Top of the pageCheck Your Symptoms

Topic Overview

Minor shoulder problems, such as sore muscles and aches and pains,
are common. Shoulder problems develop from everyday wear and tear, overuse, or
an injury. They can also be caused by the natural process of aging.

Your shoulder joints move every time you move your arms. To better
understand shoulder problems and injuries, you may want to review the anatomy
and function of the
shoulder. The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint with
three main bones: the upper arm bone (humerus), collarbone (clavicle), and shoulder blade (scapula). These
bones are held together by muscles,
tendons, and
ligaments. The shoulder joint has the greatest
range of motion of any joint in the body. Because of
this mobility, the shoulder is more likely to be injured or cause problems. The
acromioclavicular (AC) joint, which lies over the top
of the shoulder, is also easily injured.

Shoulder problems can be
minor or serious. Symptoms may include pain, swelling, numbness, tingling,
weakness, changes in temperature or color, or changes in your range of motion.
Shoulder injuries most commonly occur during sports activities, work-related
tasks, projects around the home, or falls. Home treatment often can help
relieve minor aches and pains.

Sudden (acute) injury

Injuries are the most common
cause of shoulder pain.

A sudden (acute) injury may occur from a
fall on an outstretched arm, a direct blow to the shoulder, or abnormal
twisting or bending of the shoulder. Pain may be sudden and severe. Bruising
and swelling may develop soon after the injury. If nerves or blood vessels have
been injured or pinched during the injury, the shoulder, arm, or hand may feel
numb, tingly, weak, or cold, or it may look pale or blue. Acute injuries
include:

  • Bruises (contusions), which occur when small
    blood vessels under the skin tear or rupture, often from a twist, bump, or
    fall. Blood leaks into tissues under the skin and causes a black-and-blue color
    that often turns purple, red, yellow, and green as the bruise
    heals.
  • Injuries to the tough, ropy fibers (ligaments) that
    connect bone to bone and help stabilize the shoulder joints (sprains).
  • Injuries to the tough, ropy
    fibers that connect muscle to bone (tendons).
  • Pulled muscles (strains).
  • Injuries to nerves, such as
    brachial plexus neuropathy.
  • Separation of the shoulder, which occurs when the
    outer end of the collarbone (clavicle) separates from the end (acromion) of the
    shoulder blade because of torn ligaments. This injury occurs most often from a
    blow to a shoulder or a fall onto a shoulder or outstretched hand or
    arm.
  • Damage to one or more of the four tendons that cover the
    shoulder joint (torn rotator cuff), which may occur from a direct blow
    to or overstretching of the tendon.
  • Broken bones (fractures). A break may occur when a bone is twisted,
    struck directly, or used to brace against a fall.
  • Pulling or
    pushing bones out of their normal relationship to the other bones that make up
    the shoulder joint (subluxation or
    dislocation).

Overuse injuries

You may not recall having a specific
injury, especially if symptoms began gradually or during everyday activities.
Overuse injuries occur when too much stress is placed on a joint or other
tissue, often by overdoing an activity or through repetition of an activity.
Overuse injuries include:

  • Inflammation of the sac of fluid that cushions
    and lubricates the joint area between one bone and another bone, a tendon, or
    the skin (bursitis).
  • Inflammation of the tough,
    ropy fibers that connect muscles to bones (tendinitis).
    Bicipital tendinitis is an inflammation of one of the
    tendons that attach the muscle (biceps) on the front of the upper arm bone
    (humerus) to the shoulder joint. The inflammation usually occurs along the
    groove (bicipital groove) where the tendon passes over the humerus to attach
    just above the shoulder joint.
  • Muscle
    strain.
  • A
    frozen shoulder, which is a condition that limits
    shoulder movement and may follow an injury.
  • Overhead arm
    movements, which may cause tendons to rub or scrape against a part of the
    shoulder blade called the acromion. This rubbing or scraping may lead to
    abrasion or inflammation of the
    rotator cuff tendons (also called
    impingement syndrome).

Other causes of shoulder symptoms

Overuse and acute
injuries are common causes of shoulder symptoms. Less common causes of shoulder
symptoms include:

Treatment

Treatment for a shoulder injury may include
first aid measures, physical therapy, medicine, and, in some cases, surgery.
Treatment depends on:

  • The location, type, and severity of the
    injury.
  • How long ago the injury occurred.
  • Your age,
    health condition, and activities, such as work, sports, or hobbies.

Check your symptoms to decide if and when
you should see a doctor.

