At Your Appointment

Rotator Cuff Tear Appointment Guide

Ask the right questions at your next doctor’s appointment. Answer two questions below to personalize your appointment guide.
  • Please describe the symptoms and issues you’re having that led you to schedule this online appointment. Start at the beginning of this current episode and tell me how and when things have changed and progressed.
  • Has your pain improved? What number would you give it on a scale of 1 to 10?
  • Are you having any pain with activity? With rest?
  • Do you have any weakness in your shoulder?
  • How would you rate your shoulder strength? Good, fair or poor?
  • Do you have any amount of shoulder stiffness?
  • Can you move your shoulder through its full range of motion?
  • How did your shoulder pain start? Was it gradual or did it start immediately after an injury?
  • Can you rate your pain on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst pain you have ever had?
  • Where exactly is your shoulder pain? Can you point to it?
  • What makes the pain better or worse? Are there specific movements that make it worse?
  • Does the pain go into your neck or down into your arm?
  • Are you having any numbness, tingling or weakness in your arm?
  • How well is your medication controlling your pain?
  • What treatments have you tried so far? How successful have they been?
  • What new symptoms are you experiencing?
  • Have you recently started a new activity or exercise? Have you intensified an existing activity?
  • Do my symptoms mean I have a rotator cuff tear?
  • How do you diagnose a rotator cuff tear?
  • What treatments are available for a rotator cuff tear?
  • Is it likely that I have other injuries?
  • Should I see an orthopedic surgeon or other specialist?
  • What kind of rotator cuff tear do I have?
  • What treatment do you recommend for my rotator cuff tear and why?
  • Can physical therapy help my rotator cuff tear? How long will I need it?
  • How likely is it that my rotator cuff tear will heal without surgery?
  • When do you recommend surgery for a rotator cuff tear?
  • How can I protect my shoulder and prevent future injuries?
  • Could a different medicine relieve my pain better?
  • Could my new or different symptoms be related to my rotator cuff tear?
  • What is the best treatment for my specific rotator cuff injury?
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Last Review Date: 2018 Nov 5
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
  1. 5 Questions to Ask Your Physician About Rotator Cuff Tears. American Medical Society for Sports Medicine.
  2. Rotator Cuff Injuries. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
  3. Rotator Cuff Tears. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.