What Are The Symptoms Of Shoulder Arthritis
As with other joints, the most common symptom of shoulder arthritis is pain during activity. In time, pain can occur at rest, and may even interrupt sleep. As the cartilage disappears, the joint becomes stiff, reducing range of motion, and limiting activity, often causing interference with even the most common tasks of everyday life, such as dressing, reaching for objects, and even personal hygiene. As joint motion is lost, tasks such as driving, athletic activity, housework, and even writing and computer work can be affected. The pain is frequently centered on the back of the shoulder, but commonly is felt all the way down the arm to the elbow.
Perhaps the most disabling symptom for most people is the loss of sleep, as it frequently becomes difficult to find a comfortable position either on the affected or unaffected side.
Motion is often severely affected, and may be accompanied by cracking, grinding, or catching as the ball/socket bones rub against one another.
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.
What Kinds Of Arthritis Affect The Shoulder
The most frequently occurring types of arthritis which affects the shoulder are , , rotator cuff tear arthropathy, and post-traumatic arthritis.
Osteoarthritis: Similar to the hip and knee, this is also called a wear and tear type of arthritis, and probably occurs as some combination of use, genetics, micro trauma, and increased forces across the joint. The cartilage loses its normal chemical makeup, becomes frayed and worn, and eventually disappears without this protective covering, the underlying bones grind against one another, causing pain.
Inflammatory arthritis: In conditions such as , multiple factors often having to do with the immune system, lead to inflammation of the joint and joint lining, ultimately wearing away the cartilage surfaces. Fortunately, the medical treatment of many types of inflammatory arthritis has made tremendous advances, and the need for surgical treatment has greatly diminished.
Rotator cuff tear arthropathy: This is the end stage of very large tears of the . A confluence of four muscles which stabilize and are the primary movers of the shoulder joint, which have been left untreated. While large tears of the rotator cuff tendon, are uncommon, an estimated 4% of patients with untreated rotator cuff tears develop cuff tear arthropathy. Treatment of shoulder arthritis caused by cuff tear arthropathy can be particularly difficult, since it results from damage to both soft tissue support of the joint as well as the joint surface.
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Types Of Arthritis That Affect The Shoulder
There are five main types of arthritis that can affect the shoulder. So far we discussed the most common type, which is osteoarthritis degeneration of the joint.
Another type of arthritis that affects the shoulder is rheumatoid arthritis . It is an autoimmune condition, meaning, the bodys own immune system mistakenly attacks itself. Along with shoulder pain, RA in the shoulder may also lead to tenderness, stiffness, rheumatoid nodules, fever, weight loss, and fatigue.
Post-traumatic arthritis is brought on by an injury to the shoulder. PA can also result in fluid buildup in the shoulder, pain, and swelling. It commonly occurs as a result of a sports injury or other type of accident.
Avascular necrosis destroys the shoulder joint tissue when the blood cannot reach the bones in the shoulder. As a result, bone cells begin to die. AVN can occur from joint dislocation or bone fracture and can also be a result of taking steroids or drinking high amounts of alcohol. AVN is a progressive disorder, which means it worsens over time.
Lastly, rotator cuff tear arthropathy occurs as a result of an injury to the rotator cuff, which is comprised of muscles and tendons connecting the shoulder blade to the top of your arm. This type of arthritis is usually caused by a rip in the rotator cuff which can lead to intense pain and weakness.
How Is Shoulder Tendinitis Treated
Treatment goals for shoulder tendinitis include reduction in pain and inflammation, as well as preserving mobility and preventing disability and recurrence. Treatments may include a combination of rest, wrapping, and use of ice packs for recent or severe injuries. Aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen are used to reduce swelling. Physical therapy, which includes range of motion exercises, is also part of the treatment plan. If pain is constant and severe enough, a cortisone injection can also be given into the shoulder to relieve symptoms.
Surgery is considered if the rotator cuff or biceps tendon has been partially or completely torn and the symptoms do not improve with other treatments. Surgery repairs the damaged tendon or tendons and removes inflamed bursae that may also be irritating the shoulder.
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Symptoms Of Shoulder Arthritis
Your shoulder joint is a ball-and-socket joint where your arm and the thorax meet. Your shoulder socket is formed by part of your shoulder blade, and your arm bone forms the ball of your shoulder joint. This joint has more movement than any other joint in your body, and when your shoulder becomes arthritic it can be a source of pain and disability.
