Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) occurs when the nerves and vascular structures (blood vessels) from the neck get compressed as they run through the shoulder into the arm. There are a few structures that can cause the compression, namely the scalene muscles in the lower neck, the collar bone, or the pec minor muscle in the shoulder/chest area.
TOS is one of the easiest conditions to evaluate as there are some basic tests including Adson’s Test, Allen Maneuver, or Wright Test that can usually identify the location of the compression. Many times, there may also be compression in the neck due to spinal disc herniations or further down the arm in the elbow (supinator, pronator teres, or biceps muscles) or wrist (carpal tunnel or wrist flexor tendons).
Symptoms may include numbness, tingling, weakness, pain or blanching of any of the fingers. A common sign of this is numbness or tingling into the hand or fingers when raising the arm overhead for 20-30 seconds.
Conservative management like that offered at Kaizo Health is very effective in treating TOS without drugs or surgery. Specifically, the focus needs to be first and foremost on stretching the muscles that are tight and causing the pinching of the nerves. Secondly, the rehabilitation program will need to correct any postural issues, strengthen the shoulder blade stabilizers, and even addressing the neck stabilizers if that area has a contributing factor to the condition.