Recovery & Support for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

At NYU Langone, vascular surgeons, physiatrists, physical and occupational therapists, social workers, and integrative medicine specialists provide ongoing support during recovery from thoracic outlet syndrome.

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At Rusk Rehabilitation, specialists provide physical therapy and occupational therapy to help you regain strength, improve your range of motion, and decrease pain from thoracic outlet syndrome.

Our experts include physiatrists, who specialize in rehabilitation medicine, as well as physical therapists and occupational therapists, who help you regain the ability to perform everyday tasks, such as preparing dinner.

Therapists can also advise you on how to avoid worsening symptoms.

Reducing Shoulder Strain

To reduce shoulder strain, our specialists advise you not to carry heavy bags or perform repetitive actions, such as playing tennis or doing yard work. Doing so may injure your shoulder, compressing nerves and muscles in the thoracic outlet.


It is important to take frequent breaks from sitting at a desk throughout the day to move and stretch. This can improve blood flow and prevent blood clots from forming. If you are an athlete, it is important to stretch before and after exercising to avoid compressing your muscles and nerves.

Applying Heat

Applying heat to the thoracic outlet may relieve nerve and muscle compression that can lead to pain and swelling.

Integrative Therapies

Several integrative therapies are offered at NYU Langone. In acupuncture, practitioners use very thin needles to stimulate specific points on the body to reduce pain. This therapy complements traditional treatments for thoracic outlet syndrome.

Massage helps to minimize symptoms of chronic and acute pain, joint stiffness, strained muscles, and stress associated with thoracic outlet syndrome.

Compression Garments

NYU Langone doctors may recommend compression garments for people with severe symptoms of chronic venous thoracic outlet syndrome. Elastic sleeves, which are available by prescription, apply pressure to the arms to encourage blood flow to the heart. This prevents blood from pooling, reducing swelling in the arms and hands.

Our Research in Thoracic Surgery and Vascular Surgery

Learn more about our research opportunities.