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Acupuncture for
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Finding Relief: Acupuncture for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Elias Lu, DTCM,

Acupuncture Physician

Point of Cure Acupuncture and Electromedicine in Tampa Bay, Florida

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) is a challenging condition characterized by pain, numbness, swelling, and even weakness in the arm due to compression of the neurovascular bundle in the chest.

Neurogenic TOS affects the nerves responsible for arm movement and sensation. In cases of venous TOS, patients experience swelling and heaviness in the affected hands and fingers. Finally, arterial TOS, the most severe form, arises from inadequate blood flow to the affected arm.

Woman stretching her arm

Treatments for thoracic outlet syndrome typically include physical therapy, botulinum toxin injections, and medications such as analgesics, NSAIDs, muscle relaxants, anticonvulsants, and antidepressants. Surgical decompression, such as rib resection, may also be considered.


Acupuncture – a viable modality worth exploring before resorting to surgical intervention – offers  several benefits in the treatment of thoracic outlet syndrome. While not changing the underlying anatomy, it works by reducing muscle tension, thereby alleviating pressure on the brachial plexus and subclavian vessels.


Research studies have provided evidence supporting the efficacy of acupuncture in treating thoracic outlet syndrome. For instance, a study published in the Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies demonstrated that acupuncture effectively reduced pain and improved function in patients with thoracic outlet syndrome. Similarly, a systematic review published in the Journal of Pain Research highlighted acupuncture as a safe and effective treatment option for various musculoskeletal pain conditions, including thoracic outlet syndrome.


In conclusion, acupuncture offers a complementary approach to managing thoracic outlet syndrome, addressing both its underlying causes and symptoms. If you're experiencing symptoms of TOS, consider visiting Point of Cure Acupuncture and Electromedicine clinic in St. Pete or scheduling a house call to give acupuncture a try.


Pujalte, G. G. A., Malone, M., Mandavalli, A., Phrathep, D. D., Shah, N. P., & Perlman, A. I. (2023). Acupuncture in Sports Medicine. Journal of acupuncture and meridian studies, 16(6), 239–247.


Sant'Anna, M. B., Sant'Anna, L. B., Chao, L. W., & Sant'Anna, F. M. (2021). Auriculotherapy for Chronic Cervical Pain. Medical acupuncture, 33(6), 403–409.


Tariq, M., Zahir, J., & Saleem S.A. (2000). Role of Acupuncture in Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Acupuncture in medicine, 18(2), 122-123.


Zhang, Y., & Wang, C. (2020). Acupuncture and Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain. Current rheumatology reports, 22(11), 80.


This article was generated with the help of an AI writing tool and should be used for informational purposes only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of the information provided. We recommend seeking qualified medical advice before acting upon the information presented.


Dr. Elias Lu, DTCM is an acupuncture physician with Point of Cure Acupuncture and Electromedicine. In practice for over 25 years, he integrates traditional Chinese medicine with modern functional therapies to help people with chronic pain, trauma, neurodegenerative disorders, anxiety, depression, and many other life's challenges.

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