Your doctor will conduct a physical examination of your shoulder and the surrounding areas. You may also be required to move your arm and shoulder to reveal if there are problems with your range of motion. If necessary after the physical exam, your doctor may recommend imaging tests such as X-ray, CT scan or MRI to ensure there are no hidden underlying causes of pain.
After examination, your doctor will create a treatment plan that includes any or more of the following:
- Physical therapy: Your Physical Therapist can help you practice range-of-motion exercises to improve mobility and strengthen the muscles around the shoulder.
- Steroid injections: Your doctor may inject corticosteroids into your joint to reduce pain and enhance mobility.
- Distension: Injecting sterile water into your shoulder can lubricate and stretch the tissues, allowing you to move your shoulder with ease.
- Manipulation: Your doctor will move your shoulder in different directions to loosen it.
- Acupuncture: This involves the insertion of very fine needles into your skin at certain points in your body. The needles stay in place for 20 to 40 minutes. While they are in the body, they may be moved around or manipulated. Acupuncture is painless, but it helps stimulate certain nerves around the shoulder and relieve pain.