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Shoulder Problems

by in Symptom Checker A-Z January 21, 2014

See complete list of symptom flow charts

**The following is a general guideline from the American Medical Association. The flowchart below allows you to easily track your symptoms and come to a possible diagnosis. Be sure to consult with you doctor if you feel you have a serious medical problem.

I did not produce this chart myself, so any treatment options on this page are completely conventional.The following flowchart was reproduced with permission.

SYMPTOMS DIAGNOSIS SELF-CARE
Begin Here
1. Did you hit, injure or fall on your upper arm or shoulder recently? No Go to Question 7.*
Yes
2. Did you feel your shoulder pop out of place and/or pop back into place? Yes Your SHOULDER may be or may have been DISLOCATED. See your doctor right away.
No
3. Is your upper arm swollen or misshaped? Yes Your HUMERUS (upper arm bone) may be FRACTURED. EMERGENCY
Call your doctor or go to the emergency room right away.
No
4. Is your collarbone tender, or do you have a bump on it? Yes Your CLAVICLE (collarbone) may be FRACTURED. Call your doctor right away. Use a sling to restrict movement of your arm and use an analgesic, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to relieve pain until you see your doctor.
No
5. Is there tenderness or pain near the shoulder-end of your collarbone, and does lifting your arm with your uninjured arm help the pain? Yes Your SHOULDER may be SEPARATED. Call your doctor right away. Use a sling to restrict movement of your arm and use an analgesic, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to relieve pain until you see your doctor.
No
6. Does pain come with a twisting motion of your arm, or does a throwing motion cause pain, and does your shoulder seem weak? Yes You may have a TORNROTATOR CUFF or SHOULDER INSTABILITY. See your doctor.
No
*7. Do you have a fever? No Go to Question 10.**
Yes
8. Do you have redness or swelling around your shoulder? Yes You may have INFLAMMATION in or around a joint, also called BURSITIS, or a serious INFECTION of the bone, the joint or the skin. URGENT
See your doctor right away.
No
9. Within the last month have you had a sore throat or a skin infection? Yes These symptoms may be from RHEUMATIC FEVER, a reaction to a strep infection. URGENT
See your doctor right away.

**10. Do you have redness and swelling in more than one joint, including your shoulder? Yes You may have RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS, a disease affecting the immune system, or GOUT, an inflammation of the shoulder joint. See your doctor. Apply heat to the affected area and take an anti-inflammatory medicine, such as ibuprofen, for pain.
No
11. Do you feel pain when you move your shoulder but there’s no swelling or redness? Yes You may have BURSITIS or ROTATOR CUFF SYNDROME. Use an anti-inflammatory medicine, such as ibuprofen, and apply heat to the affected area. If your symptoms do not improve, see your doctor.
No
12. Do you have increasing stiffness and inability to move your shoulder? Yes You may have ADHESIVE CAPSULITIS, also called a FROZEN SHOULDER. See your doctor. This condition is usually treated with special exercises you can do on your own.
No
For more information, please talk to your doctor. If you think the problem is serious, call your doctor right away.

 

See complete list of symptom flow charts

This tool has been reviewed by doctors and is for general educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for medical advice. The information in this tool should not be relied upon to make decisions about your health. Always consult your family doctor with questions about your individual condition(s) and/or circumstances.

Source: American Medical Association (2008-04-21). American Medical Association Family Medical Guide (AMA Family Medical Guide) (Kindle Locations 6690-6691). Turner Publishing Co.. Kindle Edition.

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