Shoulder arthritis symptoms tend to progress as the condition worsens, but they might not progress steadily with time. You might have good months and bad months, or your symptoms may change with factors like the weather. Your arthritis symptoms on one particular day may not accurately represent the overall severity of your condition.
The most common symptoms of shoulder arthritis are:
- Pain with activities
- Tenderness around the joint
- A feeling of grinding or catching within the joint
Your evaluation will begin with a physical examination and X-rays. These can help with the diagnosis of your condition and can also serve as a baseline to monitor your disease and your response to treatment.
What Is Shoulder Pain
The pain of shoulder can happen at any of those tendons, ligaments or muscles located in the shoulder area. However, there is one thing for sure, that is when your shoulder begins to hurt it will be so difficult to focus on other tasks.
Shoulder pain does not exclude anyone at any age. People who often stay in front of laptops, smartphones or tablets for prolonged periods are the most vulnerable targets to this condition.
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Why Shoulder Arthritis Exercises And Home Treatment Methods Are Ideal
Many individuals who suffer from joint pain and discomfort as a result of shoulder arthritis find that exercises and other home treatment methods are the best ways to deal with this medical condition. Other individuals may find that NSAIDs, injections, or ultimately, surgery, are the only ways they wish to engage in the fight against osteoarthritis.
For the people who choose to perform the exercise for shoulder joint pain and other home treatment methods to deal with their upper extremity arthritis, they may do so for the following reasons:
- Shoulder muscle exercise and home treatment methods provide a noninvasive way to obtain pain relief
- Exercising at home, as well as other home treatment methods, is convenient
- Shoulder exercises have beneficial results
- Battling shoulder arthritis through exercise and additional home treatment methods is affordable
- Shoulder arthritis exercises can be completed at any time, day or night
- Exercises targeting the shoulder area help with mobility and pain relief in other parts of the body as well
Whether you choose to use shoulder exercises and additional home treatment methods as your sole way deal with shoulder arthritis or use it in conjunction with injections and NSAIDs, its an excellent idea to learn how to do these shoulder arthritis exercises properly.
Medications For Shoulder Osteoarthritis
Pain medications can be used to temporarily relieve shoulder arthritis pain.
- Over-the-counter oral pain medication. Analgesics, such as acetaminophen, can reduce pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, can reduce pain as well as the inflammation that contributes to pain. NSAIDs use is associated with gastrointestinal, heart, and kidney problems.3
- Prescription oral medication. If shoulder pain does not respond to over-the-counter medications, doctors may recommend prescription-level doses of medications such as naproxen and ibuprofen. Alternatively, they may prescribe other types of medications, such as an NSAID called a COX-2 inhibitor .
Other types of therapeutic injections, such as platelet rich plasma and stem cell injections, are sometimes offered. While research has been done on these injections in the treatment of knee and hip osteoarthritis, very little research exists regarding their ability to effectively treat shoulder osteoarthritis.
To ensure that an injection is made into the correct location in the shoulder, many experts suggest using ultrasound or fluoroscopy. Fluoroscopy is a radiographic imaging technique that allows doctors to conduct a procedure while watching a real-time X-ray movie. If fluoroscopy is used, contrast fluid is also needed to insure appropriate needle placement and distribution of the injectant .
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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.
Shoulder Exercise: Passive Internal Rotation
Stretches the front of your shoulder
- Get a lightweight stick, such as a yardstick, wooden dowel, or cane.
- Hold the stick behind your back with one hand, and lightly grasp the other end of the stick with your other hand.
- Pull the stick horizontally so that you feel a pull in the front of your shoulder without pain.
- Hold for 30 seconds, and then relax for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
- Repeat the sequence three more times.
Tip: Dont lean over or twist to side while pulling the stick.
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Will A Cortisone Shot Help Torn Shoulder Labrum
A torn labrum such as a SLAP tear can cause excessive movement or instability of the shoulder. Generally, episodes of instability will cause inflammation and pain. Usually, we perform a cortisone shot into the shoulder joint to reduce inflammation from a torn labrum. However, this injection must be followed by an exercise program to strengthen the shoulder and stop further instability.
What Is Shoulder Arthritis
Shoulder arthritis is damage to the cartilage inside the shoulder joint. The shoulder has two joints. Shoulder arthritis commonly refers to the bigger ball-and-socket joint named the glenohumeral joint after the bones it connects . The cartilage covers both the ball and the socket .
