Can This Injury Or Condition Be Prevented
There is no way to prevent shoulder OA. You may reduce your risk by staying moderately active, keeping the shoulder strong, and keeping the shoulder muscles the appropriate length with stretching. Your physical therapist can help you determine what exercises will keep your shoulder healthy. Eating healthy and exercising will help you manage a healthy weight and healthy joints. Avoiding injuries to the shoulder joint will help reduce your risk of OA as well.
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Possible Reasons For Shoulder Pain
If you havent recently fallen or been in an accident, and there doesnt seem to be any logical explanation for a sudden onset of your shoulder pain, there may be a root cause other than arthritis.
- Rotator Cuff Tendinitis. This is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain without direct injury. Rotator Cuff Tendinitis usually develops over time as the tendons and muscles that move your shoulder joint stiffen. It can be caused by sleeping on one side, keeping the shoulder in one position for long stretches of time, or participating in activities with rhythmic arm motions .
- Bone Spurs in the neck or shoulder. Despite the name, bone spurs are actually smooth outgrowths from the bone. They start small, but over time, they slowly increase in size. Theyre often asymptomatic but occasionally lead to pain or loss of motion in joints.
- Spinal Issues. Sometimes although its your shoulder that hurts, the real problem is that your spine has become misaligned, perhaps even leading to pinched nerves in the neck or shoulder.
- Bursitis. Bursitis is an extremely painful condition. Caused by inflammation of the bursae that cushion the joints, it most often occurs in the shoulders, elbows, and hips.
- Heart Attack. If arm and shoulder pain is ever accompanied by shortness of breath and/or chest pain, call 911 and seek medical assistance immediately.
Exercises To Help Shoulders With Arthritis
The goal of exercises for arthritis is to improve your strength and range of motion. Arthritis can make many motions uncomfortable or painful if done quickly. These exercises focus on slow, deliberate motions and stretches to improve your shoulders and relieve pain and tension.
Door Lean Stretches
This is one of the easiest stretches to help reduce tension in your shoulders.
Step 1: In front of a doorway, place both hands on the doorframe just above your head.
Step 2: Lean forward, using your shoulders to maintain your balance.
Step 3: When you feel a gentle stretch in your shoulders, stop and hold your position for a count of twenty.
You can repeat this three times to get the full benefits.
Another simple exercise that can be done anywhere, door presses can help you build shoulder strength without pain.
Step 1: In front of an open doorway, bend one elbow at a 90-degree angle. Your elbow should be at about waist height and your hand should be between the door frames, with your thumb facing the ceiling.
Step 2: Press the back of your wrist against the doorframe and hold for a count of ten.
Step 3: Do the same thing with the palm of the same hand, on the other side of the doorframe.
You can repeat this ten times for both arms, three times a day.
The goal of pendulum swings is to help relax your shoulder muscles and relieve pain. Do the following motions gently, so they feel relaxing instead of out of control.
Crossover Arm Stretches
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Exercises To Avoid Worsening Shoulder Impingement Pain
Our shoulders are one of the most complex joints in our body. For that reason they can be quite susceptible to injury and inflammation.
The definition of impingement is to have an impact, to encroach or to collide. Overuse of the shoulder leads to swelling of the tendons which consequently collide or encroach on the upper shoulder bone and make it considerably painful to move. Lets look at specific activities and 4 exercises to avoid worsening shoulder impingement pain.
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Medications For Psa In The Shoulder
One of the main goals of treating PsA with medication is to control inflammation. Medication helps to reduce joint pain and prevent joint damage, and it might repair some of the previous damage to the joint.
There are several medications used to treat PsA and manage PsA pain.
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation caused by PsA. These drugs include over-the-counter medications, like Ibuprofen, as well as other options only available by prescription.
These drugs may not be strong enough to work alone, however. As one MyPsoriasisTeam member wrote, Aleve and Ibuprofen arent helping my PsA shoulder pain. Your rheumatologist will work with you to determine whether NSAIDs are right for you and, if they are, which ones will be the most helpful.
Steroid Injections or Oral Steroid Treatments
Steroid injections are sometimes injected directly into the shoulder. They can quickly reduce inflammation and help ease painful joints caused by PsA. They can even keep pain and inflammation away for months at a time.
