What Does Shoulder Arthritis Feel Like
If you have shoulder arthritis, youll feel mild-to-severe pain and stiffness in your shoulder. Over time, youll notice a loss in your range of motion in your shoulder joint, especially if the glenohumeral joint is involved.
You may feel pain when you reach overhead, lift heavy objects or play sports or join in activities that involve a range of arm movements. In late-stage disease, you may not be able to complete simple everyday tasks without pain. These tasks include such things as bathing, grooming and even writing or using your computer.
What You Need To Know
- Arthritis is damage to the cartilage in joints. Shoulder arthritis occurs when the cartilage starts wearing down on the ball and/or socket sides of the shoulder joint.
- Symptoms of shoulder arthritis may include pain in the shoulder joint, stiffness and reduced range of motion.
- There are many nonoperative treatments for shoulder arthritis, including stretches, lifestyle modifications, application of ice or heat, and medication to control the pain.
- Surgical options, such as shoulder replacement, are available to treat shoulder arthritis if nonoperative treatments dont offer the desired relief.
Treatment Methods Prescribed For Shoulder Arthritis
Once diagnosed with shoulder arthritis by your Physician, your medical professional may prescribe various treatment options. From non-invasive to invasive treatment options, individuals suffering from arthritis in this area do have various treatment methods to choose from.
Treatment methods to help alleviate pain in your joints which may be prescribed by your orthopedic doctor are as follows:
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Arthritis Of The Shoulder
After the hip and knee, the shoulder is the third most common joint affected by , perhaps because in most people, it is not a weightbearing joint, as are the large joints of the lower limbs. However, as in the hip and knee, the loss of cartilage that characterizes shoulder arthritis is frequently a source of severe pain, limited function, joint stiffness, and significant diminishment of quality of life. While there is no cure for arthritis, there are many treatments, both nonsurgical and surgical, that enable the symptoms to be well treated and for patients to maintain active lifestyles.
Arthritis has its word origin from the Greek word, “arthron”, meaning joint. “Itis” probably of Latin derivation, and refers to inflammation. While literally arthritis therefore means inflamed joint, it has come to refer to any condition of the joint in which there is damage to the smooth cartilage covering a moving surface of a joint , eventually leading to cartilage loss, in the end stage resulting in “bone on bone” of the joint surfaces, and pain.
Caring For Your Incision
You’ll have stitches along the front of your shoulder, which are removed at your first follow-up appointment, one to two weeks after your surgery. Call your surgeon immediately if your incision swells, drains, or becomes red or painful, or if you develop a fever over 101 degrees F.
Be careful not to let the dressing or bandage covering your incision get wet or dirty moisture raises the risk of infection. Try to simply leave the dressing alone until you return for your first post-op appointment, though, if necessary, you can carefully change it yourself. After the stitches are removed, and if the doctor says it’s OK, you can take a shower, letting water run over the wound. But don’t submerge the area in a bathtub or swimming pool until the incision has completely healed. Pat the wound dry after showering.
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Getting A Diagnosis For Osteoarthritis In The Shoulder
Diagnosing osteoarthritis in your shoulder can be tricky, often due to your shoulder joints complexity. As you read in your shoulder joint anatomy description, there are lots of tendons, muscles, bursae, and more that are a part of your shoulder joint. Doctors have to narrow down the source of your pain, and that can be challenging.
Some of the diagnostic methods include:
- Asking you questions about your medical history, as well as your familys.
- Examining your shoulder to see your range of motion.
- Discussing what triggers your pain and what at-home treatments relieve it.
- If a doctor suspects arthritis, theyll commonly request an x-ray of your shoulder to look for signs of wear and tear on your joint.
- Reviewing other imaging studies, such as an MRI or CT, which will usually show a narrow joint space or formation of extra bone areas called osteophytes from your bones rubbing together.
A doctor may also try to rule out other possible causes. For example, if your
A healthcare professional will usually recommend conservative treatments at first to address your shoulder osteoarthritis.
How Does Shoulder Arthritis Develop
Shoulder arthritis usually results from gradual wear and tear of the cartilage. Cartilage is present in every joint in the body it covers the surface of the bones inside the joints similar to Teflon on a ball bearing. Cartilage is a living tissue 2 millimeters to 3 millimeters thick about the thickness of one or two layers of cardboard. This makes the contact between bones softer. If the cartilage is intact, it can take multiple rotations with no wear of the surface because its smooth.
Shoulder arthritis typically develops in stages. First the cartilage gets soft , then it develops cracks in the surface , then it begins to fibrillate , and finally it wears away to expose the surface of the bone . As a result, it loses its ability to act as a smooth, gliding surface.
The cartilage doesnt wear away all at once over the entire surface of the bone in a joint. Instead, it wears at different rates in different parts. So if you consider the surface of a ball bearing that was covered with Teflon, this type of wear would be as if the Teflon had pits and the surface would now be irregular .
