Dealing With An Arthritic Shoulder

Cartilage is an important structure that protects the shoulder bones. If the cartridge is damaged, the bones rub against each other. This friction produces various symptoms and makes shoulder movements difficult. Shoulder arthritis refers to the wear and tear of the shoulder cartilage. People with shoulder arthritis experience inflammation in the shoulder joint, leading to symptoms such as pain and stiffness.

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Pain and stiffness

The symptoms of shoulder arthritis vary for each person. A person with shoulder arthritis usually has pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint. There is also a possible reduced range of movement of the shoulder and clicking or popping sound of the joint. Due to this condition, some people may have trouble sleeping and participating in athletic activities.

Treating mild shoulder arthritis

After a thorough examination and tests, the healthcare provider will discuss treatment options with the patient. Patients with mild symptoms are typically treated with heat or cold therapy, over-the-counter (OTC) medications, and shoulder exercises. Sometimes, patients may need to visit the doctor for steroid injections. Steroid injections are effective for a few months in most cases. Making lifestyle changes, such as reducing the amount of activity, can be helpful in managing shoulder arthritis.

Managing long term pain

Sometimes, when a patient’s shoulder arthritis does not resolve with conservative treatments, the doctor may suggest surgery. This treatment option is good for long-term, persistent, or severe pain. For shoulder arthritis, various surgical options are available, including total shoulder replacement surgery, reverse total shoulder replacement surgery, resection arthroplasty, and arthroscopic shoulder replacement. The healthcare provider will recommend the appropriate surgery based on the patient’s shoulder symptoms.

Preventing arthritis

A person can decrease the chances of getting shoulder arthritis by keeping the shoulder joints active with low-impact exercises. Pay attention to activities that aggravate shoulder symptoms and either avoid the activity altogether or reduce the frequency of the activity. Take breaks as needed, and incorporate rest days into any workout schedule.

Choosing the right solution

There is no cure for shoulder arthritis, but mild cases can usually be managed successfully with conservative treatments. For long term pain, surgery can provide effective relief. With the right approach, a patient can return to activities with less shoulder pain sooner rather than later.