Thoracic Outlet Syndrome



The thoracic outlet is the area of the lower neck and upper chest. This area has a variety of nerves, blood vessels, muscles and bones that run through a fairly small area. When the nerves and blood vessels of this area are compressed, irritated or injured they can cause a range of symptoms known as the thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS).
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
exh39732 96472 1
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


Compression, injury, or irritation of nerves and blood vessels can be caused by:
  • Defects in nearby structures
  • Poor posture
  • Trauma
  • Repetitive arm or shoulder movement
  • Tumors

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of TOS include:
  • Having an abnormal first rib
  • Poor posture
  • Repetitive motion
  • Trauma
  • Obesity


TOS may cause the following:
  • Arm or hand pain
  • Arm or hand weakness
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Cold sensitivity in the hands and fingers
  • Pain or sores of the fingers
  • Poor blood circulation to the arm, hands, and fingers
  • Swelling of the limb
  • Skin of arm turning pale and blue


Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.During an elevated arm stress test, your doctor will ask you to hold your arms and head in positions that may cause the TOS symptoms to reappear. The results of these tests will help determine whether you have TOS and rule out other possible related conditions.Other tests may include:
  • Blood tests
  • Electromyography and nerve other conduction tests
Images of internal body structures may be taken with:

leave comments
Did you like this? Share with your family and friends.
Related Topics:
Current Research From Top Journals

Water Before Meals May Promote Weight Loss
August 2015

A randomized trial found that drinking water before main meals led to higher weight loss than those who were asked to imagine a full stomach before main meals. Water preloading is believed to help create a feeling of fullness or satiety during the meal, which may help curb overeating.

dot separator
previous editions

Fecal Transplants Induce Ulcerative Colitis Remission
July 2015

Exercise Associated with Healthy Baby Weight
June 2015

Mindful Meditation May Reduce Symptoms and Complications of Insomnia
May 2015

dashed separator


Our Free Newsletter
click here to see all of our uplifting newsletters »