Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Upper Spine FAQ

Question:

I am an avid and lifelong swimmer. Recently, I have developed thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS). I have heard that swimming is good therapy. Is swimming OK for someone with TOS?

Answer:

Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is a condition where the nerves or arteries that go to the arm and hand get squeezed between soft tissues near the side of the neck. Swimming can be a helpful part of therapy for TOS patients who can tolerate it. However, you should avoid doing the full breaststroke and the backstroke. These strokes put extra pressure on the nerves and vessels near the thoracic outlet. When your symptoms are under control, you may choose to try these strokes again. But if your TOS symptoms start to come back, you should stop.



*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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