What's wrong with my shoulder?

Many websites devote pages offering to provide patients with a diagnosis of their shoulder pain. Such tools are often very simplistic and can be misleading. This is why the pages are always accompanied by disclaimers stating that any diagnosis obtained cannot be relied upon. There is no substitute to obtaining a medical opinion from a doctor with the appropriate skills and experience in diagosing shoulder and elbow pathology. If you require such an opinion please contact the Upper Limb Centre via our contact page to arrange a consultation. We can only offer advice on specific symptoms by face to face consultation. 

At the Upper Limb Centre we have decided to present to you some of the information we use routinely in training medical students at Royal Preston and Chorley District Hospitals. This describes a logical method for assessing a shoulder and will allowing visitors to the website with shoulder symptoms to come to some sensible conclusions with regard to the cause of their symptoms. One of the first questions you would be asked is your age as most shoulder conditions are particularly common in certain age ranges. The following diagram presents some of the most common shoulder pathologies and the ages over which they are most commonly seen. Enter the diagram at the appropriate point for your age and there is a reasonable chance that the cause of your shoulder symptoms will be revealed. The bubbles represent the peak age ranges of each condition and there is considerable further overlap between conditions when all cases are taken into account.

shoulder age

With regard to both Frozen Shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) and Calcifying Tendonitis both conditions are seen in a very wide age group but both appear to be commonest at around 40 years old.

The next useful question would normally be did your shoulder symptoms began after an accident or injury? 

Click on the appropriate answer.


                                                                YES                               NO 

© Peter James Hughes 2015