Patient Comments: Thoracic Outlet Syndrome - Causes

Question:

What caused your thoracic outlet syndrome? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: KR, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 01

I was lucky enough to be born with a set of spare ribs. One extra rib rubbing on each side of my neck. The right is larger than the left and I suspect is the cause of most, if not all, of my thoracic outlet syndrome symptoms (horrible, debilitating spasms of pain in my right upper arm).

Comment from: Kwajbabe, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: February 25

My thoracic outlet syndrome occurred as a result of a total shoulder replacement in 2012 done by an experienced orthopedic surgeon with an egotistical attitude. He assured me the numbness in my middle, ring and first finger would diminish within 3 months following surgery and there was no need for me to seek physical or occupational therapy. Finally, at 11 weeks after surgery I asked what next and he finally sent me for nerve testing which indicated brachial plexus nerve damage to the median nerve. Now I learn I should have had therapy at that time. Now (2/2016) my hand claws (spasms) from the elbow down and my first finger triggers if I bend my hand in a downward motion and it's very painful. My new A.R.T. (active release techniques) certified chiropractor explained all that I have read in this article. Obviously, I should have had therapy when the problem first existed!

Comment from: BiologyBrwin, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: July 08

I was diagnosed with breast cancer while I was pregnant at age 28. I did chemotherapy while pregnant and more after I had my little girl. Then I had bilateral mastectomies with expander implants. That's when I think my thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) started. I began having heaviness and pain in my chest wall and collarbone. My arms felt heavy. I wasn't allowed to raise my arms for quite some time due to the surgery. The pain continued no matter what I did. I had the expander implants replaced with permanent implants in an effort to look normal and also reduce the pain. It didn't help. I continued to seek medical help for the pain I was in, but the doctors didn't seem to understand. I was sent to a pain management doctor that just gave me blind injections and narcotics that didn't really help. I finally had the implants removed and used my own tissue to reconstruct my breasts. The pain didn't go away, so I was finally sent to physiotherapy. Between them and the supportive care, the doctor finally diagnosed me with bilateral TOS of both venous and neurologic origin. I had my first rib (not a 'bad' cervical rib) removed as well as a bunch of scar tissue (from my breast cancer surgeries perhaps) on the left (the worst side). I still have issues, but not with the blood flow as much on that side.

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