Check Your Symptoms

Do you have a shoulder injury or other shoulder problem?
Yes
Shoulder problem or injury
No
Shoulder problem or injury
How old are you?
Less than 5 years
Less than 5 years
5 years or older
5 years or older
Are you male or female?
Male
Male
Female
Female
Have you had shoulder surgery in the past month?
If a cast, splint, or brace is causing the problem, follow the instructions you got about how to loosen it.
Yes
Shoulder surgery in the past month
No
Shoulder surgery in the past month
Could you be having symptoms of a heart attack?
If you’re having a heart attack, there are several areas where you may feel pain or other symptoms.
Yes
Symptoms of heart attack
No
Symptoms of heart attack
Have you had a major trauma in the past 2 to 3 hours?
Yes
Major trauma in past 2 to 3 hours
No
Major trauma in past 2 to 3 hours
Do you have severe bleeding that has not slowed down with direct pressure?
Yes
Severe bleeding
No
Severe bleeding
Do you have symptoms of shock?
Yes
Symptoms of shock
No
Symptoms of shock
Have you had a shoulder injury in the past month?
Yes
Shoulder injury in the past month
No
Shoulder injury in the past month
Are you having trouble moving your shoulder?
Pain and swelling can limit movement.
Yes
Difficulty moving shoulder
No
Difficulty moving shoulder
Can you move the shoulder at all?
Yes
Able to move the shoulder
No
Unable to move the shoulder
Have you had trouble moving for more than 2 days?
Yes
Difficulty moving for more than 2 days
No
Difficulty moving for more than 2 days
Have you had numbness, tingling, or weakness in your arm, hand, or wrist for more than an hour?
Weakness is being unable to use the arm or hand normally no matter how hard you try. Pain or swelling may make it hard to move, but that is not the same as weakness.
Yes
Numbness, tingling, or weakness for more than 1 hour
No
Numbness, tingling, or weakness for more than 1 hour
Did the shoulder or collarbone get twisted out of shape or pop out of its normal position?
Yes
Shoulder was out of normal position
No
Shoulder was out of normal position
Is the shoulder back in place now?
Yes
Shoulder back in place
No
Shoulder back in place
Has the shoulder popped out of place before?
Yes
History of dislocation
No
History of dislocation
Has sudden, severe weakness or severe numbness affected the whole arm or the whole hand?
Weakness is being unable to use the arm or hand normally, no matter how hard you try. Pain or swelling may make it hard to move, but that is not the same as weakness.
Yes
Severe or sudden numbness or weakness in the whole arm or hand
No
Severe or sudden numbness or weakness in the whole arm or hand
Are you having trouble moving your shoulder?
Pain and swelling can limit movement.
Yes
Difficulty moving shoulder
No
Difficulty moving shoulder
Is it very hard to move or somewhat hard to move?
“Very hard” means you can’t move it at all in any direction without causing severe pain. “Somewhat hard” means you can move it at least a little, though you may have some pain when you do it.
Very hard
Very hard to move
Somewhat hard
Somewhat hard to move
How long have you had trouble moving your shoulder?
Less than 2 days
Difficulty moving shoulder for less than 2 days
2 days to 2 weeks
Difficulty moving shoulder for 2 days to 2 weeks
More than 2 weeks
Difficulty moving shoulder for more than 2 weeks
Has the loss of movement been:
Getting worse?
Difficulty moving is getting worse
Staying about the same (not better or worse)?
Difficulty moving is unchanged
Getting better?
Difficulty moving is improving
Is the arm blue, very pale, or cold and different from the other arm?
If the arm is in a cast, splint, or brace, follow the instructions you got about how to loosen it.
Yes
Arm blue, very pale, or cold and different from other arm
No
Arm blue, very pale, or cold and different from other arm
Is there any pain in the shoulder?
Yes
Shoulder pain
No
Shoulder pain
How bad is the pain on a scale of 0 to 10, if 0 is no pain and 10 is the worst pain you can imagine?
5 to 10: Moderate to severe pain
Moderate to severe pain
1 to 4: Mild pain
Mild pain
Has the pain:
Gotten worse?
Pain is increasing
Stayed about the same (not better or worse)?
Pain is unchanged
Gotten better?
Pain is improving
Does your child seem to be protecting the arm or not using it normally?
Yes
Favoring arm or not using arm normally
No
Favoring arm or not using arm normally
Do you have any pain in your shoulder?
Yes
Shoulder pain
No
Shoulder pain
How bad is the pain on a scale of 0 to 10, if 0 is no pain and 10 is the worst pain you can imagine?
8 to 10: Severe pain
Severe pain
5 to 7: Moderate pain
Moderate pain
1 to 4: Mild pain
Mild pain
How long has the pain lasted?
Less than 2 full days (48 hours)
Pain less than 2 days
2 days to 2 weeks
Pain 2 days to 2 weeks
More than 2 weeks
Pain more than 2 weeks
Has the pain:
Gotten worse?
Pain is getting worse
Stayed about the same (not better or worse)?
Pain is unchanged
Gotten better?
Pain is getting better
Do you think that the shoulder problem may have been caused by abuse?
Yes
Shoulder problem may have been caused by abuse
No
Shoulder problem may have been caused by abuse
Do you think the problem may be causing a fever?
Some bone and joint problems can cause a fever.
Yes
Possible fever
No
Possible fever
Are there any symptoms of infection?
Yes
Symptoms of infection
No
Symptoms of infection
Are there red streaks leading away from the area or pus draining from it?
Yes
Red streaks or pus
No
Red streaks or pus
Do you have diabetes, a weakened immune system, peripheral arterial disease, or any surgical hardware in the area?
“Hardware” includes things like artificial joints, plates or screws, catheters, and medicine pumps.
Yes
Diabetes, immune problems, peripheral arterial disease, or surgical hardware in affected area
No
Diabetes, immune problems, peripheral arterial disease, or surgical hardware in affected area
How long have you had problems with the shoulder?
Less than 1 week
Symptoms for less than 1 week
1 to 2 weeks
Symptoms for 1 to 2 weeks
More than 2 weeks
Symptoms for more than 2 weeks

Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind
of care you may need. These include:

  • Your age. Babies and older
    adults tend to get sicker quicker.
  • Your overall health. If you have a condition such as diabetes, HIV, cancer, or heart
    disease, you may need to pay closer attention to certain symptoms and seek care
    sooner.
  • Medicines you take. Certain
    medicines, herbal remedies, and supplements can cause symptoms or make them
    worse.
  • Recent health events, such as surgery
    or injury. These kinds of events can cause symptoms afterwards or make them
    more serious.
  • Your health habits and lifestyle, such as eating and exercise habits, smoking, alcohol or drug
    use, sexual history, and travel.

Try Home Treatment

You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be
able to take care of this problem at home.

  • Try home treatment to relieve the
    symptoms.
  • Call your doctor if symptoms get worse or you have any
    concerns (for example, if symptoms are not getting better as you would expect).
    You may need care sooner.

When an area turns blue, very pale, or cold, it can mean that there has been a sudden change in the blood
supply to the area. This can be serious.

There are other reasons
for color and temperature changes. Bruises often look blue. A limb may turn
blue or pale if you leave it in one position for too long, but its normal color
returns after you move it. What you are looking for is a change in how the area
looks (it turns blue or pale) and feels (it becomes cold to the touch), and
this change does not go away.

Symptoms of infection may
include:

  • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness in or
    around the area.
  • Red streaks leading from the area.
  • Pus draining from the area.
  • A fever.

Certain health conditions and medicines weaken the immune system’s ability to fight off infection and
illness. Some examples in adults are:

  • Diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease,
    and HIV/AIDS.
  • Long-term alcohol and drug
    problems.
  • Steroid medicines, which may be used to treat a variety
    of conditions.
  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy for
    cancer.
  • Other medicines used to treat autoimmune
    disease.
  • Medicines taken after organ transplant.
  • Not
    having a spleen.

Pain in adults and older children

  • Severe pain (8 to 10): The pain
    is so bad that you can’t stand it for more than a few hours, can’t sleep, and
    can’t do anything else except focus on the pain.
  • Moderate pain (5 to 7): The pain is bad enough to disrupt your
    normal activities and your sleep, but you can tolerate it for hours or days.
    Moderate can also mean pain that comes and goes even if it’s severe when it’s
    there.
  • Mild pain (1 to 4): You notice the pain,
    but it is not bad enough to disrupt your sleep or activities.

Major trauma is any event that can
cause very serious injury, such as:

  • A fall from more than
    10 ft (3.1 m) [more than
    5 ft (1.5 m) for children under
    2 years and adults over 65].
  • A car crash in which any vehicle
    involved was going more than
    20 miles (32 km) per
    hour.
  • Any event that causes severe bleeding that you cannot
    control.
  • Any event forceful enough to badly break a large bone (like an arm bone or leg bone).

