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Physical Therapy for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Treatment for neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome typically begins with physical therapy. Experts at NYU Langone’s Rusk Rehabilitation provide therapy to reduce compression of arteries, veins, and nerves. Physical therapy can also strengthen muscles, improve flexibility, decrease pain, and promote good posture, which can decompress the brachial plexus.

A doctor who specializes in rehabilitation medicine, called a physiatrist, evaluates your condition and creates a customized treatment plan. This may include stretching and endurance exercises, as well as electrical stimulation and heat to help improve blood flow. It may also involve manual manipulation and mobilization of the shoulder, chest, arms, or hands to release restricted soft tissue and muscle. 

Therapy may also involve occupational therapy, which can help you regain the mobility and strength in your shoulder and arm that is necessary to perform everyday tasks, such as getting dressed. This type of therapy may also include education about preventive measures, such as carrying lighter loads, taking frequent breaks from activities involving the upper body, and using proper posture to avoid straining the affected area.

Your physical therapist teaches you exercises to perform at home between appointments. These movements can help improve your symptoms and prevent them from worsening.

Our Research and Education in Thoracic Outlet Syndrome in Adults

Learn more about our research and professional education opportunities.