Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Contributed by Dustin Gonzales
Health & Fitness Professional

Ever wonder why we get that tingle of discomfort just below the scapula, neck, and shoulder? While the cause is unknown and it can be triggered by numerous of traumas such as car accidents, repetitive arm movements, poor posture, obesity, etc. The cause of this compression could be a thoracic issue know as thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS).
Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is a condition involving the vessels of the neck, shoulder and arm. The bundle of nerves, veins and arteries is known as the brachial plexus. Problems arise when the brachial plexus is compressed somewhere along its journey from the spinal cord to the shoulder and arm. The exact origin of TOS is often misunderstood as the symptoms are closely related to carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Adding insult to injury, the fact that many suffering individuals do not know the difference between the symptoms of TOS, CTS, or maybe even a possible shoulder impingement. Therefore, it is important to understand that the following symptoms could be due to one of several possible upper-extremity issues.

Symptoms of TOS may include:
Numbness and tingling in the arm, hand or fingers
Pain in the neck, shoulder or hand
Discoloration and swelling of the arm and hand
Cold arm, hand or fingers.

It is best to see your physician to treat these symptoms and get clearance before engaging in an exercise program.

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