When the cartilage in the shoulder begins to break down on the surface and eventually in the deeper layers, its called shoulder arthritis. The second joint in the shoulder, the acromioclavicular or AC joint, can also develop arthritis known as AC joint arthritis.
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What Are The Prevention And Risk Factors Associated With Shoulder Arthritis
Acquiring shoulder arthritis is highly related to the risk factors being present in an individual. While risk factors vary according to its type, the prevention is also related. Gender, age, and familial history are non-modifiable risk factors that may contribute to developing shoulder arthritis.
These are risk factors that no preventions are applicable. There are also modifiable risk factors such as fractures, smoking, diets containing high in sugar and purines, and frequent alcohol intake that can help prevent or delay the onset of shoulder arthritis.
Avoiding sports injuries with proper mechanisms can help avoid trauma, healthy diet and the maintenance of healthy lifestyle are among the renowned shoulder arthritis preventions.
Natural Treatment For Shoulder Pain Relief
As far as minor shoulder pain is concerned, you can effectively manage or even treat the problem at home, too. There are several remedies, simple exercises, and certain lifestyle changes that can help you shake off that shoulder ache and keep you safe from falling victim to it again.
However, it is advisable to consult a doctor if the symptoms seem to be worsening.
Here are some home remedies for shoulder pain.
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How Shoulder Arthritis Is Treated
If youre diagnosed with OA, over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers and analgesic balms such as Biofreeze and Aspercreme help ease your aches. Cortisone injections can quickly alleviate intense, acute pain. Your doctor may also prescribe physical therapy, where youll learn exercises that strengthen the shoulders and improve range of motion.
Physical therapy can also helpful for those RA and other forms of inflammatory arthritis. These patients also benefit from OTC and prescription pain relievers, specifically NSAIDs. Inflammatory arthritis which typically affects multiple joints in addition to the shoulders is typically managed with disease-modifying drugs and/or biologics. These help stop the underlying, systemic inflammation that can cause long-term joint damage if left untreated.
In some cases, surgery may be necessary for patients who havent responded to nonsurgical treatments. For milder, glenohumeral cases of OA, a surgeon removes any bone spurs or pieces of tissue that are impeding the joints function. People with more advanced OA may require shoulder replacement surgery.
Those with RA may also need to consider surgery if medications and therapy havent helped and joint deterioration becomes severe. Options include shoulder replacement surgery, fusion of the affected joints , and partial removal of the inflamed synovium that surrounds the shoulder joint .
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Steroid Injections In Shoulder: What Are Available
Shoulder steroid injections target areas that cause pain.
- Bursal injections aim for the bursa above the shoulder tendons. This injection treats pain from shoulder or rotator cuff tendonitis.
- Shoulder joint injections target the shoulder ball and socket joint. These injections treat frozen shoulder or shoulder joint arthritis.
- Acromioclavicular joint injections are used for acromioclavicular degeneration. This condition causes pain at the top of the shoulder.
- Long head of biceps tendon injection is used to treat biceps tendonitis. Long head of biceps tendonitis can cause pain in the front of the shoulder.
- Suprascapular nerve block treats shoulder arthritis and rotator cuff tears that are inoperable.
Also, a cortisone shot in the shoulder can treat calcium build-up in the shoulder tendons. Calcium build-up can lead to sudden severe shoulder pain and stiffness. A procedure known as barbotage involves breaking up or sucking out calcium to reduce pressure in the tendon.
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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.
Is Surgery Necessary
Surgery is available to help you cope with shoulder pain. Nonetheless, it should be the last option after you have applied all possible ways, including home remedies for shoulder pain.
When you agree to do surgery, you need to know that there are effects after that. Some possible effects are allergic reactions, local infection, chronic pain, or even nerve damage.
But surgery is an excellent choice just in case you have osteoarthritis, which possibly results in bone spurs.
After surgery, you should give your body some time to recover. Some basic stretching exercises or therapies may be useful to accelerate your healing process.
When To See A Doctor
Unless youve had a serious injury or get a sudden, continuous pain, you can usually treat your shoulder pain without having to see your doctor.
If, after two weeks of treating yourself, you feel the pain isnt any better you should see your doctor or a physiotherapist.
You should also see your doctor as soon as possible if you:
- develop severe pain in both shoulders
- also have pain in your thighs
- feel feverish or unwell.
These can be signs of the condition called polymyalgia rheumatica, which needs prompt treatment.
There are several ways you can help your shoulder pain: