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Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (Head/Neck) treatment guide

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Guide Overview

A brief summary of what you'll find inside our treatment guide.


Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is a chronic condition, which means that it often develops over a long period. Around 95% of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome cases are postural in origin and are often associated with sitting or desk-based occupations.

Causes (Aetiology)

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is a very unpleasant condition and is caused when the muscles of the neck become shortened and tight and compress a collection of nerves and blood vessels that supply the arm, hands, and fingers

Signs and symptoms

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome often feels better with rest and a little pain relief but without effective rehabilitation, it tends not to resolve.

Symptoms include:

  • Neck and shoulder pain with referral into the arm and hand
  • Numbness, tingling or pins and needles into the hand and fingers
  • Shoulder weakness, or loss of grip strength in the hand
  • Pain when looking over the shoulder or nodding the head

Acute phase management

Most people fail in their treatment of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome because they are unable to identify the cause of their pain. Once the source has been identified, effective steps can be taken to manage the symptoms.

Our treatment guide will help you to identify what’s causing neck pain and create the right conditions to begin effective rehabilitation.

Post-acute phase management

Post-acute phase rehabilitation involves the staged introduction of isometric, concentric and eccentric muscle stretches, scar tissue removal and mobilisation exercises to decompress the neurovascular structures that run through the neck and supply the arm.

Condition-specific exercises will help you achieve a full, pain-free range of movement to stop the symptoms coming back.


Thoracic Outlet Syndrome responds well to self-treatment and conservative care; although recovery times are dependent on the severity of the condition.

Our treatment guide provides comprehensive tips and advice to achieve a full recovery in the shortest possible time.


If you follow our treatment guide correctly and are diligent with the rehabilitation programme, then complications are unlikely.

However, without correct rehabilitation symptoms tend not to resolve and lead to altered sensation and muscle wasting in the forearm, hands, and fingers.

Periodic stretching and neck mobilisation to reduce tension and improve blood flow are some of the techniques contained in our clinically proven treatment guide to help prevent reoccurrence.

Start today and fast track your recovery!

Our guides contain all the latest clinical advice for musculoskeletal healthcare.

You can save hundreds of pounds or dollars on expensive physical therapy by treating the condition simply and effectively at home.

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Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (Head/Neck) treatment guide

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