How Doctors Diagnose the Cause of Your Shoulder Pain

woman speaking to the doctor about her shoulder

When you have shoulder pain that is severe or just won’t go away after resting for a few days, you may need medical treatment. But, before a doctor can start treating your shoulder pain, they’ll need to perform a diagnosis.

Diagnosing shoulder pain

Diagnosing the cause of your shoulder pain helps doctors know exactly what they need to do to treat it. The methods used in a diagnosis will vary depending on the type of pain and symptoms you have. Usually, a diagnosis includes:

  • Physical examination — Doctors will visibly examine the condition of your shoulder to identify symptoms like swelling and redness. They may also touch your shoulder and gently move it to see how it reacts. A physical examination for shoulder pain may also include an examination of the neck, spine, and arm.
  • Review of medical history — Your doctor will review your medical records and may ask questions about your medical history. This is done to find out if there is anything in your past that may be contributing to your current shoulder pain, such as a previous injury or a chronic condition like arthritis.
  • X-ray — An X-ray is an internal image of your body that is taken with a quick burst of electromagnetic waves. It can reveal damage to bones, cartilage, and other structures in your shoulder.
  • MRI — An MRI scan takes several internal 3-D images of your body, but it is much more thorough than an X-ray. If the cause of your condition cannot be determined by an X-ray and other methods, your doctor may order an MRI to get a better look at what’s going on in your shoulder.

Visit the iRISE Spine and Joint Institute for shoulder pain treatment

When you have pain and limited range of motion in the shoulder, it can be difficult to live out your daily life. Our team at the iRISE Spine and Joint Institute offers many treatments for shoulder pain, including chiropractic care and orthopedic surgery. If you have pain in your shoulder, we can diagnose its cause and develop a treatment. Contact us today to learn more about shoulder pain treatment or to schedule an initial appointment.