How Did I Get Thoracic Outlet Syndrome?

Last week we talked about some symptoms of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, so this month we wanted to discuss a few causes.  These activities and conditions can all lead to Thoracic outlet syndrome, which occurs when the thoracic outlet becomes narrowed and compresses the nerves and blood vessels.

An Extra Rib

Some people are born with an extra rib above their first rib. This reduces the size of their thoracic outlet and compresses nerves and blood vessels.

Poor Posture and Obesity

People who don’t stand up straight or who have excess abdominal fat may have increased pressure on their joints. This can cause a narrowing of the thoracic outlet.


Car accidents and other traumatic injuries can compress the thoracic outlet as well as the vessels and nerves in this area.

Overuse of the Shoulders and Arms

Repetitive activities, such as working at a computer or lifting heavy objects above the head, can cause damage to the tissues in the thoracic outlet. Over time, the size of the thoracic outlet may shrink, placing pressure on the vessels and nerves.

If you experience

  • pain in parts of the neck, shoulder, arm, or hand
  • numbness in the forearm and fingers
  • weakness of the hand

please call us at 314-443-7784 to make an appointment or visit for more information.  Don’t keep living in pain.


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