How Shoulder Arthritis Is Diagnosed
The first sign of shoulder arthritis is pain in the general area, although the type of pain and the timing may vary. For instance, some people may feel a deep kind of pain in their shoulder joint, while others may feel a radiating pain around the side of their neck.
Limited range of movement is another symptom of worsening shoulder arthritis.
If youve had an outstanding injury in your shoulder area or have been feeling stiffness or an ache that isnt going away, the first step is to talk with your doctor. They will most likely check the affected area for muscle weakness, tenderness, range of movement, and a grating sensation inside the joint when it is moved.
The next step will most likely consist of shoulder X-rays so your doctor or specialist can take a look at your bones and see if any changes have occurred.
Lastly, your doctor may inject a local anesthetic into the joint where the pain seems to be radiating. If the pain is temporarily relieved, a diagnosis of arthritis is likely.
Shoulder arthritis is treatable. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment for your specific condition. Depending on your diagnosis, symptoms, and disease progression, your doctor may recommend:
If your doctor recommends surgery for shoulder arthritis, there are a number of surgical interventions available. Depending on your condition, these treatments include:
Managing Osteoarthritis Of The Elbow And Shoulder
There are many treatments that could significantly reduce your pain and improve your movement. Youll probably need to use a combination of things to get the best results.
You should discuss the following treatments with your doctor, so that you can be involved in picking the right treatment plan for you.
Nordic Pole Walking For Seniors: What Is It And Is It Good For You
this post contains affiliate links
Nordic pole walking is great for seniors who need some additional support when walking to feel safe and secure and for you if you want to try something new.
The main difference between nordic poles and regular trekking poles is the technique that is used. Both trekking poles , and nordic poles , have wrist supports. The difference in supports is that in all nordic poles, the loop actually straps down on your wrist to provide more support whereas, with regular trekking poles, this is not always the case.
Adding another one or two points of contact when walking can help prevent falls and can be especially useful if you are walking on uneven or unsteady surfaces.
In the remainder of this article, I will discuss the main proposed benefits of nordic pole walking versus walking with regular trekking poles and what you need to know to help you be your healthiest self.
Recommended Reading: How To Tell If Your Dog Has Arthritis
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.
Arthritis In The Shoulders
Having arthritis can often feel like you need a shoulder to lean on, especially if its your shoulder that hurts.
Each shoulder contains a joint supported by muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Arthritis causes inflammation in the joints, including those in your shoulder, as well as a breakdown of the cartilage that cushions your bones. This causes the characteristic pain and stiffness of arthritis.
There are over 100 different types of arthritis. The three main types are osteoarthritis , rheumatoid arthritis , and psoriatic arthritis . Each type develops differently, and all require different medical treatment. However, certain workouts can help relieve arthritis symptoms.
Following are some tips for exercising when you have arthritis in your shoulders.
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.3Cooper C, Chapurlat R, Al-Daghri N, et al. Safety of Oral Non-Selective Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs in Osteoarthritis: What Does the Literature Say?. Drugs Aging. 2019 36:1524. doi:10.1007/s40266-019-00660-1.
- 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.
If nonsurgical treatment options are tried and the person still has shoulder stiffness and pain, surgery may be recommended.
Coping With Low Mood And Sleep Problems
You might find that osteoarthritis makes you feel depressed or anxious. Speak to your doctor if youre feeling low. They may suggest cognitive behavioural therapy and a few stress-relieving techniques.
The NHS also offer counselling sessions if youre living with chronic pain or long-term health conditions.
Osteoarthritis can also affect your sleep pattern. This can lead to tiredness and could make your pain feel worse. You may even have fatigue, which is when you feel extremely tired, even after resting.
But there are things you can do for yourself that might help, such as:
- Avoid lying on the side of the affected arm. Instead lie on your back with a pillow supporting your arm.
- Keep a sleep diary to work out if there are any patterns to your sleep problems.
- Sleep at regular times to get your body into a routine.
- Avoid using mobile phones, laptops or computers in bed.
- Try to wind down before bed by having a warm bath or reading a book.
