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Orthopedics/arm pain from fall


I fell on my right side with my arm under me.  There was a little pain immediately. the following day I was unable to lift it from the shoulder without great pain in the upper arm muscle unless I used my other arm to lift it, then no pain at all.  I can move it all around using my left arm and can move my right forearm bending at the elbow without pain.  I can also carry twenty pounds with my right arm so long as I keep my upper arm close to my body and only move it at the elbow.  There is no joint pain,  The pain seems to be in the upper arm muscles.  I have no shoulder pain.  There was little change the third day and now on the fourth day it appears to be gaining a little more motion without pain.   Should I force it to move and work through  the pain?  Or immobilize it and let it heal?

You don't give your age-but you need an xray to make sure no fractures have occurred. Secondly MRI would show if there was a rotator cuff tear, the cuff is made up of 4 muscles so you can still move shoulder even with a complete tear. Generally, gentle range of motion exercises are good to keep it from getting stiff, ice 3 x day, followed by moist heat x 10min, OTC nsaids are indicated for shoulder strains, however you don't know if that's all it is or not w/o further imaging studies and exam.


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Joe A Shaw PA-C


Most general questions that have to do with orthopedic and /or occupational medicine or ergonomics. With a focus on upper extremity disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome. After many years of treating and diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome I have developed a detailed website about carpal tunnel syndrome at


I have been a board certified Physician Assistant for 17 years, in the fields of occupational and orthopedic medicine.

American Academy of Physician Assistants, State Academy of Physician Assistants.

Physician Assistant degree from the University of Florida College of Medicine PA program. Bachelor of Health and Science degree. Board Certified Physician Assistant, Ergonomic certification, University of Michigan ergonomics certification. Associate Science degree in Emergency Medical Technology. Former Paramedic, EMT and Firefighter.

Awards and Honors
Current certifications in Advanced Cardiac Life support, and Basic life support, and CPR certification. University of Michigan Ergonomic training and certification.

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