Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is a health condition caused by compression of the nerves that pass between the base of the neck and the armpit (thoracic outlet). The condition is characterized by pain in the shoulder, neck, and arm; numbness and/or tingling in the fingers; and weakness in the hands.

Most cases of neurogenic TOS are caused by physical trauma to the area, such as an auto accident, physical exertion, or repetitive motions. However, underlying medical conditions, such as a tumor, cyst, or Paget's disease, can also cause the condition.


Common symptoms of neurogenic TOS include:

  • Pain in the neck, shoulder, and arm.
  • Tingling or numbness in the fingers.
  • Weakness in the hands.
  • Pain and tenderness in the neck.
  • Headaches.
  • Visual disturbances.


Treatment for neurogenic TOS depends on the underlying cause. Initial treatment may focus on rest, physical therapy, lifestyle modifications, over-the-counter medications to manage pain and inflammation, and possible steroid injections or surgery.

In addition, lifestyle modifications can help manage symptoms, such as:

  • Avoiding activities that may cause further compression or irritation to the nerves in the thoracic outlet.
  • Maintaining proper posture.
  • Taking regular breaks for rest throughout the day.
  • Using pillows and supports while sleeping.
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises.
  • Applying hot or cold compresses to the area.

It is important to speak with a doctor to develop an appropriate treatment plan for neurogenic TOS.