I would say that people would be surprised by how many times I hear a patient say that something started hurting so “I just googled some exercises” and tried to work on those. This is often followed by “my pain got a little better, but it still hurts when I do this”. Dr. Google is the busiest doctor I know. A recent report by the Pew Research Internet Project demonstrated that 1/3 of people in their measured sample population were “online diagnosers” and an even higher number of people have looked online for health information in their recent past.

Try it. Google shoulder pain. Up will come a nice list of credible sources with possible answers. Click on of the pages towards the top (in my case the Mayo Clinic a very reputable medical institution). It lists up to 20 different reasons for shoulder pain including some that a more life threatening and some that are relatively benign.

Now that we have some sort of an answer, maybe Dr. Google can help us fix it. Google shoulder pain exercises. Up will pop a list of simple exercises to that will alleviate shoulder pain. Great…. but wait which one of these exercises is best for my shoulder pain and wait… out of the list of possible shoulder pain causes which one is causing my shoulder pain… Oh well… Lets start one some of the exercises anyway.

For some it may work and for some it may not.

A few years ago, another source did a study that looked at using google help doctors find the correct diagnosis for patients. The interesting thing to note in this study is that Dr. Google was only correct about 58% of the time even when there were professionals that knew what to search for.

Google is great. It has many roles. Historian, interpreter, attorney, doctor… But sometimes (well most of the time), it is worth having someone assess your specific problem with a list of complications that are more directly related to you.