Shift Performance PT

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome(tos) IN Knoxville

What is Thoracic Outlet Syndrome?

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) is a condition that can cause pain, numbness, and tingling sensations in your neck, shoulder, and arm. It happens when there’s pressure on the nerves and blood vessels that pass through a narrow space between your collarbone and first rib, known as the thoracic outlet.


Optimizing Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) Man

At Shift Performance Physical Therapy in Knoxville, we excel in addressing Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS), a condition particularly challenging for athletes and active individuals. TOS can substantially hinder athletic performance and daily activities with its varied symptoms. Our specialized care focuses on mitigating these symptoms and enhancing overall movement and quality of life.

Understanding Thoracic Outlet Syndrome in Athletes

TOS is characterized by the compression of nerves, blood vessels, and muscles in the thoracic outlet region. Athletes may experience symptoms like:

  • Neck and Shoulder Pain: Often radiating down the arm, this discomfort can significantly impact athletic performance.
  • Numbness and Tingling: Sensations in the arm, hand, and fingers can affect grip and dexterity.
  • Arm Weakness: Challenges in gripping or holding objects, crucial in many sports.
  • Coldness and Color Changes: In the hands or fingers, affecting responsiveness and sensitivity, especially in colder environments.

Causes and Risk Factors of TOS in Active Individuals

TOS can emerge from:

  • Anatomical Variations: Extra ribs or unusual muscle formations that narrow the thoracic outlet space.
  • Repetitive Motion Injuries: Common in sports, leading to muscle and nerve strain.
  • Poor Posture: Often exacerbated by certain sports activities or training regimens.

Types of TOS Impacting Athletes

TOS manifests in various forms:

  • Neurogenic TOS: Primarily affects nerves, leading to numbness and reduced function.
  • Vascular TOS: Involves blood vessels, affecting circulation and temperature regulation.
  • Nonspecific TOS: A less clear-cut form, not distinctly affecting nerves or blood vessels.

TOS Treatment Protocols at Shift Performance Physical Therapy

Our TOS treatment strategy includes:

  • Physical Therapy: Exercises and stretches specifically designed to target TOS symptoms, improving posture and flexibility.
  • Pain Management: Utilizing pain relievers or muscle relaxants to manage discomfort.
  • Lifestyle Adjustments: Emphasizing posture correction and activity modifications to alleviate TOS symptoms.

Navigating TOS Recovery for Athletes

Recovery varies based on the individual and treatment method:

  • Physical Therapy Progress: Focus on enhancing muscle strength, posture, and mobility.
  • Medication and Pain Management: Effective control of symptoms for uninterrupted athletic training.
  • Lifestyle Modifications: Implementing ergonomic changes to prevent TOS recurrence.

Preventive Strategies for TOS in Sports

Key preventive measures include:

  • Maintaining Proper Posture: Essential during training and sporting activities.
  • Regular Muscle Strengthening: Focusing on neck and shoulder muscles to support the thoracic outlet.
  • Activity Variation: Taking breaks and varying movements during repetitive sports activities.

If you’re experiencing TOS symptoms or looking to prevent TOS, Shift Performance Physical Therapy offers expert care. We specialize in assisting athletes and physically active individuals in overcoming TOS challenges, tailoring treatments to enhance your active lifestyle. Our team collaborates closely with you, integrating physical therapy and lifestyle changes for effective TOS management.

For anyone suspecting TOS or struggling with its symptoms, seeking professional evaluation and treatment is crucial. At Shift Performance Physical Therapy, we provide tailored care specific to the needs of athletes and active individuals. Contact us today to start your journey towards a comfortable, active life, free from the limitations of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.


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Terri Albo

I had a great experience with Shift Performance PT!  I was having issues with my knee, and with the exercises I was shown after just a week I saw big improvements and I’m now pain free.  I would highly recommend them. 

Rachel Rice

Blake helped me with knee pain when I started weight lifting in the gym after taking some time off. He was able to figure out what was causing the pain and taught me proper form so I wouldn’t continue to hurt my knee at the gym. I highly recommend Blake for any physical therapy needs!