Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) is a condition characterized by upper extremity pain or paresthesia caused by compression, injury, or irritation to the neurovascular structures in the thoracic outlet. Although there are various treatment options available, chiropractic care has shown promising results in managing TOS. In this article, we will explore the role of chiropractic treatment in alleviating the symptoms of TOS and improving overall quality of life.

Understanding Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

TOS can be classified into three main types: arterial, venous, and neurogenic. Arterial TOS occurs when the subclavian artery is occluded due to stenosis, aneurysm, embolus, or compression from a cervical rib or anomalous first rib. Venous TOS is characterized by subclavian vein obstruction, leading to symptoms such as edema, cyanosis, and venous dilation. Neurogenic TOS, which accounts for the majority of TOS cases, results from compression or irritation of the lower trunk or medial cord of the brachial plexus.

TOS can cause a range of symptoms, including pain, paresthesia, and motor weakness. These symptoms often follow an ulnar nerve distribution and may be aggravated by arm elevation or excessive head and neck movement. Diagnosis of TOS involves a thorough neurological evaluation, including tests such as the Morley test and Cyriax release test, which can help identify neurovascular compression and provoke paresthesia.

The Role of Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system, primarily the spine. Dr. Volz, a chiropractor in Ashland, OR, specializes in treating patients with TOS. With his expertise, he can provide a comprehensive evaluation to determine the underlying causes of TOS and develop a tailored treatment plan.

Evaluation and Diagnosis

Dr. Volz begins the treatment process by conducting a thorough evaluation of the patient’s medical history and performing a physical examination. This evaluation helps identify any postural imbalances, joint restrictions, or muscle imbalances that may contribute to TOS symptoms. In some cases, additional diagnostic imaging, such as cervical spine radiographs or MRI scans, may be necessary to rule out other potential causes of symptoms.

Chiropractic Manipulation and Mobilization

One of the primary treatment modalities used by chiropractors is joint manipulation or mobilization. These techniques aim to restore proper joint function, alleviate pain, and improve range of motion. In the case of TOS, chiropractic manipulation can target specific areas of compression, such as the cervical spine, first rib, cervicothoracic junction, shoulder, elbow, hand, and wrist.

Soft Tissue Manipulation and Stretching

In addition to joint manipulation, chiropractors may also employ soft tissue manipulation techniques and stretching exercises to address muscle imbalances and tightness. By targeting muscles in the cervical spine, scalenes, pectoral muscles, and other areas of potential compression, chiropractic care can help alleviate tension and improve overall muscle function.

Postural Correction and Rehabilitation

Poor posture is a common predisposing factor for TOS. Chiropractors like Dr. Volz address this issue by providing postural correction guidance and rehabilitation exercises. These exercises aim to strengthen the muscles responsible for maintaining proper posture and improve overall body mechanics. Additionally, chiropractors may recommend lifestyle modifications, such as ergonomic adjustments in the workplace, to prevent repetitive postural stress.

Nerve Mobilization and Ulnar Nerve Gliding

To alleviate nerve compression and improve neural function, chiropractors may incorporate nerve mobilization techniques and ulnar nerve gliding exercises into the treatment plan. These techniques involve gentle and controlled movements that help release tension and improve the mobility of the affected nerves.

Multidisciplinary Approach

In some cases, chiropractic treatment may be complemented by other healthcare professionals, such as physical therapists or massage therapists, to provide a multidisciplinary approach to TOS management. This collaborative effort ensures that patients receive comprehensive care and address all aspects of their condition.


Chiropractic care, under the guidance of experienced practitioners like Dr. Volz in Ashland, OR, offers a holistic and non-invasive approach to managing Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. By addressing the underlying causes of TOS, such as joint restrictions, muscle imbalances, and poor posture, chiropractors can help alleviate symptoms and improve overall quality of life. If you are experiencing symptoms of TOS, consider consulting a chiropractor for a comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment plan.