With severe bleeding, any of these may
be true:

  • Blood is pumping from the wound.
  • The
    bleeding does not stop or slow down with pressure.
  • Blood is quickly soaking through bandage after bandage.

With moderate bleeding, any of these may
be true:

  • The bleeding slows or stops with pressure but
    starts again if you remove the pressure.
  • The blood may soak through
    a few bandages, but it is not fast or out of control.

With mild bleeding, any of these may be
true:

  • The bleeding stops on its own or with
    pressure.
  • The bleeding stops or slows to an ooze or trickle after
    15 minutes of pressure. It may ooze or trickle for up to 45 minutes.

Pain in children under 3 years

It can be hard to tell how much pain a baby or toddler is in.

  • Severe pain (8 to 10): The
    pain is so bad that the baby cannot sleep, cannot get comfortable, and cries
    constantly no matter what you do. The baby may kick, make fists, or
    grimace.
  • Moderate pain (5 to 7): The baby is
    very fussy, clings to you a lot, and may have trouble sleeping but responds
    when you try to comfort him or her.
  • Mild pain (1 to 4): The baby is a little fussy and clings to you a little but responds
    when you try to comfort him or her.

Pain in children 3 years and older

  • Severe pain (8 to 10): The pain
    is so bad that the child can’t stand it for more than a few hours, can’t sleep,
    and can’t do anything else except focus on the pain. No one can tolerate severe
    pain for more than a few hours.
  • Moderate pain (5 to 7): The pain is bad enough to disrupt the child’s normal activities and
    sleep, but the child can tolerate it for hours or days.
  • Mild pain (1 to 4): The child notices and may complain of the pain,
    but it is not bad enough to disrupt his or her sleep or activities.

Shock is a life-threatening condition that may quickly occur
after a sudden illness or injury.

Symptoms of shock (most of which will be present) include:

  • Passing out (losing consciousness).
  • Feeling very dizzy or
    lightheaded, like you may pass out.
  • Feeling very weak or having
    trouble standing.
  • Not feeling alert or able to think clearly. You
    may be confused, restless, fearful, or unable to respond to questions.

Shock is a life-threatening condition that may occur quickly
after a sudden illness or injury.

Symptoms of shock in a child may include:

  • Passing out (losing consciousness).
  • Being very sleepy or hard
    to wake up.
  • Not responding when being touched or talked to.
  • Breathing much faster than usual.
  • Acting confused.
    The child may not know where he or she is.

Symptoms of a heart attack may
include:

  • Chest pain or pressure, or a strange feeling in the chest.
  • Sweating.
  • Shortness of
    breath.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Pain, pressure, or a
    strange feeling in the back, neck, jaw, or upper belly, or in one or both
    shoulders or arms.
  • Lightheadedness or sudden
    weakness.
  • A fast or irregular heartbeat.

The more of these symptoms you have, the more likely it is that
you’re having a heart attack. Chest pain or pressure is the most common
symptom, but some people, especially women, may not notice it as much as other
symptoms. You may not have chest pain at all but instead have shortness of breath, nausea, or a strange feeling in your chest or other areas.

Make an Appointment

Based on your answers, the problem may not improve without medical
care.

  • Make an appointment to see your doctor in the
    next 1 to 2 weeks.
  • If appropriate, try home treatment while you
    are waiting for the appointment.
  • If symptoms get worse or you have
    any concerns, call your doctor. You may need care sooner.

Seek Care Now

Based on your answers, you may need care right away. The problem is likely to get worse without medical care.

  • Call your doctor now to discuss the symptoms and
    arrange for care.
  • If you cannot reach your doctor or you don’t have
    one, seek care in the next hour.
  • You do not need to call an
    ambulance unless:

    • You cannot travel safely either by driving
      yourself or by having someone else drive you.
    • You are in an area
      where heavy traffic or other problems may slow you down.

Seek Care Today

Based on your answers, you may need care soon. The
problem probably will not get better without medical care.

  • Call your doctor today to discuss the symptoms
    and arrange for care.
  • If you cannot reach your doctor or you don’t
    have one, seek care today.
  • If it is evening, watch the symptoms and
    seek care in the morning.
  • If the symptoms get worse, seek care
    sooner.

Call 911 Now

Based on your answers, you need
emergency care.

Call 911 or other emergency services now.

Put direct, steady pressure on the
wound until help arrives. Keep the area raised if you can.

