Preparing for your appointment

You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, if your separated shoulder is severe, you might be referred to a doctor who specializes in bones and joints.

Here's information to help you get ready for your appointment.

What you can do

Make a list of:

  • Your symptoms, including any that seem unrelated to the reason for your appointment
  • Key personal information, including recent accidents or participation in contact sports
  • All medications, vitamins or other supplements you take, including the doses
  • Questions to ask your doctor

Take a family member or friend along, if possible, to help you remember the information you're given.

For a separated shoulder, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • How severe is my injury?
  • Will I need surgery?
  • How long before I regain strength in my shoulder?
  • Will I be able to return to my sport after I recover?
  • What can I do to protect my shoulder from future injuries?
  • Do you recommend any particular exercises to strengthen my shoulder?
  • Do you have brochures or printed material that I can have? What websites do you recommend?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you several questions, such as:

  • How much does your shoulder hurt on a scale of 1 to 10?
  • When did your shoulder pain begin?
  • Do you have numbness or tingling in your arm or hand?
  • Do you know what triggered your symptoms? For instance, have you fallen or participated in contact sports recently?
  • Have you injured your shoulder before?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve your pain?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your pain?
Nov. 22, 2016
References
  1. Koehler SM. Acromioclavicular joint injuries. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 17, 2016.
  2. Shoulder separation. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00033. Accessed June 17, 2016.
  3. Safran MR, et al. Acromioclavicular separation (separated shoulder). In: Instructions for Sports Medicine Patients. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Sauders Elsevier; 2012. http://www/clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 17, 2016.