I am a 33-year-old hairdresser with thoracic outlet syndrome. I've tried medications and exercise, but the pain just keeps getting worse. Is there else anything I can do, short of having surgery?

Work postures, especially holding your arms out or overhead for long periods, can contribute to symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS). Hairdressers have to use these positions for much of the day. Your work may be constantly aggravating your TOS. A specialist, such as a physical or occupational therapist, could check your work station and watch the way you do your work. He or she could then make suggestions about steps you could take, such as taking breaks more frequently or holding your equipment at a different level. Another idea is to schedule clients so that you don't have back-to-back appointments that require holding your arms up. Talk to your doctor for other ideas to reduce your pain.

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