Thoracic outlet syndrome is a group of disorders that occur when the blood vessels or nerves in the thoracic outlet — the space between your collarbone (clavicle) and your first rib — become compressed. This can cause pain in your shoulders and neck and numbness in your fingers.
Common causes of thoracic outlet syndrome include physical trauma from a car accident and repetitive injuries from on-the-job or sports-related activities. Even an injury that happened long ago may lead to thoracic outlet syndrome in the present. Sometimes, doctors can’t determine the cause of thoracic outlet syndrome.
A Note from the Doctor: TOS has become a more prevalent diagnosis in the medical community. It can arise from tightness in the muscles of the neck or pectoral region or a cervical rib could be the cause of the problem. If it is determined through our evaluation that the main issue is muscular in nature we will treat TOS with myotherapy, stretching, and rehabilitative exercises with a limited number of visits for full recovery. If it is determined that the problem is a rib causing the pressure, we will refer for an orthopedic evaluation. Surgical measures are often taken to remove the rib causing the pressure.