3 Tips to Help Fix Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

3 Quick Tips to Fix TOS

Thoracic outlet syndrome, also known as TOS, is a painful condition that can cripple your arm’s dexterity. Fortunately, there are some methods you can try at home to minimize your TOS symptoms. By improving your posture, staying active, and strengthening your muscles, you can help keep your body pain-free for now and prevent TOS from interrupting your activities in the future.

Thoracic outlet syndrome is an uncommon medical condition in which certain parts of the cardiovascular system become entrapped within the thoracic outlet, a small opening in the skeletal structure between the clavicle and first rib. Arteries, veins, and brachial nerves travel through the thoracic outlet to get to the upper limbs and chest. Typically, the thoracic outlet helps protect these vital structures. However, sometimes those structures become compressed and cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the neck, shoulder, and arms.

Fix Your Posture

Proper posture plays an important role in preventing many common injuries, including thoracic outlet syndrome.  If you have poor posture and are experiencing nagging shoulder, neck, and back pain regularly, it may be time for a posture fix.  Try this posture correction technique against a wall to help realign your spine and break those bad posture habits!

***Disclaimer: Always consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program.  If you experience any numbness, tingling or reproduction of your symptoms, please contact your doctor.

  • Stand with your back against the wall, feet hip-width apart and about a foot away from the wall, knees slightly bent.
  • Start by drawing your shoulders back against the wall, opening your back up through the front of the shoulders.
  • Roll your pelvis forward or back so that there is a slight arch in the lower back. Control any excessive arch by engaging your lower core.
  • To position your head, nod your chin slightly to bring the neck back to neutral, the plane of the face parallel to the wall.
  • Hold this position for 5 seconds.
  • Relax and do 5 reps of 2 sets.

Stay Active And Stretch

One easy way to keep your body happy and healthy is to get up and move. Exercising and stretching your muscles can also help you avoid muscle cramping and tightness, which is another common cause of shoulder and arm pain.

If you work in an office setting, start a habit of taking regular short breaks to get up and stretch.  Doing a few good stretches every day can keep your muscles loose and improve your range of motion over time. Try these tips to stay active and combat those sedentary behaviors.

Exercises To Prevent TOS

Because your thoracic outlet is located between the neck and shoulder, one common symptom of TOS is neck and shoulder pain. One way to relieve the pain and prevent a future injury is by strengthening the shoulders, neck, and arms. Below are a few exercises to help relieve pain while rebuilding your upper body strength.

***Disclaimer: Always consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program.  If you experience any numbness, tingling or reproduction of your symptoms, please contact your doctor.


  • Tie or wrap an elastic band around a stable object or have a workout buddy hold the center of the band for you.
  • Taking each end of the elastic band, stand tall with abs tight and hold the ends in front of you with elbows bent next to your sides at a 90-degree angle.
  • Pull the handles back until they are next to your side and elbows behind you.
  • Slowly release.
  • Complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Reverse Flys

  • Hold the band with both hands, palms down, at shoulder-height.
  • Pull your arms out to the side away from you, keeping your elbows straight.
  • Return to the center and repeat in the other direction.
  • Complete 2 sets of 10 repetitions.

Don’t Stress Over TOS!

Treating pain from thoracic outlet syndrome can be frustrating, especially when it prevents you from enjoying your day to day activities.  If you haven’t found relief from following these tips, or if the pain is too much to bear, schedule an appointment with us at Airrosti.  Our providers can accurately diagnose the cause of your pain and treat it at its source, eliminating pain quickly and resolving your injury in as little as 3 visits (based on patient-reported outcomes).

Read our Medical Disclaimer here.

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