Thoracic outlet syndrome is caused by a compression of the nerves and blood vessels in an area just under your collar bone.  There are numerous possible causes of this problem such as obesity, genetics or pregnancy, but there are two main causes as relates to injured workers.

  • Trauma. A traumatic event, like a car accident or being crushed by a machine can cause internal changes that then compress the nerves in the thoracic outlet. The onset of symptoms related to a traumatic accident is often delayed.  So you might be seeking treatment for one problem only to later discover you have thoracic outlet syndrome.
  • Repetitive activity. Doing the same thing over and over can, over time, wear on your body’s tissue. You may notice symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome if your job requires you to repeat a movement continuously, such as typing on a computer for extended periods, working on an assembly line, or stocking shelves and repeatedly lifting things above your head.  If you repeatedly carry heavy loads low on your body (rather than against your chest), you may also notice signs and symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome.

Unlike carpal tunnel syndrome or your basic back injury, most Illinois workers’ compensation attorneys have very little experience with thoracic outlet syndrome.   It is an unusual problem because you can have pain in your neck, arm and hands all at once.  Often it is mis-diagnosed as a herniated disc or carpal tunnel.

While your attorney’s job isn’t to diagnose your problem, you do want a lawyer that recognizes the symptoms involved in these cases.  It is likely that your physician will have to give a deposition and a company hired doctor will have too also.  If your attorney doesn’t know the right questions to ask it can be the difference between winning and losing your case, especially if an experienced attorney is representing the insurance company.

If this problem is not caught in time it can lead to permanent nerve damage.  Treatment can include physical therapy, medication or a very complex and risky surgery.

Our office is in Chicago, but we are not just a resource for finding a Chicago thoracic outlet syndrome attorney.  Rather we help everywhere in Illinois and would be happy to give you a free consultation.

We are workers’ compensation attorneys that help people with Illinois work injuries anywhere in IL via our statewide network of attorneys.  Contact us and we will answer your questions or find the right lawyer for your situation.