Get the Right Diagnosis for Your Shoulder Pain at UPMC
Shoulder pain is characterized as any form of pain or discomfort that occurs in or around the shoulder joint. Symptoms of shoulder pain may range from a dull ache, slowly getting worse over several weeks or months, to sudden and sharp pain.
UPMC Orthopaedics offers comprehensive care to diagnose and treat shoulder pain for patients of all ages.
Shoulder Pain Symptoms
Common symptoms of shoulder pain include:
- Warmth or redness
- Arm, back or neck pain
- A popping, grinding or clicking feeling or noise when moving your arm
- Stiffness or weakness in the shoulder muscle
- Limited range of motion
You should seek immediate medical care if you have these shoulder pain symptoms:
- Inability to move your arm or shoulder
- Sudden, severe pain or swelling
- Deformity in your shoulder or arm
Shoulder pain can be a warning sign of a heart attack. You should seek emergency medical attention or call 911 if you have shoulder pain with any of these symptoms:
- Chest pain, pressure or tightness
- Difficulty breathing
- Pain in your jaw, neck or abdomen
If you have common symptoms of shoulder pain, speak with an orthopaedic doctor at Susquehanna Health to get the right diagnosis.
Shoulder Pain Causes
Frequent causes of shoulder pain are related to shoulder joint problems and conditions, including:
- Arthritis (joint inflammation)
- Bursitis (inflammation of fluid-filled sacs)
- Bone fractures
- Rotator cuff injury
- Shoulder dislocation or separation
- Torn tendons or tendonitis (inflammation)
- Pinched nerves
Less commonly, conditions or diseases outside the shoulder can radiate to the joint. This is called referred shoulder pain. For example, gallstones are known to cause intense pain that can be felt in the shoulder. Referred shoulder pain can also be related to a heart attack and liver disease.
Diagnosing Shoulder Pain
At UPMC's Orthopaedics, your visit will start with a physical exam of your shoulder. Your doctor will test your shoulder strength and range of motion. In many cases, shoulder pain may be treated effectively with rest, ice, exercises, physical therapy and medication.
To get a better picture of what is causing your shoulder pain, your doctor may recommend imaging tests, including
- CT scan
For further testing, your doctor may order shoulder arthroscopy. During arthroscopy, an orthopaedic surgeon uses a small instrument with a camera and light to look at structures inside the shoulder. A small incision is necessary to perform this procedure.
If surgery is recommended, an orthopaedic surgeon will discuss your options for open or minimally invasive surgery.
We offer specialized therapies, noninvasive treatments and minimally invasive surgery to treat all types of shoulder pain in Williamsport, Muncy and Wellsboro, PA.