Does anyone know about Thoracic Outlet Syndrome?


I’m not officially diagnosed with MS - I had optic neuritis a year ago, and MRI and lumbar puncture point towards it - but my consultant talks as if it’s defacto. I now have pain down my left arm, and symptoms sound similar to thoracic outlet syndrome to me (It could be related to my IT job and the whiplash I had in August, exacerbated by last minute Christmas activities). I can’t do anything with my arms forwards without exacerbating it (chopping veg, wrapping presents, etc). It’s a combination of sharp pain and a feeling of lack of oxygen. I discussed it with my Neuro at a timely appointment and he’s not sure whether it’s MS-related or not. It’s causing pain across my shoulder, down my arm and across my upper back, and as it was not responding to paracetamol, codeine, ibuprofen or Naproxen, he recommended gabapentin. This does have a degree of effect, but is making me feel very “drunk” and is not a cure.

Does anyone have any hints or tips or experience that could help me?

Hello Hazel

Thoracic outlet syndrome is an hard one to describe…for me now anyway lol

There is no gold standard for diagnosis. Can I guide you to an excellent website that will give you a full description…read it a few times in order to take it all in. Unless your brain is working better than mine lol

Take care xxx

PS; with regards to chopping vegetables etc, that one is easily solved…husband!! failing one of them, pre-prepared

Hi, now dont laugh at my suggestion, please BUT

could it be something to do with acid reflux?

I had a period where I would get a pain in my chest, which went up into my jaw and made my teeth hurt. I also went into my back. I was afraid it was angina…but the cardiologist said it was acid reflux!!

I also get trapped wind in different parts of my abdomen and it can cause severe pain, as I confined to a wheelchair and have limited movement.

Had you already thought about this?

Once again, sorry if this sounds daft.

luv Pollx

Hi Hazel,

I get that too! Nobody has given me a clear diagnosis of thoracic outlet syndrome though, it’s been mentioned several times, but seems just to lumped in with my ms.

Poll, not daft at all! Had a similar experience. Chest pain is always scary. Omeprazole sorted it for me, and have you tried Buscopan for trapped wind? Available over the counter and really helps for spasmy tummy.


Thanks for all your comments. It’s really helpful knowing there are people out there with first hand experience.

Getting prescribed Gabapentin was a life-saver for relieving the sharp pain; although still nothing did much for the other pains it made it more bearable. It keeps coming and going now - I never know how I’m going to be and can’t do anything significant because it’s likely to provoke it (although not doing much can also have the same result!). The consensus now seems to be it’s to do with the C7 area of my neck (more than one health professional think that now), and I also figured out it was most acute always 2 days after a visit to the osteopath so stopped that now. I’m hoping my physio will have more success (first visit today).

Sounding less like anything MS-related now, but I’ve been able to find out a bit about Gabapentin on these forums. It left me staggering about the place like a drunk, and turns out I should have been advised to phase it in, and probably to a lower level. Having managed to wean myself off it over the past few days I’m hoping I can keep off it, and get the other pain reducing too.