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Declined Surgery

Tanya's Story

Primary Diagnosis of Neurogenic TOS

My journey started when I was very young.  I was always very flexible. As I grew older, my joints, primarily my wrists, became increasingly unstable and painful, There was also some numbness and tingling in my pinky and ring fingers.  I had VERY tight shoulders and neck muscles; I had spasms in trapezius areas on both sides. Read Tanya's Story

Amanda's Story
Primary Diagnosis: Neurogenic TOS
My TOS story is long and dramatic but I will try to keep it as brief as possible! I grew up on a farm and I always had trouble doing things my brother and sister could do.For instance, in the hay field, I struggled lifting the bale up to the wagon so I was eventually labeled the "lazy" one. I always thought the reason people didn't like washing windows was because it hurt them! Things like carrying a purse either on my shoulder or as a handbag always gave me trouble.  I guess I have had problems all my life but it was "normal" to me so I never complained. read more 

Declined Surgery
Primary Diagnosis: Neurogenic TOS

My struggle with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome began in October of 2006. I am a 36 year old male, outgoing, and formerly a very active person. I have played sports all my life. I am use to hard work and have often had to deal with pain. I had always thought that you went to the doctor only when all else failed, and there was blood gushing from somewhere that just wouldn't stop. I believed that people that could not deal with there problems on there own were, well sissies and needed to learn a thing or two about life. My opinion has changed!  Read Clayton's Story

You're not alone!  
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Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is a complex condition involving compression, irritation or direct injury of major structures within the thoracic outlet such as the subclavian vein, subclavian artery and the brachial plexus. TOS can be very painful, debilitating and sometimes life and limb threatening and often times a very difficult condition to diagnose and treat. Surgical and non surgical outcomes vary with every patient.

Neuropathic Itching SomeThoracic Outlet Syndrome patients complain of extreme itching throughout the arm, particularly the inner arm. Some scientists call this the "Neuropathic Itch" which can be associated with diseases of the central and peripheral nervous system. Links to chronic pain and itching are being studied today but our members have something to say about this now. Click here

Is the Feldenkrais Method helping to heal Thoracic Outlet Syndrome pain? Some of our members think so.
Click here to read more.


In the News!

ATOSA's new website coming soon in 2010!
The American Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Association is developing an all new website and membership site which will soon be available in February of 2010.  Look for an all new look and content, plus an extensive library as well. We will begin the migration to our new servers in late January with ongoing additions to our new site throughout 2010.

Membership to the ATOSA's Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Society of Hope and public forum exceeds 2300 members! We thank all of our members for their continued support.

A New Research Fund is coming soon! Help us fund much needed Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Research.


The 2009 Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Conference was a big success!

The historic 2009 Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Conference was a big success. Patients flew in from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom to be part of this historic international Thoracic Outlet Syndrome conference. Healthcare professionals from the United States and Canada lectured on many topics while patients came together to learn that they aren't alone in their struggle with this difficult and very painful condition. A special thank you to Tanya Beulen, ATOSA's outstanding conference director, and ATOSA's Board of Directors for helping to make this event wonderful for all. Additionally,  the American Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Association would to thank all healthcare professionals for lending their expertise to this event and for all patients and families who shared their stories of hope. 2009 Thoracic Outet Syndrome Conference Photos Coming Soon!

From the Founder: On behalf of the American TOS Association, I would like to thank Mrs. Jan Roberson for providing outstanding conference still photography. Jan you are an amazing woman and a true inspiration to all of us. Even as you struggle with pain everyday, you managed to capture this historic conference like no other. Your photos were amazing and your efforts truly appreciated more than words can say.  Gail M. Sault, Founder


Where is the Thoracic Outlet?
The Thoracic Outlet region is located on the side of the neck towards and across the upper chest. This area is bound by the first rib, clavicle, scapula, sternum and the cervical-thoracic spine. This region is highly complex, highly vascular and contains vital structures such as the subclavian vein, subclavian artery and the Brachial Plexus. These three structures are the most commonly involved anatomy in Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, however, the thoracic outlet region contains additional structures such as the Scalene Muscles, Sternoclavicular muscles, phrenic nerve, long thoracic nerve, vertebral artery and much more.

Signs and Symptoms of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Signs and symptoms of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome vary with every patient according to the location of injury, irritation and/or compression within the thoracic outlet. Symptoms of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome can range from mild pain and numbness to life and limb threatening complications. Patients can present with multiple signs and symptoms associated with involvement of both neurogenic and vascular components. Symptoms can be unilateral or bilateral. More signs and symptoms

What type of Healhcare Provider treats TOS?
In general, recognizing, diagnosing and treating Thoracic Outlet Syndrome can be diffcult. Currently there is a great shortage of clinicians experienced  in recognizing and treating TOS with a good number of patients having to travel outside of their homestate for treatment. Experienced TOS professionals can be Chiropractors, Surgeons, Radiologists and Physical Therapists. To date, the vast number of clinicians diagnosing TOS are Vascular, Thoracic  and Orthopedic surgeons, although surgery for TOS is rarely necessary if not life or limb threatening and is usually offered as a very last resort. Find a Provider

Differencial Diagnosis can include
Shoulder impingment, cervical radiculopathy, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrphy (RSD or Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome CRPS), thoracic masses and tumors, inflamatory disorders, infection, Parsonage-Turner Syndrome. Patient may experience concurrent conditions. Additional conditions not listed can be present.



Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Discussion Boards Topics: 
Post:  37,417  Members: 2131 2009 and growing!  
General, Physical Therapy, Alternative Medicine, Surgery, Post Operative Photos, Pectoralis Minor Syndrome, Spine, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Medications and Pain Management, Mental Health, Worker's Compensation, Disability, RSD/CRPS, extensive article library aand general discussion. You must register to view the forum.
California Judge Issues Landmark TOS Verdict!

California Workers' Compensation & Social Security Disability proving very difficult for most TOS patients.


by Neil D. Eisenberg

In a landmark decision, a Social Security judge in Northern California has issued what amounts to a bill of rights for thoracic outlet syndrome victims. Judge Erickson gave the claimant everything a T.O.S victim could ever hope for and stated in clear and precise language why thoracic outlet syndrome can lead to total disability. Even more important, however, is the fact that the TOS patient had gone back to work on a part time basis, and the Judge rewarded her for going back to work and granted her training benefits which are now available under the Social Security law. The TOS patient testified at her hearing that her own doctor had given her a job on a compassionate basis as a receptionist and part time secretary, but that she was unable to type and could only drag a mouse on her computer. The judge accepted the patient's testimony and awarded her full benefits up to the time that she went back to work and then construed her present employment to be compensable training under the Social Security Act. Judge Erickson bolstered his decision with the opinion of a vocational rehabilitation expert who testified that if a claimant could not effectively type in an office job, the claimant was currently taken completely out of our modern economy. At the time of the hearing, the TOS patient had suffered from thoracic outlet syndrome for 4 years as the result of being hit head-on in a motor vehicle accident case by a drunk driver. At the time of the accident the TOS patient had been in excellent health and had been working. The TOS patient applied for Social Security and was turned down but appealed.  copyright 2008  Neil D. Eisenberg and the American TOS Association. Edited version


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