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Types of Pain and Problems

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome occurs when there is compression of the group of nerves, arteries, and veins that cross the first rib and enter the arm. A cervical rib may cause this compression. However, compression may also be caused by the scalenus muscle (one of three neck muscles) or by fibrous bands. Symptoms usually include pain that is felt in the forearm and is increased with movement of the arm or my raising the arm. Other symptoms include burning or numbness along the arm to the fingers. Symptoms may vary depending on which is being compressed (nerve, vein, artery). The compression may be caused by a repetitive stress movement, anatomical defects, poor posture, increased weight, or trauma. Diagnosis is possible with a thorough examination. Sometimes further testing is required which could include x-rays, MRI’s, and/or EMG/NCS testing. Treatment options include physical therapy, relaxation techniques, medications, and injections. If the pain persists, surgical options may be considered.