Sometimes the cause of your shoulder pain is revealed via a detailed discussion of your symptoms and a comprehensive exam that includes shoulder range of motion and strength testing. During the exam, your provider will check for physical abnormalities, swelling, and tender areas.

Your provider may recommend specific diagnostic tests such as X-rays to check for injuries to the bones of your shoulder joint or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to identify damage to the ligaments and tendons surrounding your shoulder joint, such as a rotator cuff tear.