Signs Of Shoulder Arthritis
Arthritis affects joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons by wearing away the cartilage that prevents friction between the meeting point of bone ends. Shoulder arthritis feels like recurrent pain and stiffness in your shoulder joints. Other symptoms include the following:
If you notice you’re experiencing some shoulder arthritis symptoms, consulting a doctor to discuss your symptoms can help you receive treatment faster.
Arthritis Of The Shoulder
Arthritis causes inflammation in and around joints. In the shoulder, arthritis can cause pain and stiffness that make it more difficult for the shoulder to move in all the directions it would normally move.
The type of arthritis that most often affects the shoulder is called osteoarthritis. There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but it can be treated with medications, lifestyle changes, or surgery.
Also sometimes known as wear-and-tear arthritis, osteoarthritis causes the cartilage in the joint to break down. Cartilage is the smooth tissue that covers the ends of the bones in a joint and allows the bones to glide against each other. When the cartilage is damaged by osteoarthritis, the bones begin to rub against each other instead of gliding smoothly.
From the outside, the shoulder appears to be one joint. But the shoulder is actually made up of two joints that are formed by three bonesthe upper arm bone, the shoulder blade, and the collarbone.
The upper arm bone fits into a socket in the shoulder blade. That joint, known as the glenohumeral joint, is held into place by a group of muscles and tendons known as the rotator cuff.
The other joint in the shoulder is located where the shoulder blade connects to the collarbone and is called the acromioclavicular joint, or AC joint.
Both joints in the shoulder can be affected by arthritis.
Signs Of Ra In Your Shoulder
As mentioned, there are plenty of things that could cause shoulder pain, so RA isnt always the culprit. However, if you have already been diagnosed with RA pain in other areas of your body, it is certainly a distinct possibility. Some of the most common symptoms of RA, according to WebMD, include:
Swelling An RA joint is often fluid-filled. This can make the area surrounding it appear puffy and large. The fluid that fills the joint can also cause further damage to the bone and structure of the joint itself, leading to further pain down the road.
Pain What causes the pain with RA? It is actually caused by the inflammation within the joint. It is tender to the touch. Plus, the swelling puts pressure on your nerves, causing pain.
Redness and Warmth Does your shoulder feel warm, feverish or have a red tone to it? When a joint is being attacked by RA, there is often warmth and redness.
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How Is Shoulder Arthritis Treated
Treatment options include home-based and lifestyle care, medications, and finally, surgery.
Home-based and lifestyle care
Shoulder arthritis treatments usually begin with nonoperative, home-based and lifestyle care. These methods keep your shoulder mobile and reduce pain. These treatments include:
- Shoulder exercises: Stretching exercises help improve or retain your range of motion. Your provider may have you work with a physical therapist.
- Activity and lifestyle adjustments: Let pain be your guide. Cut back or avoid everyday activities or athletic activities that cause shoulder pain.
- Ice and heat: Apply ice or moist heat whichever feels better to reduce inflammation and ease your pain. If cold is your choice, place a reusable frozen cold pad or even a frozen bag of peas on your shoulder. Apply the cold pack for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day as needed. Moist heat is a nice option for warming up before stretching or any other time that helps make you feel more comfortable.
Medications relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Common options are:
If other treatment methods dont relieve your pain and your arthritis is getting worse, surgery may be an option. Common surgical options include:
Your surgeon may consider variations of these main types of surgeries based on the type, location and severity of your arthritis.
Heat And Cold Therapy
You may have heard that thermotherapy, the use of heat in therapy, is an effective way of treating pain in the neck due to arthritis. This method has merit. How does it work? By increasing circulation through the joints, bones, and muscles within your neck. Without ample blood flow, areas in your neck will be deprived of oxygen, and this leads to dead or dying muscle tissue, weakening your neck and forcing you to rely on your bones for keeping your head up. Ultimately, this leads to more pain.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, you can also use cold therapy to constrict the blood vessels in your neck and decrease inflammation. Doctors recommend using hot and cold therapy in intervals of 30 minutes each.
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Osteoarthritis In The Shoulder
When we see OA of the shoulders, its usually the result of past trauma to the shoulders, says Darush Rahmani, DO, FACP, FACR, a rheumatologist at Austin Regional Clinic in Texas. It can also be the result of years of wear and tear, so you might see it in someone who has done manual labor, for example.
Surgical Treatments For Ra Shoulder Pain
If your symptoms do not respond to nonsurgical options or medicines and your quality of life has been impacted by them, your doctor might recommend surgery. The goal of surgery is to improve or restore your shoulder function and provide pain relief. Surgery options include:3
- Arthroscopy During this procedure, the surgeon inserts a small camera into your shoulder joint. The camera displays images on a screen, and the surgeon uses the images to guide small surgical instruments. The surgeon then cleans out the inside of the joint. While the procedure provides pain relief, it does not eliminate arthritis from the joint.
