Dawn is a nurse anesthetist, which is a registered nurse with advanced educational credentials and significant clinical training. On a Sunday, Dawn was experiencing serious shoulder pain while at work. Shoulder pain is the third most common musculoskeletal complaint. She didn’t want to go to a doc-in-a-box and wait for a referral to an orthopedist, who could actually diagnose and treat her shoulder condition. She figured that the odds of finding an orthopedic specialist on Sunday afternoon were zero.
While surfing the internet, Dawn found DOC. She was examined and X-rayed on a Sunday in under an hour. The PA explained her options, including a cortisone injection, but did not see any alarming symptoms from Dawn’s medical history, the examination, or X-rays. Sixty-five to 70% of all shoulder pain involves the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff, a combination of muscles and tendons, keeps the arm bone centered in the shoulder socket and helps to provide shoulder motion and stability.
Dawn returned to work and maintained her work schedule for the next few weeks. Unfortunately, Dawn’s condition worsened and she came back to DOC.
During Dawn’s second DOC visit, the PA performed another complete exam and diagnosed right shoulder impingement syndrome with possible rotator cuff pathology. The PA provided a series of restorative exercises to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles that support her shoulder. Generally, 10 to 15 repetitions completed twice a day for 12 weeks is the recommended regimen. The goal in treating a rotator cuff condition is to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, improve strength, restore shoulder joint mechanics, and prevent further injury, and for Dawn to resume her daily living activities.
Studies report favorable outcomes with conservative exercise treatment for people suffering with shoulder pain. In fact, it is estimated to be effective in 73–80% of patients.
Dawn is committed to her shoulder strengthening exercises. DOC was a great solution for her to see an orthopedic specialist without the cost or time lost in the ER or waiting for a referral.