DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
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Thoracic outlet syndrome is a group of disorders that occur when the blood vessels or nerves in the thoracic outlet — the space between your collarbone and your first rib — become compressed. This can cause pain in your shoulders and neck and numbness in your fingers.
Common causes of thoracic outlet syndrome include physical trauma from a car accident, repetitive injuries from job- or sports-related activities, certain anatomical defects, such as having an extra rib, and pregnancy. Even a long-ago injury can lead to thoracic outlet syndrome in the present. Sometimes doctors can't determine the cause of thoracic outlet syndrome.
Treatment for thoracic outlet syndrome usually involves physical therapy and pain relief measures. Most people improve with these conservative approaches. In some cases, however, your doctor may recommend surgery.
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