Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, or TOS, is actually an all-encompassing term that covers a group of disorders that can cause tingling, numbness and swelling in the hands, arms, neck and chest. In TOS, the nerves and blood vessels located in the lower neck and upper chest area become severely compressed, leading to moderate to severe pain in the affected areas. Weakness, tingly and unexplained swelling in the hands, fingers, neck, chest and arms can all develop due to TOS and can get worse without proper treatment.
Who is at risk for TOS?
We don’t know exactly what causes TOS, but there are some common situations and conditions that can increase your risk of developing the often painful and annoying symptoms. While the moderate to more severe pain in the neck, arms, and shoulders associated with TOS can hit both men and women at any age, there are certain circumstances that can make patients more susceptible. We often find TOS in the following types of patients:
Not everyone with TOS has the same symptoms and it can take some time to get a proper diagnosis. Luckily, there are highly effective physical therapy treatments and lifestyle changes that can reduce the chronic, widespread pain for good.
How Physical Therapy can Treat TOS
Because the symptoms of TOS often mimic some potentially life-threatening conditions, such as heart problems and vascular system issues, patients should be fully evaluated by their physician before beginning any type of treatment. To diagnose TOS and rule out other potentially dangerous health conditions, patients will typically undergo CT scans, MRI’s, blood tests, cervical spine x-rays and vascular monitoring.
Once a diagnosis of TOS has been confirmed, physical therapy can help reduce your pain by strengthening weakened muscles and restoring balance throughout the body. Treatments are focused on the neck and shoulders and are designed to lengthen muscles which can improve posture and lead to a dramatic and long-term decrease in painful, chronic TOS symptoms.
Get Rid of the TOS Pain with Total Motion Physical Therapy
The good news about TOS is that it is highly treatable with customized physical therapy treatment plans and specific lifestyle changes designed to address poor posture and reduce the strain of repetitive motions. If you are tired of dealing with the chronic, upper body pain commonly associated with TOS, let our specialized doctors of physical therapy help. We’ll create a personalized rehabilitation program the caters to your needs, ultimately restoring your total function for a total life. Remember a referral may not be necessary. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.