Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) is a condition caused by the compression of the neurovascular structures that pass through the thoracic outlet, located between the collarbone and the first rib. In athletes, TOS is often caused by repetitive overhead movements or direct trauma to the shoulder or neck, while in sedentary individuals it can be caused by poor posture and prolonged sitting.
The most common symptoms of TOS include pain in the shoulder, neck, and arm, numbness or tingling in the hand, and weakness in the affected arm. Athletes may also experience decreased range of motion and muscle atrophy, while sedentary individuals may have difficulty lifting objects and performing daily tasks.
Conservative management of TOS includes addressing the root causes of the condition, such as correcting posture and avoiding repetitive movements that are aggravating, while also forcing the body to adapt in the necessary ways using targeted movements and progressions.
It is important to develop a long-term strategy for managing TOS, as symptoms may recur if underlying issues are not addressed. If conservative management is not effective, or if the diagnosis is unclear, we may refer patients for imaging and second opinions to ensure that the most appropriate treatment plan is developed.