Physical Therapy Management of Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Thorac Surg Clin. 2021 Feb;31(1):61-69. doi: 10.1016/j.thorsurg.2020.09.003.


Neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome is a complex and challenging condition to manage. There is a lack of high-quality evidence to guide clinical decision making and therefore a need to individualize treatment. Examination includes identifying postural, anatomic, and biomechanical factors that contribute to compromise of the neurovascular structures. Patients can experience good outcomes with conservative management with pain science-informed physical therapy combined with biomechanical approaches addressing contributing impairments. Retraining movement patterns while maintaining patency allows for a greater tolerance to functional activities and can have a positive impact on quality of life. Close collaboration with the patient's care team is critical.

Keywords: Exercise; Neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome; Physical therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Quality of Life
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome* / physiopathology
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome* / therapy