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Does Your Shoulder Pain Need A Doctor?

When To See A Doctor For Your Shoulder Pain

and the signs you should look for

Often, shoulder pain can be effectively treated at home with gentle exercises, cold and hot compresses, over-the-counter pain relievers, and rest. Sometimes, however, your pain may require medical intervention. Here are a few things you should look for when assessing your shoulder pain, so you can get to a doctor in enough time to prevent making your condition worse.

  • If you feel numbness or tingling shooting down your arm, that’s a sign of a serious condition that may need medical attention. You could have a damaged nerve, concerning inflammation, a small fracture, or another serious condition.  These types of symptoms should be professionally evaluated. 
  • Inability to move your arm or the shoulder joint normally, or inability to lift it above your head can indicate inflammation in the supportive muscles and tendons in the shoulder joint region, or even a possible dislocation.  These symptoms should be professionally evaluated, especially if they occur after a traumatic event. 
  • Pain that lasts longer than a few days, or increases over time and doesn’t get better, is always something you should bring to your doctor. Especially if the joint is hot to the touch, swollen, or you see bruising or discoloration around the affected area.
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  • Signs of infection can include fever, fatigue, a red or inflamed shoulder, and if the shoulder is warm to the touch. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms and the shoulder is swollen and remains swollen, especially after cold compresses, you should go to a doctor as soon as possible.

What Might Be Causing Your Shoulder Pain

Injuries are often causes of shoulder pain – if you fall on your shoulder, or catch yourself and twist it, or experience some other heavy blow to the joint, pain and inflammation is common afterwards.  Many people notice shoulder and shoulder girdle pain after car accidents; these types of injuries should be professionally evaluated.

Arthritis is another common cause of shoulder pain. It’s characterized by a “grinding” or “catching” sensation in the shoulder joint. Arthritis is a condition that degrades the cartilage between the joints, causing the bones to rub together and become irritated. There is no cure for arthritis, but there are some things you can do to relieve the pain and inflammation.

Tendon inflammation or tears can be caused by injury or overuse. Tendon tears are often accompanied by a sudden weakness in the shoulder or arm, and you may find that you cannot use the arm. It will take a doctor’s expert opinion to correctly diagnose the tear and develop a treatment plan. Often, this will also require advanced imaging like MRI studies.

Natural Options For Relief

our line of pain-fighting products is designed to help you live well - naturally!

Dr. Meredith Warner, the founder of Well Theory, is an orthopedic surgeon – who advises her patients to seek alternate and less invasive methods of treatment before resorting to surgery. Her methodology informed Well Theory’s resources, products, and advice for living a healthy and natural lifestyle.

Learn more about Well Theory!


Dr. Meredith Warner is the creator of Well Theory and The Healing Sole. She is a board-certified Orthopedic Surgeon and Air Force Veteran.

She is on a mission to disrupt traditional medicine practices and promote betterment physically, spiritually and mentally to many more people. She advocates for wellness and functional health over big pharma so more people can age vibrantly with more function and less pain.

At Well Theory, Our surgeon-designed products are FDA Registered and formulated to help people:

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