You'll probably start by seeing your family doctor. If your injury is severe, you might be referred to an orthopedic surgeon. If you've been treated for a similar problem in the past, you may need to bring past records and imaging studies with you to your appointment.
What you can do
Before the appointment, you might want to write a list that answers the following questions:
- When did you first begin experiencing shoulder pain?
- What movements and activities worsen your shoulder pain?
- Have you ever injured your shoulder?
- Have you experienced any symptoms in addition to shoulder pain?
- Does the pain travel down your arm below your elbow?
- Is the shoulder pain associated with any neck pain?
- Does your job or hobby aggravate your shoulder pain?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
- Where exactly is the pain located?
- How severe is your pain?
- What movements and activities aggravate or relieve your shoulder pain?
- Do you have any weakness or numbness in your arm?
March 17, 2015
- DeLee JC, et al. DeLee & Drez's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine: Principles and Practice. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2015. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Dec. 11, 2014.
- Frontera WR, et al. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: Musculoskeletal Disorders, Pain, and Rehabilitation. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Dec. 11, 2014.
- Rotator cuff tears. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00064. Accessed Dec. 11, 2014.
- Simons SM, et al. Rotator cuff tendinopathy. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 11, 2014.
- Firestein GS, et al. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2013. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Dec. 11, 2014.
- Sanchez-Sotelo J (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 20, 2015.
- Canale ST, et al. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 12th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2013. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Dec. 12, 2014.
- AskMayoExpert. Rotator cuff repair. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
- Miller HL. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 21, 2014.
- Hartzler RU, et al. Biomechanical effectiveness of different types of tendon transfers to the shoulder for external rotation. Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery. 2012;21:1370.
- Miller HL. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 8, 2015.
- Pagnano MW (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 22, 2015.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.