can also compress the thoracic outlet.
The most common causes of thoracic outlet syndrome include:
- Overuse of the shoulders and arms
- Traumatic injury
- Poor posture
Meet with the best thoracic outlet syndrome physical therapists
Luna’s physical therapists are highly experienced in treating patients with thoracic outlet syndrome. Leveraging proven techniques and personalized exercise routines, our licensed PTs can help restore mobility and reduce the discomfort associated with TOS. Our PTs will work with you to create a plan that’s tailored to the type, cause, and severity of your thoracic outlet syndrome.
With Luna, patients can get treatment for thoracic outlet syndrome in the comfort of their own homes. It’s physical therapy, delivered.