Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
You'll start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. If your injury is severe and requires surgery, however, you'll likely be referred to an orthopedic surgeon.
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 is the pain located?
- Does your job or hobby aggravate your shoulder pain?
- When did you first begin experiencing shoulder pain?
- Have you experienced any symptoms in addition to shoulder pain?
- How severe is your pain?
- What movements and activities aggravate and relieve your shoulder pain?
- Do you have any weakness or numbness in your arm?
What you can do in the meantime
In the days before your appointment, you can make yourself more comfortable by:
- Resting your shoulder. Avoid movements that aggravate your shoulder and give you more pain.
- Applying cold packs to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Taking pain medications, if necessary. Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) and naproxen (Aleve), may help reduce pain. Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) also may help relieve pain.
- Maffet MW, et al. Superior labral injuries. In: DeLee JC, et al. DeLee and Drez's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2009. http://www.mdconsult.com/book/player/book.do?method=display&type=bookPage&decorator=header&eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-3143-7..00017-8--sc14&uniq=207793665&isbn=978-1-4160-3143-7&sid=1019675117. Accessed July 1, 2010.
- Simons SM, et al. Rotator cuff tendinopathy. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed July 1, 2010.
- Rotator cuff tears. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00064. Accessed July 1, 2010.
- Rotator cuff tears and treatment options. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00406. Accessed July 1, 2010.
- Azar FM, et al. Arthroplasty of the shoulder and elbow. In: Canale ST, et al. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2007. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/207793665-7/1019679443/1584/57.html#4-u1.0-B978-0-323-03329-9..50011-8--cesec24_451. Accessed July 1, 2010.
- Choi L. Overuse injuries. In: DeLee JC, et al. DeLee and Drez's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2009. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/171922449-6/918424682/2079/17.html#4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-3143-7..10014-4--s0125_1247. Accessed July 1, 2010.
- Sports injuries. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/sports_injuries/. Accessed July 1, 2010.
- Laskowski ER (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 8, 2010.