Condition: Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS)
Age: 33
Hometown: Waltham, MA

In 2015, Julia came to Massachusetts General Hospital to see Dr. Dean Donahue and receive treatment for thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS). TOS is an uncommon disorder caused by pressure on the nerves in an area called the brachial plexus, or on the blood vessels just behind the collarbone.

Q. Prior to coming to Mass General for your care, what other procedures and treatments did you have to treat this problem?

A. Prior to coming to Mass General, I received chiropractic care as well as physical therapy. I saw a physiatrist at Spaulding that referred me to Dr. Donahue. After Dr. Donahue evaluated me with a physical exam and a CT angiogram, he suggested that I try Botox® injections. This can treat symptoms as well as aid in diagnosing thoracic outlet syndrome. He noted it has helped many of his patients.

I was so excited about the prospect of receiving this new treatment that could help reduce my pain.

Q. Describe your care team. What was it like to work with them?

A. My care team is great. I realize it’s not just one thing that helps you stay pain-free. It’s a multitude of activities, including: Botox® injections, physical therapy, acupuncture, massage and exercise. I felt my team at Mass General heard me and could help. They are always there if I have any questions and cared about my well-being. A few weeks after my injections, I begin to feel the benefits. I no longer have horrible pain in my neck and shoulders.

Q. What was your treatment experience like?

A. My treatments occur every four to five months. A member of Dr. Donahue’s team performs the injections and uses ultrasound to see where they are going. The team is so much fun. We laugh and joke the whole time. At the end, I’m always surprised how fast the time goes.

Q. How has your lifestyle changed since your treatment?

A. These treatments have dramatically improved my quality of life. I don’t struggle to fall asleep anymore. I don’t have trouble concentrating at work because of pain in my neck. It’s easier to work out. Overall, I’m happy that I don't have pain. I feel privileged to live in a place that has this treatment. I know people come from far and wide, and I would do that if necessary. I’m so grateful for having been recommended to Dr. Donahue at Mass General.