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Diagnosing and Managing Shoulder Pain

Jul 13, 2021

When you’re working as a primary care nurse practitioner, you are going to see —i.e. diagnosing and managing — a lot of shoulder pain. 

Like, a lot of it. Musculoskeletal issues are one of the most common chief complaints in primary care, after all. 

A patient might be dealing with a torn rotator cuff or adhesive capsulitis. Or maybe subacromial impingement syndrome. Or even thoracic outlet syndrome. (Zebra alert!)

As a new nurse practitioner, I used to find shoulder pain pretty overwhelming. While you can *see* all the musculoskeletal structures and how they work together, there’s a lot more going on beneath the surface and dealing with orthopedics can require a real depth of knowledge. 

But I’m going to help give you a jump start on that! In this week’s video, I’m taking a high-level view of diagnosing and managing shoulder pain for new nurse practitioners. We’ll talk about:

  • Which history questions are most valuable to ask
  • Why traumatic vs. non-traumatic presentation differentiates treatment
  • The four steps to treatment used to treat *most* musculoskeletal issues in primary care (and why you might to reconsider them)
  • And one clinical pearl that blew my mind when I learned it!

Check it out here:

(FYI: to slow down the audio speed, hit the gear symbol in the bottom right corner and change it to .75x or .5x. Closed captions are also located at the bottom R hand corner of the video.)

Learn more about assessing shoulder pain

Shoulder Anatomy Animated Tutorial

Shoulder Exam Maneuvers

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