- Shoulder joint replacement During this procedure, the surgeon removes the damaged cartilage and bones in your shoulder. They will then place new metal or plastic joint surfaces to restore your joint function. There are different types of shoulder joint replacement surgeries, including:
- Hemiarthroplasty Just the head of the humerus bone is replaced
- Total shoulder arthroplasty Both the head of the humerus and the glenoid are replaced
- Reverse total shoulder arthroplasty A metal ball is fixed to the glenoid, and a plastic cup is fixed to the upper end of the humerus
- Resection arthroplasty A small amount of bone from the end of the collarbone is removed, leaving a space that eventually fills in with scar tissue
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Causes Of Shoulder Arthritis
Arthritis can affect the joints in different parts of your body. There are two joints that make up the shoulder, which are the acromioclavicular joint and the glenohumeral joint. The AC joint is where the clavicle meets the shoulder blade, and the latter is where the head of the humerus meets the scapula. Shoulder arthritis can occur in these joints when the cartilage between them degenerates and the bones rub against each other, causing inflammation and pain.
Arthritis of the shoulder causes pain in the back and top of the shoulder as well as stiffness and weakness. The pain is often felt deep in the joint and travels to the neck and the rest of the shoulder. Patients with shoulder arthritis can have trouble sleeping due to the bothersome symptoms.
The prospect of getting arthritis is worrying. Nobody likes to feel pain. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help prevent or manage arthritis early on.
Here are the most common causes of shoulder arthritis:
Main Causes Of Shoulder Arthritis
The shoulders are comprised of the two most mobile joints in the human body. The acromioclavicular joint is where the tip of the shoulder blade connects to the clavicle, while the glenohumeral , is the larger, ball-and-socket joint where the humerus joins the scapula. Both serve important functions in arm movement from waving hello to lifting and carrying. However, when one of these joints is impacted by arthritis, these natural movements and motions can become increasingly painful and more difficult to perform.
While arthritis may be more common in weight-bearing joints such as the hips and knees, shoulder arthritis still afflicts many and can be life-altering in its complications. So, what exactly causes arthritis in either of the shoulder joints? Here are the five main ways the condition develops:
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Stop Eating An Unhealthy Diet
Whats your diet got to do with arthritis? Eating well and maintaining your ideal weight is especially important if youve got arthritis. Excess pounds can put lots of stress on weight-bearing joints, which is likely to make arthritis pain worse. Even moderate weight gain can stress joints that are already burdened by arthritis.
Can Shoulder Arthritis Be Prevented
You can lower your chances of developing arthritis, in general, by:
- Avoiding tobacco products. If you use tobacco products, your provider can give you tips to quit and offer information on support services.
- Doing low-impact, non-weight-bearing exercise.
- Maintaining a healthy body weight.
- Eating a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet.
- Reducing your risk of joint injuries. Avoid or limit activities that put your shoulder at risk of injury.
See your healthcare provider at the first sign of symptoms. If your shoulder problem is found early, you can learn ways to reduce pain, change or avoid certain activities and reduce further cartilage damage.
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What Is Shoulder Tendinitis/bursitis
Shoulder bursitis and tendinitis are common causes of shoulder pain and stiffness. They indicate swelling of a particular area within the shoulder joint.
The shoulder joint is kept stable by a group of muscles called the rotator cuff as well as the biceps tendon. These muscles and tendons keep the upper arm bone within the shoulder socket . When the rotator cuff tendons or the biceps tendon become inflamed and irritated it is called rotator cuff tendinitis and bicipital tendinitis.
An area called the subacromial bursa lies in the space between the rotator cuff tendons and the part of the shoulder blade bone that hangs over these tendons . The bursa is what protects these tendons. Subacromial bursitis occurs when the bursa becomes inflamed.
Both conditions can cause pain and stiffness around the shoulder and may exist together.
Mindset Is As Important As Medication
Carol Eustice is a writer covering arthritis and chronic illness, who herself has been diagnosed with both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
David Ozeri, MD, is a board-certified rheumatologist from Tel Aviv, Israel specializing in arthritis, autoimmune diseases, and biologic therapies.
Living with chronic pain and other debilitating symptoms of arthritis is tough. Even if youre working with an amazing doctor and have a tailor-made and effective treatment plan, it sometimes can be easy to fall off track and develop bad habits or a negative attitude. These are all problems you can overcome though. Here are ten ways to do that.
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Bursitis Causes And Risk Factors
Bursitis is common in adults, especially after age 40.
Its usually caused by repeated pressure on an area or by using a joint too much. High-risk activities include gardening, raking, carpentry, shoveling, painting, scrubbing, tennis, golf, skiing, and throwing. You can also get bursitis by sitting or standing the wrong way for a long time at work or home, or by not stretching enough before you exercise. Sudden injury can sometimes cause bursitis.
As you age, your tendons arent able to handle stress as well. Theyre less elastic and easier to tear.
