Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) Treatment

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) is a painful condition where nerves or blood vessels are compressed by the ribs, neck muscles or collarbones.

At Vitalis Physiotherapy, we specialise in lower back muscular injury treatment to:

What is Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS)?

The thoracic outlet is an area near the collarbone and first ribs, or the opening between your lower neck and upper chest. Within this small space are muscles, nerves and blood vessels which run from the neck to the shoulder. Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) involves swelling and pain caused by compression to the thoracic outlet.

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Types of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS)

Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is an umbrella term to describe a group of disorders of the thoracic outlet. The main types of TOS include:

  • Neurogenic (neurologic) thoracic outlet syndrome – most common, triggered by nerve compression of the brachial plexus nerves which control movement and sensation of the shoulder, arm and hand.
  • Venous thoracic outlet syndrome – triggered by the compression of one or more blood vessels under the collarbone, causing blood clots.
  • Arterial thoracic outlet syndrome – most rare, occurring with compression of an artery under the collarbone, causing an aneurysm (arterial bulge).

What are the causes?

Females are more likely to develop TOS than males, and typically it is diagnosed between the ages of 20 to 50. Some common causes of nerve or blood vessel compression include:

  • Poor sitting/standing posture
  • Prolonged periods of laborious activity or repetitive arm movement
  • Traumatic injury (onset of symptoms may be delayed)
  • Anatomical defects, e.g.,cervical ribs or abnormally tight muscles in the thoracic outlet
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Sleep disorders
  • Mental health conditions, e.g., anxiety/depression
  • Tumours
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Shoulder Pain

What are the symptoms?

Neurogenic (neurologic) thoracic outlet syndrome

  • Neck/shoulder/arm/hand pain
  • Numbness/tingling sensations
  • Poor reflexes
  • Arm/muscle weakness

Venous thoracic outlet syndrome

  • Pain and swelling in the arm
  • Arm/muscle weakness
  • Discolouration (bluish tinge) or paleness of the hand/fingers
  • Lumps under collarbone
  • Blood clots in the upper body

Arterial thoracic outlet syndrome

  • Coldness in the arms, hands or fingers
  • Pain in the hand/arm
  • Paleness or blue discolouration in one or more fingers/hand
  • Weak pulse

Treatment for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

As the types, cause and symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) vary, it is important to see a medical professional if you notice any signs of the condition. You may be referred for scans to detect and accurately determine diagnosis.

At Vitalis Physiotherapy, we tailor a unique treatment plan to aid in your recovery through:

  • Soft tissue mobilisations (massage)
  • Stretching exercises
  • Restoring range of movement
  • Postural improvement
  • Dry needling
  • Taping
  • Shockwave Therapy
  • A unique home exercise program
  • Graded Exposure to load program

Your physiotherapist may also advise heat or ice application, rest and if necessary, pain medication. Additionally, they might recommend for you to use neck or back support (braces), or a suitable pillow.


How to book an appointment?

If you have thoracic outlet syndrome, or you’re looking for a ‘physiotherapist near me’, our physios at Vitalis Physiotherapy can assess your condition to tailor a unique rehabilitation plan to aid in your pain relief and recovery.

All you need to do is just give us a call on 0410 559 856 and request an initial appointment. Please let our friendly reception staff know the background and severity of your condition.

You can visit our FAQs for more information about appointments at Vitalis Physiotherapy.

Need Help?

Are you in pain caused by thoracic outlet syndrome? Contact Vitalis Physiotherapy now to book in your treatment.

Call our friendly team on 0410 559 856. We’d love to help.

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Sinnamon Park Village

3/58 Oldfield Road, Sinnamon Park Qld 4073


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