Apr 24

Get a grip on TOS

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) is a condition involving the compression of nerves and/or blood vessels in the upper limb and neck. When this compression occurs it’s causes a variety of symptoms very similar to that of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). So to avoid confusion how about we get a grip on TOS.

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome occurs when there is a compression of the brachial plexus and/or subclavian artery. This thoracic-outlet.112204compression can happen in one of three areas or a combination of these areas which we call a “double crush syndrome“. Compression can occur: in the neck between the anterior and middle scalene (anterior scalene syndrome), or in the shoulder between the coracoid process and the pectoralis minor muscle (pectoralis minor syndrome), or between the clavicle and the first rib (costoclavicular syndrome).

Symptoms of TOS can be unilateral or bilateral, affecting one or both limbs. Symptoms will also vary depending on your compression site. You may experience:

Numbness and tingling primarily on the ulnar side of the hand (outmost side of the hand) affecting your last two digits and possibly the forearm.
-Aching or throbbing pain in the upper limb, predominantly the shoulder and forearm and hand. Less frequently pain in the neck or chest.
Weakness of the hand/weak grip.
Compromised circulation.

Your therapist will be able to apply some special testing to identify your compression site and also rule out other compression syndromes such as CTS.

TOS may be caused by:thoracic-outlet-syndrome.112503

Internal issues (bony callus, cervical rib) or external ( the use of crutches).
– Poor posture or positioning.
Trauma with inflammation and subsequent scarring.

Treatment of TOS will also vary depending on your compression site. Focus of treatment will be to open tissues of the thoracic outlet releasing compression. With both physiotherapy and massage therapy being very effective.

– Nicole van Zutphen, RMT

Do you want to encourage a loved one to become healthier? Consider a gift certificate. We offer gift certificates for both massage therapy and physiotherapy. They also make great birthday presents!

For more information about our services, see our website at: www.findyourbalance.ca