As Shoulder Surgeon, Mr Simon Owen-Johnstone explains, just because you are referred to a shoulder surgeon, it does not mean that you will need surgery. He says, "...the chances are that you won’t actually need an operation. Most of my work doesn’t involve surgery. It’s best to think of a Surgeon as a Shoulder Specialist who can also operate if needed".
A good Shoulder Surgeon will initially assess your situation by asking questions and taking the following approach:
- Ask you about the pain, where you feel it, what positions you are in and what you’re doing when it hurts.
- Ask how long it’s been hurting and what treatments, if any, you’ve had.
- Ask how much exercise you take.
- Ask whether there’s been a single event, like a fall or whether the pain just comes on.
- Ask whether you have pain at night. Pain at night is important, because it can stop you from sleeping properly. So, the surgeon will want to know how bad the pain is and what you can’t do because of it.
In this way the Surgeon can quickly build up a picture of the pain, and this starts the process of choosing which tests should be performed to arrive at an accurate diagnosis. Naturally, the diagnosis is critical, because this is the next step towards looking at the relevant range of treatment options.
The sorts of diagnoses that are associated with shoulder pain include: