What to Expect at Your First Appointment With a Doctor for Shoulder Pain

elderly woman gripping shoulder in pain

If you’re dealing with a shoulder that hurts, even after trying remedies like rest, ice, and over-the-counter medications, it may be time to see an experienced doctor for shoulder pain.

In this blog article, we’ll discuss how to prepare for your first visit with a doctor for shoulder pain, what to expect at the initial appointment, and how to ensure the best outcome possible.

What to Expect During Your Visit

At your initial appointment with a doctor for shoulder pain, they will ask you about your medical history to learn about current or past health conditions and injuries. They will ask how long your shoulder has been hurting, how you injured it (if applicable), and what treatments you’ve already tried.

Your doctor for shoulder pain will also do a physical exam and ask you to move your arm and shoulder in specific ways to see if you feel increased pain or weakness.

They will also discuss how your shoulder pain impacts your life, any limitations it’s putting on your daily activities, and what results you hope to see after treatment.

Your doctor for shoulder pain will likely perform an xray and may order a MRI, to assess your shoulder’s range of motion, swelling, reflexes, and the condition of your skin.

The questions a doctor for shoulder pain may ask include (but are not limited to):

  • Where is your pain located?
  • When did the pain first start?
  • Has the pain gotten any worse recently?
  • Are you taking any medication for the pain?
  • How much/often do you exercise?
  • Have you had any tests done previously to evaluate your pain?
  • How bad is your shoulder pain on a scale of 1 to 5?

After evaluation and any necessary testing, your doctor for shoulder pain will share their diagnosis and explain what treatments options are available. Based on your condition, health, and lifestyle, you and your doctor will discuss an appropriate treatment plan for you.

Typically, an experienced doctor for shoulder pain will recommend nonsurgical treatment options first. If your condition is severe or nonsurgical treatments haven’t helped, they may recommend shoulder surgery.

How to Prepare for Your Appointment

When you have an appointment scheduled with an IHTSC doctor for shoulder pain, plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early to fill out the new patient paperwork. 

What to Wear

Some articles of clothing are better than others when it comes to making you feel more comfortable during your appointment. When you see a specialist for a shoulder condition or injury, we recommend wearing something that will make it easy to examine your shoulder, like a tank top or sleeveless shirt.

What to Bring with You

Unless told otherwise, bring the following items with you to your appointment:

  • Government-issued photo ID
  • Insurance card
  • Copies of your medical records and any scans/X-rays
  • Report from your physical therapist if you’ve been seeing one for your shoulder 
  • List of any medications or supplements you’re currently taking 
  • List of any allergies you have
  • Operation report, if you’ve had shoulder surgery 
  • Workers’ compensation claim number, if applicable

Take the shoulder pain assessment

What to Do if You Need to Reschedule


If an emergency comes up and you can’t make it to your scheduled appointment, call your doctor’s office at least 24 hours in advance. That way, they can add another patient who needs treatment to their schedule.

The number to call if you ever need to reschedule with an IHTSC shoulder specialist is (317) 875-9105.

Tips for the Best Outcome

Before your appointment, think about what you want.

Knowing your ideal outcome will give your doctor for shoulder pain the information they need to make personalized recommendations that help you achieve the best results.

Some other tips for ensuring a good outcome when seeing a doctor for shoulder pain include:

  • Don’t wait too long to come in. If you have weakness, numbness, or pain that keeps you up at night, see a doctor for shoulder pain at IHTSC right away.
  • Prep before your appointment. Complete essential “new patient” paperwork and write up a list of any questions you have.
  • Be honest with your doctor. If your shoulder pain is due to an injury, explain precisely how it happened. Having an accurate big picture can help them better diagnose what’s causing your discomfort.

Don’t Wait to See a Doctor for Shoulder Pain

Are you living with shoulder discomfort that’s keeping you from doing all the things you want?

IHTSC’s experienced doctors for shoulder pain are experts in diagnosing and treating a wide variety of injuries and disorders. Our team is here to help when you need the most advanced surgical and nonsurgical care. 

Request an appointment

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