By Ali Grenier, RMT

What is Thoracic Outlet Syndrome?

Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is a condition that results from compression of your nerves and blood vessels in the lower neck and upper chest. This compression can occur because of an injury, repetitive activities, and posture. TOS can be more common in people who play overhead sports such as baseball, and people who perform repetitive tasks, such as typing.



thoracic outlet syndrome


What are the signs and symptoms?

Do you experience pain in the shoulder and neck? What about numbness, tingling, or coldness down the arms and hands? Do you experience weakness in your arms or a weakening grip? These are all possible signs of nerve or blood vessel compression. Left untreated, TOS can lead to a worsening of symptoms in addition to a disruption in your daily activities. If these symptoms seem familiar, it’s time to make an appointment with your massage therapist so you can discuss treatment.  TOS is actually a fairly common condition, given that most of us spend our days in front of a computer. For most people, physical therapy is the most common and effective means of treating TOS.

Treatment Options

Massage Therapists are trained to effectively treat TOS with a range of different techniques. We start by performing an assessment so we can determine where your nerves are being compressed. Treatment of the neck, shoulders, and chest areas will loosen any muscles that are compressing the nerves and relieve symptoms. You will also receive stretches and exercises to do at home so you can help correct any postural imbalances that are contributing to the condition. A gentle scalene stretch, depicted above, is an effective way to loosen your neck muscles, and relieve discomforts associated with TOS. Talk to your massage therapist today so we can help you on the road to recovery and be sure to read about all our other services we offer. 


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