When to Call a Doctor
For shoulder pain
Shoulder pain often can be treated without surgery. However, there are several shoulder conditions that respond better if treated right away. A delay in medical attention may mean that your shoulder will be more difficult to treat later. For this reason, it’s important to consult an orthopaedic surgeon as soon as you experience a shoulder injury. Getting help now may speed your recovery.
For elbow pain
Most injuries of the elbow are not serious, but because you use your arm so much, elbow pain can impact your daily activities. Fortunately, most elbow injuries respond to home treatment.
Make an appointment with your doctor if you have:
Shoulder pain from an injury. Immediate care may mean your condition is easier to treat.
- Elbow pain or tenderness that doesn’t respond to rest, ice and over-the-counter pain relievers in a week or two.
- Increasing redness, swelling or pain in your arm or elbow.
Go to the hospital emergency department if you:
Have arm, shoulder or back pain that comes on suddenly, is unusually severe, or is accompanied by pressure, fullness or squeezing in your chest (this may signal a heart attack).
- Have a fever or feel heat in the joint since an infection could be the cause.
- Are experiencing unbearable pain.
- Have sustained a shoulder injury.
- Have arm, shoulder or back pain that occurs with any sort of exertion and is relieved by rest (this may signal heart disease or angina — chest discomfort caused by reduced blood flow to your heart muscle).
- Are experiencing severe pain and swelling in your arm.