Thoracic outlet syndrome Part 2: Conservative management of thoracic outlet Academic Article uri icon


  • Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is a symptom complex attributed to compression of the nerves and vessels as they exit the thoracic outlet. Classified into several sub-types, conservative management is generally recommended as the first stage treatment in favor of surgical intervention. In cases where postural deviations contribute substantially to compression of the thoracic outlet, the rehabilitation approach outlined in this masterclass will provide the clinician with appropriate management strategies to help decompress the outlet. The main component of the rehabilitation program is the graded restoration of scapula control, movement, and positioning at rest and through movement. Adjunctive strategies include restoration of humeral head control, isolated strengthening of weak shoulder muscles, taping, and other manual therapy techniques. The rehabilitation outlined in this paper also serves as a model for the management of any shoulder condition where scapula dysfunction is a major contributing factor.

publication date

  • August 2010