Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Lawyers

Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) involves compression of the neurovascular structures at the root of the neck or upper thoracic region. TOS can result from injury, disease, or a congenital abnormality. Thoracic outlet syndrome can cause significant discomfort and limitations for injured victims. Because TOS can be costly to treat and result in significant damages, it is important to determine whether any third party should be held responsible for causing or contributing to the injury.

Common Causes, Types, and Symptoms of TOS

Thoracic outlet syndrome is a group of disorders that occur when blood vessels or nerves in the space between your collarbone and your first rib (thoracic outlet) are compressed. This can cause pain in your shoulders and neck and numbness in your fingers (1). It’s possible to hold another party responsible for your thoracic outlet syndrome (and resulting damages) only if that person or entity directly caused your development of the syndrome. There are many common causes of TOS, some of which can lead to a lawsuit for damages, and others that are simply natural causes.

Auto Accidents

Collisions between cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, other vehicles, and pedestrians can ultimately lead to thoracic outlet syndrome. A traumatic event, such as an automobile accident, can cause internal changes that then compress the nerves in the thoracic outlet. Whiplash and nerve disorders are among the most common injuries resulting from an auto accident and have been associated with TOS. The onset of symptoms related to a traumatic accident often are delayed.

Repetitive Activity

Doing the same thing repeatedly, over time, can wear on your body’s tissue. Work-related tasks or sports activity can lead to the development of thoracic outlet syndrome. You may notice symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome if your job requires you to repeat a movement continuously, such as typing on a computer, working on an assembly line, or lifting things above your head, as you would if you were stocking shelves. Athletes, such as baseball pitchers and swimmers, can also develop thoracic outlet syndrome from years of repetitive movements.

Obtaining compensation for TOS is important because you may incur significant medical costs and experience extensive pain and suffering due to your condition. To better understand the losses and damages associated with TOS, it is helpful to understand some of the symptoms that may occur as a result of the condition.

Types of TOS

TOS is an umbrella term that encompasses three related syndromes that involve compression of the nerves, arteries, and veins in the lower neck and upper chest area. The symptoms of TOS vary depending on the type of TOS you may have:

  1. Neurogenic TOS has a characteristic sign, called the Gilliatt-Sumner hand, in which there is severe wasting in the fleshy base of the thumb. Other symptoms include paresthesias (pins and needles sensation or numbness) in the fingers and hand, change in hand color, hand coldness, or dull aching pain in the neck, shoulder, and armpit. 
  2. Venous TOS features pallor, a weak or absent pulse in the affected arm, which also may be cool to the touch and appear paler than the unaffected arm. Symptoms may include numbness, tingling, aching, swelling of the extremity and fingers, and weakness of the neck or arm.
  3. Arterial TOS most prominently features change in color and cold sensitivity in the hands and fingers, swelling, heaviness, paresthesias and poor blood circulation in the arms, hands, and fingers.


If the shoulder muscles in your chest are not strong enough to hold the collarbone in place, it can slip down and forward, putting pressure on the nerves and blood vessels that lie under it. This can cause vascular symptoms including:

  • Bluish discoloration in the arm or hand
  • Deep, toothache-like pain in the neck and shoulder region (seems to increase at night)
  • Fatigue in the arms and hands
  • Feeling of heaviness in the arm or hand
  • Pulsating lump above the clavicle (collarbone)
  • Superficial vein distention in the hand
  • Swelling or puffiness in the arm or hand

Since the nervous system is also affected by TOS, the following neurological systems might occur:

  • Difficulty performing fine motor tasks using the hand
  • Muscle cramps on the inner forearm
  • Muscle weakness and atrophy of the gripping muscles and small muscles of the hand
  • Pain in the arm and hand
  • Paresthesia along the inside forearm and the palm
  • Tingling and numbness in the neck, shoulder region, arm and hand

It is important to note that a variety of other signs and symptoms may be confused with TOS. These include carpal tunnel syndrome, cervical spine disease with nerve root compression, tumors of the spinal cord or brachial plexus, as well as a variety of other neuromuscular disorders. Having a correct diagnosis is essential to taking legal action to recover payment of medical bills and other losses.

If you are suffering from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome as the result of an injury, our thoracic outlet syndrome lawyers from McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt can help you. Don’t hesitate to contact our team today by filling out our form or calling 1-800-590-4116. We are hard-working lawyers for hard-working people.

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