If theres a problem with the structure of a bone or joint , that can put more stress on a bursa, causing bursitis. Reactions to medications and stress or inflammation from other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriatic arthritis, or thyroid disorders, may also raise your risk.
An infection, especially with Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, can sometimes cause bursitis.
What Causes Shoulder Osteoarthritis
Shoulder OA is caused by both genetic and behavioral factors.
Genetics predisposes you to wear-and-tear, then its what you do with your life that makes osteoarthritis manifest, explains Dr. Tamara Martin, an orthopaedic surgeon in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Brigham and Womens Hospital. Factors include:
The bones of the shoulder.
- Gender: Shoulder OA is more common in women than men.
- Genetics: Hereditary factors determine the toughness and durability of cartilage, as well as how it attaches to bone. A person with weaker cartilage is more likely to develop OA than another individual, even when participating in similar activities.
- Repetitive stresses: People whose jobs call for repeated lifting or pushing, such as activities performed during manual labor, subject their joints to minor stresses that can accelerate the development of OA.
- Athletic participation, particularly sports that require a lot of shoulder movement. Athletes engaging in repetitive activities are more susceptible to cartilage loss. They are also more likely to injure their shoulder, which can lead to post-traumatic arthritis .
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History Of Trauma And Injury
A sports injury, such as a fracture, sprain, or strain, may cause shoulder arthritis later on down the road. An athlete has a much higher risk of developing arthritis due to the injuries sustained while playing sports.
Repetitive injuries of the shoulder due to your occupation can also come back to haunt you later on in the form of shoulder arthritis especially if it did not heal properly. Repeated injuries can weaken the soft structures in your shoulder, which can accelerate the development of arthritis.
One thing you can do to protect yourself is to keep your shoulder joints healthy. Dont overuse your shoulders and dont ignore any signs of pain or symptoms. If you play sports or have hobbies, make sure to follow safety precautions, use the right equipment, take frequent breaks, and take your time when increasing intensity of the activity.
While you cannot change whats already happened, seeing a sports medicine doctor can help you delay the progression of shoulder arthritis. A huge part of sports medicine involves working with a physical therapist to strengthen the muscles around the site of injury in order to reduce strain on the joint.
What Can Be Done For Ra In The Shoulder
First and foremost, if you suspect you have shoulder pain that may stem from RA, contact your doctor immediately. Prompt treatment can prevent the most severe problems. After all, a joint suffering from RA may be more likely to develop other problems than healthy joints.
Once your doctor has diagnosed RA in your shoulder, he or she will usually recommend a combination of drug treatment and non-drug treatment. Non-drug management of RA to the shoulder may involve resting the joint, application of heat and cool and maintaining a healthy diet. Physical therapy may also be a useful tool. Physical therapy could include massage, controlled exercise or other forms of rehabilitation. PT can often relieve some symptoms of RA and also lead to a quicker healing time for any concurrent injuries too. Finally, as stated in an article published by NCBI, surgery may be an option as well to help control the pain and prevent further injury to the shoulder.
As always, taking care of your RA, whether it affects your shoulder or any other part of the body, is a team effort between you and your doctors. Any new, unexpected pain should be brought to the attention of your rheumatologist or your general practitioner as soon as possible. In doing so, you can get back to normal as quickly and easily as possible. After all, no one likes shoulder pain!
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How Can Shoulder Tendinitis Be Prevented
Because most cases of shoulder tendinitis are caused by overuse, the best treatment is prevention. It is important to avoid or modify the activities that cause the problem. Underlying conditions, such as improper posture or poor technique in sports or work, must be corrected.
Apply these basic rules when performing activities:
- Take it slow at first and gradually build up your activity level.
- Use limited force and limited repetitions.
- Stop if unusual pain occurs.
Rheumatoid Arthritis In The Shoulder
While RA most commonly affects the smaller joints in the fingers, hands, and feet, Dr. Rahmani says that over 50 percent of patients with RA do ultimately develop shoulder involvement.
OA and RA share similar symptoms, such as pain and limited pain of motion. But an inflammatory arthritis such as RA is more likely to be suspected if the shoulder is red or swollen, other joints are affected, and the patient has fatigue or a fever, he explains.
Shoulder pain can also occur in other, less common forms of inflammatory arthritis, such as psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and gout. There are a few other types of arthritis that your doctor will need to consider as well, including:
- Post-traumatic arthritis:This can develop years after an injury to the shoulder. Post-traumatic arthritis can present as osteoarthritis or as a form of inflammatory arthritis such as gout.
- Rotator cuff tear arthropathy: If you experienced a large tear to your rotator cuff in the past, you may have developed this form of degenerative arthritis. A tear can cause two bones in the shoulder the top of the humerus and the underside of the acromion to rub against each other, resulting in damage to the bones.
- Avascular necrosis: In avascular necrosis, death of bone tissue occurs due to lack of blood supply. Possible causes include a broken bone, dislocated joint, high-dose steroid use, heavy alcohol consumption, sickle cell disease, and traumatic injury to the shoulder.
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