Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Upper Spine FAQ

Question:

I've had pain and tingling in my left arm for several months. I've been to several doctors, and they've run all kinds of tests. They're not sure, but they think I have thoracic outlet syndrome. Isn't there a test that can show for certain that this is my problem?

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. It is difficult to diagnose. The process can be frustrating, as you know too well. There is no one test that shows TOS. And TOS symptoms are similar to the symptoms of many other conditions, including a herniated disc in the neck and carpal tunnel syndrome. Your doctor has to rely on your medical history, a thorough physical examination, and various tests to rule out other possible causes.



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