Shoulder Screening Module

This is the first module in the “Shoulder Course Series”. 

In this course you will learn how to systematically work through a process of excluding other causes of shoulder pain, obtaining appropriate diagnostic imaging, and then classifying shoulder pain into categories that guide management. 

There are six modules in this course 

  1. Red Flags
  2. Health Screening
  3. Pain & Psychosocial Modifiers
  4. Cervical Spine and Neurological Examination
  5. Shoulder Imaging
  6. Diagnostic Classification of Shoulder Conditions

Those completing all modules in this course are invited to join the online forum to ask questions or discuss patient cases, and also to join our "Shoulder Screening" Facebook Group to keep up to date with the latest evidence in these areas. 



Identification of red flag indicators of serious and life-threatening pathology is critical in primary health care.

In this module, we cover:

  • Definition of 'red flags'
  • Red flag identifiers: screening and assessment
  • Presentation and risk factors for serious conditions presenting with shoulder pain
  • Referral prioritisation.

Study time: 3-4 hrs (approx.)

Health screening is important to help identify modifiable lifestyle factors that may help prevent chronic diseases, and to identify patients whose symptoms may be part of a systemic medical condition.

This module covers:
  • Health screening processes.
  • Health risk factors associated with medical conditions that may present with shoulder girdle pain.
  • Current health guidelines for physical activity and other lifestyle factors.
Study time: 3-4 hours (approx.)

Identifying the type of pain, mechanisms contributing to persistent pain and the influence of psychosocial factors are critical in the diagnostic process, and in selection of appropriate treatment interventions.

In this module we cover:

  • Features of different pain types
  • Mechanisms of persistent pain
  • Identification and management of psychosocial modifiers
  • Indications for referral

Study time: 4 hrs (approx.)

Upper limb pain can have many causes, and thorough examination of the cervical spine and associated neurology is critical in differentiating cervical spine referred pain and guiding management.

In this module we cover: 

  • Somatic vs referred pain
  • Cervical radiculopathy
  • Examination of the cervical spine
  • Neurological examination
  • Criteria for imaging and referral

Study time: 4 hrs (approx.)

The ability to appropriately refer for, and interpret the results of diagnostic imaging investigations is critical in primary health care. 

In this module we cover:

  • Diagnostic imaging modalities
  • Indications for imaging
  • How to read basic x-ray views
  • Interpretation of the symptomatic relevance of imaging findings.

Study time: 3-4 hrs (approx.)

Having excluded other causes of shoulder pain, we now look at the clinical classification of shoulder conditions to help guide management. 

In this module we cover:

  • Definition of "diagnosis"
  • Diagnostic process
  • Types of diagnosis
  • Evidence for the diagnosis of shoulder pain
  • Clinical classification of shoulder conditions

Study time: 3-4 hrs (approx.)

Congratulations on completing the Shoulder Screening Course!

In this section find out how you can continue to collaborate with other students and keep up to date with latest research and clinical developments in this area with activities including:

  • Online forum
  • Shoulder Screening Facebook Group
Please complete the evaluation form found in this section. Your CPD certificate will be sent after we receive your evaluation.