Shoulder and Neck Pain Health (cont.)

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Shoulder and Neck Pain Diagnosis

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A thorough history and physical examination are usually adequate to establish the diagnosis for most injuries. However, your doctor may do a series of tests, depending on the cause of your injury, the location of your pain, or your other symptoms. The list is extensive and may include X-rays, an electrocardiogram (ECG), blood tests, and CT scans.

  • X-rays: These may be done if you have tenderness to touch along the bony areas of your spine or shoulder, a history of significant trauma, deformity of the area, or your doctor suspects a condition related to your heart or lungs.
  • ECG: An electrocardiogram may be ordered if you also have chest pain, shortness of breath, and risk factors for a heart attack (such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, or tobacco use).
  • Blood tests: These may be performed if you also have chest pain, shortness of breath, and risk factors for a heart attack (such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, or tobacco use) or if your doctor suspects an underlying illness as the cause of the pain.
  • CT scan: This may be performed when X-rays are difficult to read or suggest a fracture, when more detail is needed, or when other structures are suspected to be the source of the pain (possibly the large artery known as the aorta leading from the heart or the lungs).
  • MRI: An MRI is often not indicated during an initial evaluation but can be helpful in assessing ongoing pain and failure to respond to basic treatment measures.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/9/2014

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