However, repeated injections into the same joint can cause damage, and the inflammation may be worse after the injection wears off. One MyPsoriasisTeam member explained, Im on day eight of the 10-day Prednisone taper. Yup, my stiff neck and shoulder pain are returning with a vengeance.
Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs
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Cycle Through The Pain
Cycling is one of the most effective ways to exercise with arthritis shoulder pain. If you ride your bike outdoors or use a stationary bike inside, make sure the handlebars are at an appropriate level. If theyre too low, youll end up putting more strain on already-stiff shoulder joints.
Try a recumbent bike without handlebars for indoor cycling. This places more focus on your legs and core. Hybrid bicycles tend to be the best options for outdoors. Thats because of the higher handlebar placement and upright sitting position.
Very few people have the space or money to invest in elaborate gym equipment. A gym membership is the perfect alternative. At the gym, take advantage of the cardio machines. They can help you to:
- condition your body
- take pressure off your shoulder joints
Consider using the following machines:
What Types Of Shoulder Arthritis Exercises Work The Best
Doctors recommend shoulder exercises and warm-up stretches as a way to help with arthritis of this type. Why? Because it works! With that said, its important to know the proper shoulder exercises to do in order to have beneficial results and not worsen your arthritis of the shoulder or cause other medical issues from improper stretching and exercise.
Exercises For Shoulder Pain Relief & Rehab. Image By Dr. Kristina Dematas / Sportydoctor
Some of the shoulder exercises for pain can be completed in the comfort of your own home while others will require some assistance from a specialist. Shoulder arthritis exercise options and tips to relieve shoulder pain include the following:
- Rehabilitation exercises
Exercise for Shoulder Arthritis. Image By Dr. Kristina Dematas / Sportydoctor
Prior to completing shoulder arthritis exercises, its important to consult with a medical health professional to know which exercise is best for your particular arthritis of the shoulder.
*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.
You want to be careful not to overdo it in the exercise department as doing more than you are able or more than your shoulder can take will not help you but could hurt you. Care has to be taken as how far to push the range of motion exercises, especially if mobility is limited due to space narrowing or bone spurs.
Image By Dr. Kristina Dematas / Sportydoctor
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Is Osteoarthritis In The Shoulder Considered A Disability
The Social Security Administration does consider shoulder osteoarthritis a disability in qualifying individuals. Youd have to experience significant functional challenges that keep you from performing your work to qualify.
Ask a doctor if they think youd be a likely candidate for disability due to the state of your shoulder arthritis.
How Does The Shoulder Work
Your shoulders each have two joints, making them the most flexible parts of your body.
The main shoulder joint the glenohumeral is a ball-and-socket joint. Its called this because the top of the upper arm bone the humerus is shaped like a ball. This ball fits into the shoulder blade bone, which acts as the socket, giving your shoulder a wide range of movement.
But, the shoulder socket is very small, compared to other ball-and-socket joints, such as the hip. Its held together and controlled by a covering of muscles, which are secured to the bones by strong cords called tendons.
These muscles and tendons form a capsule around the joint and support its movements, but can make it more likely to dislocate than other joints.
Inside the capsule is the synovium, which produces fluid that lubricates the joint and keeps the cartilage healthy. The cartilage helps protect your bones from any impact and sits between the bones of your shoulder joints to stop them rubbing together.
Above the main shoulder joint theres a smaller joint where the top of the shoulder blade the acromion meets the collar bone.
This is known as the acromioclavicular joint. It helps the larger joint below to move through its full range, particularly when youre raising your arm, lifting or throwing.
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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.
When To See Your Doctor
If youve been experiencing joint pain for a few weeks or longer, visit your doctor. You should see a doctor right away if you become unable to move your joint, notice the joint is very swollen and the skin is overly red, experience severe symptoms that interfere with your ability to complete daily activities. You should also see your doctor if you have a fever or flu-like symptoms along with joint pain. A fever may be a sign of an infection. See your doctor for a proper diagnosis, as each condition is treated differently. Bursitis is usually a temporary form of joint pain, while OA is a longer-lasting form.
For persistent joint pain that is interfering with your daily activities, see a Tristate rheumatologist to make the correct diagnosis and begin the proper treatment.