Once the surface becomes irregular, the cartilage may undergo further damage. It may begin to thin out, eventually leading to the bones of the shoulder rubbing against each other . Many people think that arthritis is bone-on-bone traction in the joint, but in reality arthritis is the process that can lead to the bone-on-bone traction.
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Why Is Osteoarthritis Worse At Night
Shoulder osteoarthritis is known to often be worse at night, with many people reporting they cant fall or stay asleep because of the pain. This is possibly due to the shift in your positioning before you fall asleep, as lying down can put more stress on your shoulder joint, especially if you sleep on your side.
What Are The Types Of Shoulder Arthritis
Within the shoulder there are two different joints that can be affected by arthritis. The acromioclavicular joint , where the clavicle meets the acromion and the glenohumeral joint, where the ball of the humerus meets the glenoid . These joints can be affected by one or more of the following types of shoulder arthritis:
Osteoarthritis Often called wear and tear arthritis, happens over time, generally in older adults. Dislocations, fractures, genetics and instability from micro-trauma, can all contribute as causes of osteoarthritis. The protective covering of cartilage wears away over time and the bones of the shoulder rub together causing pain and inflammation.
Rheumatoid Arthritis This type of arthritis can attack any joint in the body and is considered an auto-immune disease. It occurs when the bodys own immune system attacks its own cartilage and destroys it. It also causes swelling of the synovial lining, which lubricates the joint, causing pain and stiffness. Rheumatoid arthritis is genetic and seen more often in women than in men. This type of arthritis typically is erosive and usually does not develop large bone spurs or osteophytes as commonly seen in osteoarthritis or secondary arthritis.
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What Is The Best Treatment For Arthritis In The Shoulder
No two patients with shoulder arthritis are exactly alike. Therefore, the best shoulder arthritis treatment isnt the same for everyone. However, at-home treatments, injections, and surgery rank as some of the most effective pain relief techniques that can help you get back to living life normally.
Osteoarthritis Of The Shoulder
Get information about the causes, symptoms and treatments for shoulder osteoarthritis, which is more common and debilitating than you may think.
In shoulder osteoarthritis also called degenerative joint disease your cartilage and other joint tissues gradually break down. Friction in the joint increases, pain increases and you slowly lose mobility and function. Shoulder OA is not as common as OA of the hip or knee, but it is estimated that nearly 1 in 3 people over the age of 60 have shoulder OA to some degree.
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Calcific Tendonitis And Calcific Periarthritis
Sometimes pain, swelling and difficulty moving your shoulder is caused by calcium crystals that form insidea tendon. Tendons are the strong cords that attach muscles to bones.
We all need the mineral calcium in the body, as it helps make bones and teeth strong. But sometimes, if you have too much of it in the body, sharp, tiny, crystals can form in the wrong places.
If they form in tendons, this is called calcific tendonitis.
This can happen at various places around the body, including the shoulder.
Calcium crystals can then shed from a tendon and cause pain and swelling around a joint. This is called calcific periarthritis.
Steroid injections often work well to reduce swelling. Butsometimes the calcium deposits mayneed to be removed by keyhole surgery.
Surgical Treatment For Osteoarthritis In The Shoulder
If your shoulder osteoarthritis pain progresses to be severe and you lose significant use of your shoulder, a doctor may recommend surgical treatment.
Different shoulder surgery approaches exist if you have shoulder osteoarthritis. These include:
- Hemiarthroplasty. Also known as a partial shoulder replacement, this surgery involves either replacing your damaged humerus or arm bone portion while the glenoid portion of your shoulder joint is intact or placing a cap over the damaged portion of your humerus .
- Reverse shoulder arthroplasty. A reverse shoulder arthroplasty involves reversing the natural position of your shoulder anatomy to relieve your pain. Normally, the ball part of your shoulders ball-and-socket joint is on your arms side. In a reverse shoulder, the ball is on the socket side of your joint, and the socket is on your arms side instead. The approach is most commonly used if you also have had severe rotator cuff damage.
- Total shoulder arthroplasty. This surgical approach involves replacing both damaged areas of bone in your glenohumeral joint.
The surgical approach depends upon your age, symptoms, and the health of your ligaments and tissues surrounding your shoulder joint. A doctor and surgical team will be able to discuss the options with you and inform you as to which approach is best suited to your condition.
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What To Expect After Shoulder Arthritis Surgery
Surgery for Shoulder Arthritis is generally successful at reducing pain and improving function of the Shoulder. Physical therapy is an important part of the recovery process. This is usually for 2-3 months after surgery to improve range of motion, and to strengthen and stabilize the muscles around the shoulder.
**Disclaimer: Treatment recommendations may vary depending on your true diagnosis. Always follow the recommendations of your orthopedic provider.
