Lifestyle and home remedies

If you're diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome, your doctor or physical therapist will instruct you to do exercises at home to strengthen and support the muscles surrounding your thoracic outlet.

In general, to avoid unnecessary stress on your shoulders and muscles surrounding the thoracic outlet:

  • Maintain good posture
  • Take frequent breaks at work to move and stretch
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Avoid carrying heavy bags over your shoulder
  • Avoid activities that worsen symptoms, or find ways to adapt activities so that they don't cause symptoms
  • Create a work area that allows you to keep good posture and doesn't make symptoms worse

Coping and support

Symptoms associated with thoracic outlet syndrome can be caused by a number of other conditions, which makes it difficult for doctors to diagnose the condition. Many people experience thoracic outlet syndrome symptoms for years before they are diagnosed with the condition, which can cause stress and frustration. Be sure to discuss your concerns with your doctor if your symptoms persist and a diagnosis hasn't been made.


Thoracic outlet syndrome that goes untreated for years can cause permanent neurological damage, so it's important to have your symptoms evaluated and treated early, or take steps to prevent the disorder.

If you're susceptible to thoracic outlet compression, avoid repetitive movements and lifting heavy objects. If you're overweight, you can prevent or relieve symptoms associated with thoracic outlet syndrome by losing weight.

Even if you don't have symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome, avoid carrying heavy bags over your shoulder, because this can increase pressure on the thoracic outlet. Stretch daily, and perform exercises that keep your shoulder muscles strong.