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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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Diseases That Affect Shoulder Arthritis
Along with the five different types of arthritis affecting the shoulder, there are other conditions and diseases that can worsen shoulder arthritis and lead to complications. These include juvenile arthritis, gout, pseudogout, reactive arthritis, lupus, infectious arthritis, polymyositis, dermatomyositis, polymyalgia rheumatica, osteonecrosis, Lyme disease. Other conditions such as gallstones, liver abscess, angina or heart attack, or ectopic pregnancy can also result in greater pain and swelling experienced in the shoulder.
What Causes Psoriatic Arthritis In The Shoulder
Researchers are not sure exactly what causes psoriatic arthritis, whether in the shoulder or elsewhere. They do know that PsA, like rheumatoid arthritis, is a form of chronic inflammatory arthritis. These types of arthritis occur when the body mistakenly attacks its own healthy tissues. This attack leads to inflammation, which causes the pain that people with PsA experience. Most people with psoriatic arthritis develop psoriasis on the skin and are later diagnosed with arthritis.
Nonsurgical Treatments Can Provide Pain Relief
There is currently no cure for OA, but nonsurgical treatments can slow its progress and help with pain management in the shoulder. These options include: activity modification, periodic rest, cold compresses, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, and steroid injections.
Some people never need to consult a surgeon, says Dr. Martin. We may start with injections, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatories. If their pain isnt effectively managed, we will do an MRI to assess the rotator cuff. If it looks like theyre developing more arthritis over time, then we would suggest that they be evaluated for surgery.
Dr. Martin reminds patients that the timing of surgery is important. The sooner a person is evaluated, the better we can guide them on their medical journey, she says.
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Rotator Cuff Injuries And Irritations
Your rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that help tether your shoulder into the socket and allow you to move it in a circular motion. Some two million people visit a doctor each year for rotator cuffrelated issues, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery . Most problems with the rotator cuff fall into two categories: tears or inflammation. Suspect a rotator cuff problem if you have pain or stiffness in your shoulder when you lift your arm above your head to brush your hair or when you reach behind your back. âYou wonât be able to do a lot of things you want to do, such as put dishes in an upper cabinet, play tennis, or do garden pruning,â says Dr. Ramappa.
Rotator cuff impingement. A rotator cuff impingement happens when there is irritation, inflammation, or compression of the tendons or bursa in the shoulder. An impingement can be caused by an injury, but it can also just result from general wear and tear from daily life.
Rotator cuff tears. A tear in the rotator cuff will produce pain that is similar to an impingement but has one additional differentiating feature. âIf the pain is associated with weakness, it is likely caused by a tear, and if you just have pain, it may only be a rotator cuff impingement,â says Dr. Ramappa.
Performing simple stretches two to three days a week can help keep your muscles flexible and reduce pain, provided your doctor approves.
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How Doctors Diagnose Arthritis Shoulder Pain
To determine whether OA or an inflammatory arthritis like RA is responsible for your shoulder pain, your doctor will rely on your medical history, a physical exam, and blood and imaging tests. You can also expect your doctor to ask about your lifestyle.
If someone comes to me with shoulder pain who says hes a swimmer and has recently increased his activity level, for example, Im more inclined to think its OA, Dr. Rahmani says.
The location of your shoulder pain also provides clues, he adds: People with RA will have a more diffuse pain throughout the shoulder, while those with OA have tenderness in one area.
If your doctor suspects RA or another type of inflammatory arthritis, they will order blood tests to look for the presence of certain antibodies, such as rheumatoid factor and anti-CCP, which help identify these conditions.
If theres fluid in your joint, your doctor may take a sample and send it to a lab for analysis.
This gives your doctor a lot of information, Dr. Rahmani says. The white blood cell count can indicate whether you have OA or RA and how inflamed the shoulder is, and the fluid itself may reveal gout crystals.
When it comes to imaging tests, he says an MRI provides the most information.
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Are Glucosamine Or Chondroitin Useful Supplements For Shoulder Arthritis
Some people who have arthritis say that glucosamine and chondroitin help relieve their joint pain. These personal reports are hard to evaluate. The Food and Drug Administration doesnt regulate supplements. Unlike medications, theres not a lot of scientific evidence to confirm that supplements help treat arthritis.
Always ask your healthcare if you are thinking about taking these or any other supplements, herbal products or other over-the-counter medications. Theyll share their knowledge as well as make sure these products arent interfering with your current medications.
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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