Call 911 Now

Based on your answers, you need
emergency care.

Call 911 or other emergency services now.

Call 911 Now

Based on your answers, you need
emergency care.

Call 911 or other emergency services now.

After you call
911 , the operator may tell you to chew 1 adult-strength (325 mg) or 2
to 4 low-dose (81 mg) aspirin
. Wait for an ambulance. Do not try to drive yourself.

Postoperative Problems

Home Treatment

First aid for a suspected broken bone

  • Control bleeding. Apply steady, direct
    pressure for a full 15 minutes. Use a clock-15 minutes can seem like a long
    time. Resist the urge to peek after a few minutes to see whether bleeding has
    stopped. If blood soaks through the cloth, apply another one without lifting
    the first. If there is an object in the wound, apply pressure around the
    object, not directly over it.
  • Remove all rings or bracelets. It may
    be difficult to remove the jewelry after swelling develops.
  • Use a
    sling to support an injured shoulder.
  • If a
    bone is sticking out of the skin, do not try to push it back into the skin.
    Cover the area with a clean bandage.

Splint care

If a cast or splint is applied, it is
important to keep it dry and to try to move the uninjured parts of your limb as
normally as possible to help maintain muscle strength and tone. Your doctor
will give you instructions on how to
care for your cast or splint.

Home treatment for minor symptoms

Home treatment may
help relieve pain, swelling, and stiffness.

If your injury does
not require an evaluation by a doctor, you may be able to use home treatment to
help relieve pain, swelling, and stiffness. It may take up to 6 weeks or longer
before your symptoms are gone.

  • Rest and protect an
    injured or sore area. Stop, change, or take a break from any activity that may
    be causing your pain or soreness.
  • Ice will
    reduce pain and swelling. Apply
    ice or cold packs immediately to prevent or minimize swelling. Apply the ice
    or cold pack for 10 to 20 minutes, 3 or more times a day.

    • For the first 48 hours after an injury,
      avoid things that might increase swelling, such as hot showers, hot tubs, hot
      packs, or alcoholic beverages.
    • After 48 to 72 hours, if swelling is
      gone, apply
      heat and begin
      gentle exercise with the aid of moist heat to help
      restore and maintain flexibility. Some experts recommend alternating between
      heat and cold treatments.
  • Wear a
    sling for the first 48 hours after the injury, if it
    makes you more comfortable and supports your shoulder. If you feel you need to
    use a sling for more than 48 hours, discuss your symptoms with your
    doctor.
  • Elevate the injured or sore area on
    pillows while applying ice and anytime you are sitting or lying down. Try to
    keep the area at or above the level of your heart to help minimize
    swelling.
  • Gently massage or rub the area to relieve pain and
    encourage blood flow. Do not massage the injured area if it causes
    pain.
  • Try bending forward at the waist and let your affected arm hang straight down. Move your hips and legs and let that motion gently swing your arm back and forth.
  • Do not smoke or use other tobacco products. Smoking slows
    healing because it decreases blood supply and delays tissue repair. For more
    information, see the topic
    Quitting Smoking.
Medicine you can buy without a prescription
Try a nonprescription
medicine to help treat your fever or pain:

Talk to your child’s doctor before switching back and
forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two
medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.

Safety tips
Be sure to follow these
safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:
  • Carefully read and follow all directions
    on the medicine bottle and box.
  • Do not take more than the
    recommended dose.
  • Do not take a medicine if you have had an
    allergic reaction to it in the past.
  • If
    you have been told to avoid a medicine, call your doctor before you take
    it.
  • If you are or could be pregnant, do not take any medicine other
    than acetaminophen unless your doctor has told you to.
  • Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than age 20 unless your doctor tells you to.

Symptoms to watch for during home treatment

Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home
treatment:

  • Signs of infection or inflammation
    develop.
  • Numbness; tingling; or cool, pale skin
    develops.
  • Shoulder range of motion or strength in the joint
    decreases or does not return to normal.
  • Symptoms do not improve
    despite home treatment.
  • Symptoms become more severe or
    frequent.

Prevention

The following tips may prevent shoulder
problems or injuries.