Symptoms Of Shoulder Oa
- If the glenohumeral shoulder joint is affected, the pain will be felt at the back of the shoulder and may feel like a deep ache.
- If the AC joint is affected, pain will be focused on the top of the shoulder. This pain may radiate up the side of the neck.
- Limited motion and stiffness: You may lose range of motion and feel stiffness that makes it difficult to do everyday tasks, such as lifting your arm to wash your hair or getting something down from a shelf.
- Crepitus: Hearing and feeling grinding and clicking noises as you move your shoulder.
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When Necessary Surgical Treatment Can Be Highly Successful
Surgery on the shoulder is common, with a success rate of over 90 percent. Complications are few and uncommon. If you have advanced OA, however, the condition of your rotator cuff will determine your surgical options.
If your rotator cuff is intact, the best option is likely total shoulder replacement. In this surgery, the socket is resurfaced and the arthritic ball is replaced. The patient can have nearly normal shoulder function without pain.
If your rotator cuff is severely damaged, there is nothing holding the ball in the socket. This makes moving your arms above your shoulder blades difficult. Total shoulder replacement is not possible, but there are still three surgical options.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Shoulder Arthritis
Symptoms of shoulder arthritis vary from person to person. Signs and symptoms include:
- Pain in your shoulder joint: This is the most common symptom. At first, you may feel shoulder pain only during activity. Later in the disease process, you may feel pain at any time of the day, with or without arm movement. Your pain may worsen when you lift heavy objects or after exercise. The pain may spread down your arm and even to your elbow or wrist if your arthritis is severe.
- Stiffness and loss of range of motion: You may feel stiffness in your shoulder and lose range of motion. These symptoms may make everyday tasks such as dressing, bathing, driving or doing housework difficult.
- Grinding, clicking, popping or cracking in your shoulder joint: Loss of cartilage, which leaves an unsmooth surface, causes these noises. The noises occur with or without pain.
- Loss of sleep: Its difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position. Any shoulder movement may cause pain. If you sleep on your back, place a pillow under the elbow of your affected side. This helps keep your shoulder in a more supported position. It also takes the strain off of all supporting joint structures. For some people, sleeping in a recliner can provide pain relief at night.
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Medications For Osteoarthritis In The Shoulder
Doctors may recommend over-the-counter medications to treat your shoulder osteoarthritis. These include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . Examples of NSAIDs include ibuprofen and naproxen sodium.
A doctor may also prescribe oral steroids , such as prednisone or methylprednisolone, to treat inflammation. But this is sometimes controversial, as research on oral and injection-based steroids has been mixed. If you have concerns about steroid use in your treatment plan, be sure to discuss that with a doctor.
Physical Therapy For Osteoarthritis In The Shoulder
Doctors may prescribe physical therapy along with conservative measures, such as taking NSAIDs, to improve your range of motion and lower the pain in your shoulder. A physical therapist will likely provide:
- assisted stretching
- an exercise plan designed around your bodys needs
- education on how you can prevent further pain or injury to your shoulder
But if your pain is significant, you may not be able to participate in physical therapy until your symptoms improve.
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Some Shoulder Conditions May Become More Common As You Age
You probably don’t think about your shoulders much, until you suddenly experience pain in one of them. Shoulder pain can make a simple act brushing and drying your hair, reaching behind your back to fasten a bra, or grabbing something overhead seem like a monumental task.
As you age, you’re more likely to experience shoulder pain from a variety of common conditions. “Shoulder problems are very common,” says Dr. Arun Ramappa, associate professor of orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School. The pain can come on gradually or abruptly, and it may range from mild to excruciating.
Below are some of the most common conditions you may encounter, and some tips for how to address them.
What Are The Symptoms Of Shoulder Osteoarthritis
As with most types of osteoarthritis, pain is a key symptom. A person with shoulder arthritis is likely to have pain while moving the shoulder and after moving the shoulder. The person can even have pain while sleeping.
Another symptom may be a limited range of motion. This limitation can be seen when you are trying to move your arm. It can also be evident if someone is moving your arm to assess range of motion. Moving the shoulder might also produce a clicking or creaking noise.
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The Best Shoulder Arthritis Treatment In St Peters Mo
At Advanced Bone and Joint, have a team of skilled practitioners to determine the best arthritis treatment for you based on your condition and health concerns. We tailor a plan that helps manage your pain and optimizes function simultaneously.
At our facility, we offer both surgical and non-surgical treatments. We carefully explain the purpose of your treatment and always welcome any questions or concerns. To make an appointment, call us at 229-4222. You can also request an appointment online.
Schedule an appointment with Advanced Bone & Joint, serving St. Peters and the surrounding Missouri area, to find the best treatment for arthritis in your shoulder today. Call us at 636-229-4222 or by using our online scheduling tool.