Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scan): An MRI scanner uses a high-powered magnet and a computer to create high-resolution images of the shoulder and surrounding structures.
Computed tomography (CT scan): A CT scanner takes multiple X-rays, and a computer creates detailed images of the shoulder.
Shoulder X-ray: A plain X-ray film of the shoulder may show dislocation, osteoarthritis or a fracture of the humerus. X-ray films cannot diagnose muscle or tendon injuries.
Shoulder surgery: Surgery is generally performed to help make the shoulder joint more stable. Shoulder surgery may be arthroscopic (several small incisions) or open (large incision).
Arthroscopic surgery: A surgeon makes small incisions in the shoulder and performs surgery through an endoscope (a flexible tube with a camera and tools on its end). Arthroscopic surgery requires less recovery time than open surgery.
Physical therapy: An exercise program can strengthen shoulder muscles and improve flexibility in the shoulder. Physical therapy is an effective, nonsurgical treatment for many shoulder conditions.
Pain relievers: Over-the-counter relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) can relieve most shoulder pain. More severe shoulder pain may require prescription medications.
RICE therapy: RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression (not usually necessary), and Elevation. RICE can improve pain and swelling of many shoulder injuries.
Corticosteroid (cortisone) injection: A doctor injects cortisone into the shoulder, reducing the inflammation and pain caused by bursitis or arthritis. The effects of a cortisone injection can last several weeks.