The thoracic outlet is the site of the lower neck and upper chest. It has a many nerves, blood vessels, muscles, and bones that run through a small site. Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is when the nerves and blood vessels are squeezed, irritated, or harmed.
Treatment depends on the symptoms that you have. In most cases, TOS is treated with pain medicine and physical therapy.
You may need to take:
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
A therapist will make an exercise plan. It will help to ease symptoms by relaxing nearby muscles, making your posture better, and easing pressure on nerves and blood vessels.
You may need to:
Avoid activity that causes pain.
Practice good posture.
Avoid repetitive motion.
Change your workstation layout.
If other treatments fail, your doctor may advise surgery. The goal is to move or remove the source of the pressure. In some people, this may mean taking out part or all of the first rib. This can make more room for the nerves and blood vessels.
Thoracic outlet syndrome. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Thoracic-Outlet-Syndrome-Information-Page. Accessed March 17, 2020.
Vanti C, Natalini L, Romeo A, Tosarelli D, Pillastrini P. Conservative treatment of thoracic outlet syndrome. A review of the literature. Eura Medicophys. 2007 Mar;43(1):55.
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