Shoulder Problems & Diagnosis

Use the flow diagram below as a guide to work out what may be causing your pain and what we recommend you do about it.

Problem Intensity Problem Cause Pain when Location Preliminary Diagnosis Recommendation
Severe
(>8/10 Pain)
Impact or collision Touching injury  Front and side of shoulder

Shoulder Dislocation
Bankart Tear
Rotator Cuff Tear

See Emergency Dr & Orthopaedic Surgeon
Fall onoutstretched arm Top of shoulder AC Joint Separation
Fractured Clavicle
Rotator Cuff Tear
Biceps Tear
Throwing action Moving arm
Pulling action Back of Shoulder Shoulder Fracture
Posterior Shoulder Dislocation
Moderate Severity
(6-8/10 Pain)
Impact or collision Touching injury  Front and side Shoulder Subluxation
Bankart Tear
Rotator Cuff Tear
See your GP & Orthopaedic Surgeon Checkup
Fall on outstretched arm Top of shoulder Moderate AC Joint Separation
SLAP Tear
Rotator Cuff Tear
Throwing action Moving arm
Pulling action Back of Shoulder Moderate Posterior Subluxation
Minimal Severity
(<5/10 Pain)
Impact or collision Touching injury  Front and side Shoulder Subluxation See your Physio
Fall on outstretched arm Top of shoulder Minor AC Joint Separation
Bicep Impingement
Rotator Cuff Impingement
Throwing action Moving arm
Pulling action Back of Shoulder Minor Posterior Subluxation
 
Problem Intensity Problem Cause Pain when Location Preliminary Diagnosis Recommendation
Severe
(>8/10 Pain)
Disease or Repetitive Injury to Shoulder Strong Constant pain Front and side Severe Shoulder Arthritis
Severe Chronic Shoulder Injury
Rotator Cuff Impingement
See your GP & Orthopaedic Surgeon
When Touching or Moving Shoulder Top of shoulder AC Joint Arthritis
Biceps Tendinopathy
Back of Shoulder Severe Chronic Posterior Subluxation
Moderate Severity
(6-8/10 Pain)
Disease or Repetitive Injury to Shoulder Moderately Present Pain Front and side Moderate Shoulder Arthritis
Moderate Chronic Injury or Rotator Cuff Impingement
See your GP & Orthopaedic Surgeon Checkup
When Touching or Moving Shoulder Top of shoulder Moderate AC Joint Arthritis
Biceps Tendinopathy
Back of Shoulder Moderate Chronic Posterior Subluxation
Minimal Severity
(<5/10 Pain)
Disease or Repetitive Injury to Shoulder Minimally Present pain Front and side Minimal Shoulder Arthritis
Minimal Chronic Injury or Rotator Cuff Impingement
See your Physio
When Touching or Moving Shoulder Top of shoulder AC Joint Arthritis
Minor Biceps Tendinopathy
Back of Shoulder Minor Chronic Posterior Subluxation