General prevention tips

  • Stay in good overall physical shape. Strengthen
    your wrist, arm, shoulder, neck, and back muscles to help protect and decrease
    stress on your shoulder. Do stretching and range-of-motion (ROM) exercises for
    your arms and shoulders.
  • Maintain good posture. Stand straight and
    relaxed, without slumping.
  • Warm up well and stretch before any
    activity. Stretch after exercise to keep hot muscles from shortening and
    cramping.
  • Wear protective gear during sports or recreational
    activities, such as roller-skating or soccer.
  • Wear your seat belt
    when in a motor vehicle.
  • Do not use alcohol or other drugs before
    participating in sports or when operating a motor vehicle or other
    equipment.
  • Don’t carry objects that are too
    heavy. Make sure children and teenagers use school bags and backpacks correctly.
  • Avoid catching falling objects.
  • Use a step
    stool. Do not stand on chairs or other unsteady objects.
  • Use the
    correct body movements or positions during activities, such as lifting, so that
    you do not strain your shoulder. Do not lift objects that are too heavy for
    you.
  • Avoid overusing your arm doing repeated movements that can
    injure your
    bursa or tendons. In daily routines or hobbies, think
    about the activities in which you make repeated arm movements. Try alternating
    hands during activities such as gardening, cooking, or playing musical
    instruments. Use
    rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) for home
    treatment.
  • Avoid keeping your arms out to the side or raised
    overhead for long periods of time, such as when painting a ceiling. If you must
    do these things, take frequent breaks, and use RICE for home treatment.
  • Consider consulting a sports-training specialist if you are a
    competitive or serious recreational athlete. The specialist can recommend
    training and conditioning programs to prevent shoulder problems or
    injuries.
  • Make sure your child’s backpack is the right size with
    good support. Carrying heavy backpacks may increase the risk of shoulder
    problems or injury.
  • If you feel that activities at your workplace
    are causing pain or soreness from overuse, call your human resources department
    for information on alternative ways of doing your job or to discuss equipment
    modifications or other job assignments.

Reduce falls

Keep your bones strong

  • Eat healthy foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt,
    and dark green, leafy vegetables like broccoli. For more information, see the
    topic
    Healthy Eating.
  • Exercise and stay active.
    Talk to your doctor about an exercise program that is right for you. Begin
    slowly, especially if you have been inactive. For more information, see the
    topic
    Fitness.
  • Don’t drink more than 2 alcoholic
    drinks a day if you are a man, or 1 alcoholic drink a day if you are a woman.
    Drinking alcohol increases your chances of having weak bones (osteoporosis). It also increases your chances of
    falling.
  • Do not smoke or use other tobacco products. Smoking
    increases your chances of having osteoporosis. It also causes problems with the
    blood supply in your arms and slows healing. For more information, see the
    topic
    Quitting Smoking.

Possible abuse

Shoulder injuries such as bruises, burns,
fractures, cuts, or punctures may be caused by
abuse. Suspect possible abuse when an injury cannot be
explained or does not match the explanation, repeated injuries occur, or the
explanations for the cause of the injury change. You may be able to prevent
further abuse by reporting it and seeking help.

Preparing For Your Appointment

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

You can help your
doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the
following questions:

  • What are your main symptoms?
  • How long
    have you had your symptoms?
  • What were you doing when you first
    noticed your symptoms?
  • Have you had this problem in the past? If
    so, do you know what caused the problem at that time? How was it
    treated?
  • How and when did an injury occur? How was it
    treated?
  • Have you ever had any injuries to the same area? Do you
    have any ongoing problems because of the previous injury?
  • What
    activities related to sports, work, or your lifestyle, make your symptoms
    better or worse?
  • Do you think that activities related to your job
    or hobbies caused your symptoms?
  • What home treatment measures have
    you tried? Did they help?
  • What prescription and nonprescription
    medicines have you taken? Did they help?
  • Were illegal drugs or
    alcohol involved in your injury?
  • Do you have any
    health risks?

If you have a shoulder problem, the following list of
questions may help you and your doctor determine how much your shoulder and arm
function has changed.

Arm position

  • Is your arm comfortable hanging at your
    side?
  • Can you sleep on your affected side?

Movement

  • Can you wash your back or opposite
    shoulder?
  • Can you toss an object underhand?
  • Can you
    toss an object overhand?
  • Can you put your hand behind your
    head?
  • Can you tuck in the back of your shirt?

Lifting

  • Can you carry
    20 lb (9 kg) at your side, such
    as carrying a light suitcase?
  • Can you put a
    1 lb (0.5 kg) object up on a
    shelf at chest level or higher?
  • Can you put an
    8 lb (3.6 kg) object up on a
    shelf at chest level or higher?

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP – Emergency Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD – Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD – Family Medicine

Current as ofMarch 20, 2017