Shoulder pain is a common clinical problem in general and specialist practice. Investigation and treatment should be guided by the initial clinical findings and tailored to the patient’s symptoms. Referral for specialist advice is recommended for patients who need surgery or if red flags or refractory symptoms are present.
- Most shoulder problems are identified and managed in the primary care setting.
- Clinical history and examination are integral to making a diagnosis.
- Further investigations can be targeted to patients presenting with red flag features or for evaluation before surgical intervention.
- Specialist referral of the patient should be directed with consideration to the aetiology of the problem and the likely required intervention.