Shoulder pain is one of the most annoying, yet common, ailments people experience. It can result from a sudden fall or injury or develop slowly from wear and tear on the joints. One thing’s for sure — because you use your shoulder joints for so many activities, an injury can significantly hamper your daily life.
However, depending on the severity of your injury and the degree of pain it inflicts, you might not be sure when or if it is necessary to see an orthopedic doctor for your shoulder pain.
Here’s a helpful guide for dealing with this nagging problem.
When to See An Orthopedic Doctor
You should schedule an appointment with an orthopedic doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- You have a limited range of motion, such as the inability to lift your arm above your head due to shoulder pain.
- You have a dull or achy pain when you move or use your shoulder.
- You experience pain in the shoulder when you are at rest.
- You have difficulty sleeping because of your shoulder pain.
- You feel a numbness or tingling in your shoulder.
- You experience weakness in your shoulder that gets increasingly worse.
- You have ongoing or worsening pain that develops over time.
If any of these symptoms last more than four weeks and doesn’t start feeling better during that time, or get progressively worse, see an orthopedic doctor as soon as possible. An orthopedic doctor is a specialist who can examine your shoulder and identify what kind of pain you are experiencing using imaging technology, such as X-ray, MRI, or ultrasound. An orthopedic doctor can also offer effective treatment for your shoulder pain.
However, if your shoulder pain is severe and the result of a sudden injury or traumatic fall, you should go immediately to an urgent care clinic or hospital emergency room.
Urgent care is best for a shoulder injury that requires immediate attention. Still, it is not a life- or limb-threatening emergency, such as when you are unable to move your arm, your shoulder is dislocated, or has an obvious deformity. An urgent care doctor can stabilize your shoulder and refer you to an orthopedic doctor for follow-up care.
If you experience a sudden shoulder injury that involves severe bleeding or broken bones that are protruding through the skin, call or have someone call 911 or be transported to an emergency room. Note that shoulder pain could also indicate a heart attack. Seek immediate emergency assistance if your shoulder pain is sudden or sharp, accompanied by dizziness or shortness of breath, extends from your chest to your left jaw, arm, or neck, or is accompanied by chest pain or tightness.
Shoulder Pain Treatment in Birmingham, Alabama
An orthopedic doctor near you can diagnose and offer surgical and non-surgical treatments for your shoulder pain, followed by a referral to a physical therapist.
At Iron Standard Physical Therapy, our highly skilled specialists can help alleviate or manage your shoulder pain by providing the highest-quality rehabilitation care. We offer a wide range of PT services in and around Birmingham, Alabama. To find out how we can help relieve your pain and get you back to normal activities, call us at (770) 789-8380. You may also simply request an appointment now.