Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Upper Spine FAQ

Question:

I have tingling and pain that shoots from my shoulder to my hand whenever I grip or lift things. My doctor thinks I have thoracic outlet syndrome. Will I need surgery, or are there other ways to treat 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. With few exceptions, surgery is a last resort for treating TOS. Most people are able to get a handle on their TOS symptoms through a therapy program. Specialized exercises can improve muscle balance and posture to lessen your TOS symptoms. A physical or occupational therapist usually designs the exercise program. The therapist can also suggest ways to do your work with greater ease and fewer TOS symptoms. Work postures and tasks can contribute to symptoms of TOS.



*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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