Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, if your separated shoulder is severe, you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in bones and joints.
Because appointments can be brief, it's a good idea to come prepared for your appointment. Write down any symptoms you're experiencing and any questions you want to ask your doctor, such as:
- How severe is my injury?
- Will I need surgery?
- How long will it be before I regain strength in my shoulder?
- Will I be able to play my sport again 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 any brochures or printed material that I can take home? What websites do you recommend?
Your doctor will have questions for you, too. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
- How severe is your shoulder pain?
- When did your shoulder pain begin?
- Do you have any numbness or tingling in your arm or hand?
- Do you know what triggered your symptoms? For instance, have you experienced a fall or participated in contact sports recently?
- Have you ever injured your shoulder in the past?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your pain?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your pain?
What you can do in the meantime
Apply ice to the affected shoulder to reduce pain and swelling. If you're in pain, take an over-the-counter pain reliever.
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Shoulder separation. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00033. Accessed Jan. 5, 2011.
- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Shoulder problems. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Shoulder_Problems/shoulder_problems_ff.asp. Accessed Jan. 5, 2011.
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