Thoracic Outlet Syndrome: Episode 70
In this episode: Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) is compression of nerves or blood vessels near the neck and shoulder resulting in pain, numbness, weakness and sometimes cold and blue hands or fingers.
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Brief overview of the episode:
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) is compression of the blood vessels or nerves resulting in pain, numbness, weakness and sometimes cold and blue hands or fingers. Compression is of the brachial plexus (a nerve bundle around the neck/armpit area, think sciatic nerve but of the arms) or the subclabian artery or subclavian vein.
Signs and symptoms include numbness in hands and arms, pain in neck/shoulder/arms, hands, weak grip, possible muscle wasting in the hands (usually at the thumb). There can also be swelling in arms and hands, discoloration and or cold hands, weak pulse and sometimes throbbing near the collarbone.
Causes of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome are trauma, repetivie motions, backpack or similar providing an external pressure, posture or anatomical changes and pregnancy. TOS is most commonly seen in females, about 70% of cases, and with individuals aged between 20-50 years of age.
Typically with physical therapy symptoms can be lessened or reduced entirely. However, on occasion surgery is performed.
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