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Rotator Cuff Disorders

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When To Call a Doctor

Call 911 or other emergency services immediately if shoulder pain or weakness occurs with chest pain, shortness of breath, sweating, or nausea.

Call your doctor immediately if you have an injury to your shoulder and:

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  • Your shoulder is very painful.
  • Your shoulder appears to be deformed.
  • You cannot move your shoulder normally.
  • You have signs of damage to the nerves or blood vessels, such as numbness; tingling; a "pins-and-needles" sensation below the injury; or pale, cold, or bluish skin.

Call your doctor if:

  • You have had a shoulder problem in the past and you have shoulder pain.
  • Your shoulder pain or stiffness is getting worse.
  • Home treatment is not helping.

Watchful waiting

Watchful waiting is a period of time during which you and your doctor observe your symptoms or condition without using medical treatment. A watchful waiting period may vary from a few days to weeks or possibly months. Watchful waiting is not appropriate if:

  • Pain in your shoulder is unbearable.
  • Your shoulder is deformed.
  • You have loss of feeling in the shoulder.
  • The skin around your shoulder is pale, cold, or bluish.

Who to see

Health professionals who can diagnose and manage rotator cuff disorders include:

For treatment, you may be referred to a specialist, such as:

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 07, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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