This vice-like compression of the nerves and blood vessels causes pain, tingling and numbness down the arms and hands, much like stepping on a garden hose will cause a sprinkler to shut off many feet away.
“Vascular” Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, also known as Paget-Schroetter Disease, is a medical condition in which blood clots form in the Subclavian vein and it’s branches running down into the arm. There is usually swelling and skin discoloration in addition to pain and tingling.
Clots can form in the Subclavian vein due to abnormal blood clotting or abnormal thickening of the costoclavicular ligament. However, this is relatively rare.
One of the most common causes of clot formation is prolonged pressure by the collar bone on the subclavian vein due to stooped posture.
Thus, a case of Neurogenic TOS can become Vascular after prolonged pressure on the Subclavian vein. Once the clot is removed the TOS symptoms frequently persist because the pressure by the collar bone, Scalenes and Pec Minor remains.
Vascular cases are relatively rare and account for just 5% of all TOS. Neurogenic cases comprise the remaining 95%.
TOS can be caused by sudden trauma, such as a car accident, but it is frequently job related. It is often seen with desk or computer workers and can develop after as little as 6 months on the job. Swimmers and those who work with their arms extended above the head are also susceptible to TOS.
To understand how TOS can be treated successfully please go to “Our TOS Program“.
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) refers to disorders caused by compression of nerves and blood vessels at the “Thoracic Outlet” space within the shoulder.
Typical symptoms include pain, tingling, weakness or numbness spreading from the neck into the shoulder, arm and hand.
There are two main types: Neurogenic and Vascular TOS.
“Neurogenic” TOS, the most common kind, refers to symptoms caused by pressure on the Brachial Plexus and Subclavian artery by the Anterior and Median Scalene muscles, Pectoralis Minor muscle, and Clavicle (collar bone).
What is "Thoracic Outlet Syndrome"?