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5 Reasons to Urgently See a Shoulder Pain Doctor

May 19, 2022

Shoulder pain doctors are among the most in-demand in the healthcare industry because elbow and shoulder pain are among the most common pains and aches people experience. Since the elbow and shoulder joints are also some of the most often used in the body, injuries and pain in these joints can significantly impact your daily life.

But, many people aren't sure what doctor to visit for these types of pain or even the time to see a doctor.

Shoulder pain doctors or orthopedic doctors are experts who treat elbow and shoulder pain. An orthopedic specialist could examine your elbow or shoulder and order imaging studies like ultrasounds, MRIs, or X-rays. They will identify what kind of pain you are experiencing and what treatments will help.

Common Causes of Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain doctors are important because shoulder injuries and pains are more common than we think.

Below are three of the key reasons why people see an orthopedic doctor or shoulder pain doctor for shoulder pain:

Rotator Cuff Tear

This condition is a common source of pain and reduced function in the shoulder. The risk of experiencing a torn rotator cuff increases with age because the aging process could cause the muscles and tendons that comprise the rotator cuff to weaken and degenerate.

Rotator cuff tears could result from sudden shoulder injuries or overuse injuries, like playing tennis, playing golf, constant typing at work, or suffering a fall.


Arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis, the most prevalent kind of arthritis and causes pain, stiffness, and inflammation in the joint, can cause shoulder pain. Because arthritis is caused by bone-on-bone rubbing owing to a lack of protecting cartilage in the shoulder, aging, regular wear, and tear, or a shoulder injury might raise your risk of acquiring it.

Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

A customer is happy about a pain-free shoulder procedure.

Irritated, inflamed, or degenerative tendons in the shoulder can cause this painful condition. Repetitive overhead movements or anatomical anomalies in the shoulder are the most common causes of shoulder impingement syndrome.

When Should You See a Shoulder Pain Doctor?

So, how can you know if you need to consult a shoulder pain doctor? Here are a few instances that necessitate a trip to the doctor:

1. A popping sound came from your shoulder

You might notice a popping sound in the shoulder after a hard fall, which is accompanied by severe pain and shoulder weakness. This could be a rotator cuff tear or an AC joint separation. If you hear a popping sound after falling, you should contact a shoulder pain doctor immediately before the injury worsens.

2. Your shoulder becomes weak

A torn or ruptured rotator cuff can cause shoulder weakness following an accident. A rapid force being applied to the shoulder frequently causes this. Large rotator cuff tears frequently result in arm weakness, especially while elevating your arm. If you're suffering from this, it's time to consult a shoulder pain doctor.

3. Your shoulder seems unstable

If you lose stability in your shoulder after being hurt, it is most certainly dislocated. A dislocated shoulder may return to its original position after getting up from the floor in some instances. Some won't, in which case you'll need to consult an orthopedic or shoulder pain doctor.

if your shoulder seems unstable, you should urgently see a shoulder pain doctor.

4. Your shoulder has a bump

After a quick fall, you may detect a lump on the top area of your shoulder. A lump is always accompanied by extreme pain, indicating that your AC joint has been injured or that your shoulder has separated. Although most occurrences of AC separation do not necessitate surgical treatments, a doctor's examination is required to determine which form of AC separation you have. You'll know if your shoulder injury is significant or if it only needs time to heal once the doctor decides which form of AC separation you have.

5. Your clavicle becomes painful

The impact of a quick fall onto your shoulder is shifted to the clavicle (collarbone), which might fracture. After the accident, you may notice a bulge above your collarbone and severe pain in that area. It's critical to have a doctor assess the sort of fracture you have to receive the care you need before the damage worsens.

When left untreated, most shoulder injuries will worsen over time. If you're suffering any (or all) of the five symptoms listed above, you should contact an orthopedic or shoulder pain doctor at once.

How Long Have You Been Experiencing Pain?

The activities we engage in might sometimes result in muscular discomfort or body aches. Maybe you increased the intensity of your regular workout. Perhaps you've recently hauled some large boxes around the home or been shopping with a heavy bag.

Our daily tasks might sometimes lead to  body aches.

If your shoulder ache started in the last day or two, you might have strained the muscles. Whether this is the case, you should wait a few days to see if it disappears on its own. However, if the discomfort persists and does not go away after a few days, you should contact an orthopedic doctor.

Shoulder discomfort that persists might indicate an injury or underlying illness that requires medical attention.

How Severe is the Pain?

Pain is a signal to pay attention to since it shows something is wrong. While it's natural to experience aches and pains now and then, chronic or severe discomfort indicates that something is seriously wrong and requires medical attention.

Were You a Part of an Accident or Fall?

If you have shoulder discomfort after an injury or a fall at work, while participating in sport, riding in a car, or during exercise, you should consult an orthopedic or shoulder pain doctor as soon as possible.

Shoulder pain following an accident is frequently indicative of interior damage. It's possible that it's only inflammation that'll go away within a few days. Still, neglecting injuries after an accident might exacerbate them, necessitating more intensive treatment and a longer recovery period.

If your shoulder discomfort resulted from an accident, you need urgent care and you should consult a doctor immediately, regardless of how minor or severe the pain is.

If you're having shoulder discomfort for whatever reason, visiting an orthopedic doctor can help you cure the underlying problem and get back to living your life. Board-certified orthopedic and shoulder pain doctors at Sunnyvale Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center are experts in detecting and treating shoulder disorders and injuries that cause discomfort.

Reach out to us today to schedule an appointment with our excellent shoulder pain doctors.


What can a doctor do if you're suffering from shoulder pain?

Shoulder pain is often treated non-operatively with anti-inflammatory drugs and physical therapy; cortisone shots can also help relieve pain and discomfort. Surgery may be needed if nonoperative therapy fails to alleviate pain and discomfort.

What doctor specializes in shoulders?

An orthopedic doctor that's an expert in shoulder injuries and conditions is known as a shoulder pain specialist. Patients with a broken clavicle (collarbone) or shoulder blade, a dislocation, or a rotator cuff rupture are frequently treated by these specialty-trained specialists.

What kind of doctor do you go to for shoulder pain?

Your shoulder pain doctor may be able to diagnose and treat your shoulder discomfort. A referral to an orthopedic surgeon might be necessary, as they may conduct more testing to determine the cause of your shoulder pain.

© 2024, John Hibbitts, M.D. All Rights Reserved.