Your condition can affect your relationships and how you interact with people generally. It might be worth having conversations with people close to you to explain your condition and how it affects you.
If youre still having problems, speak to your doctor or an occupational therapist. They can give you some tips and techniques and may also refer you to a pain management clinic, where you can be shown how to live a more active life.
Recommended Reading: How Did I Get Rheumatoid Arthritis
What Is Osteoarthritis Of The Elbow And Shoulder
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It can affect any joint in your body, but the elbows and shoulders are less commonly affected than other joints.
Everyones joints go through a normal cycle of wear and repair during their lifetime. As your joints repair themselves, their shape and structure can change. When this happens in one or more of your joints, its known as osteoarthritis.
A joint is a part of the body where two or more bones meet. The shoulder joint is known as a ball and socket joint. Its called this because the top of your upper arm bone is shaped like a ball. This fits into your shoulder blade bone, which acts like a socket. This gives your shoulder a wide range of movement.
The elbow joint connects the upper arm bone, which is called the humerus, with the bones in your forearm, called the radius and ulnar.
The elbow is known as a hinge joint because your elbow allows you to bend and straighten your arm. It also allows you to rotate your forearm and wrist.
The ends of both bones in a joint are covered by a smooth, slippery surface, known as cartilage. This is the soft but tough tissue that allows your bones to move against each other without friction.
Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage in your joints to become thinner, and the surfaces of the joint to become rougher, as new layers of bone begin to grow.
Osteoarthritis is common and can affect people of any age, but it usually starts in people over the age of 45.
Are Nordic Poles Really That Much Different Than Trekking Poles
The main difference with the nordic poles is that the rubber component that makes contact with the ground is designed to be at an angle whereas trekking poles generally have rounded or flattened edges at the end of the pole.
This angled edge of the nordic poles allows for more efficient push-off with the poles allowing you to generate some power with your arms. This is very similar to cross-country skiing as you are also generating power through your arms.
Read Also: What’s The Best Food To Eat For Arthritis
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 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.
Also Check: Why Do People Get Rheumatoid Arthritis
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.
Tips For Lifting Weights
Strength training plays a key role in increasing muscle mass and bone density. If you have arthritis in your shoulder, you may believe that you cant lift weights anymore. But that isnt entirely true.
The key is to focus on exercises that dont require raising weights above your shoulders or cause any additional pain. Pay attention to any pain. Its the signal that your joints are becoming more inflamed or irritated.
Traditional bicep curls, bench presses, rowing, and pectoral chest flies are all appropriate. The American College of Rheumatology recommends 8 to 10 reps of each strength-training exercise, up to three times per week.
Recommended Reading: Is Corn Bad For Arthritis
Shoulder Exercise: Wall Crawl
Improves range of motion and strengthens shoulder muscles
- Stand in front of a wall, about an arms reach away, so your fingers can just touch it.
- Using your affected arm, slowly crawl your fingers up the wall as high you can comfortably go.
- Hold for 15 to 30 seconds then crawl back down.
- Repeat one or two more times, trying to reach higher each time.
Tip: If you feel a twinge of pain or your shoulder tightens as you crawl your fingers up, pause for a second and focus on relaxing the shoulder muscle, advises Shroyer. You may be able to go a little higher once your shoulder is relaxed. If you feel a twinge again, youve reached your max range of motion.
How Is Osteoarthritis Of The Shoulder Treated
The first treatments for osteoarthritis, including osteoarthritis of the shoulder, do not involve surgery. These treatments include:
- Resting the shoulder joint. This could mean that the person with arthritis has to change the way they moveÃ the arm while performing the activities of daily living. For example, the person might wear clothing that zips up the front instead of clothing that goes over the head. Or the person might prop up hair dryers instead of holding them up for long periods of time.
- Taking over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or aspirin. These drugs, also called NSAIDS, will reduce inflammation and pain. Check with your doctor to make sure you can take these drugs safely.
- Performing physical therapyÃ as assigned by the doctor.
- Performing range-of-motion exercises. These exercises are used as an attempt to increase flexibility.
- Applying moist heat.
- Applying ice to the shoulder. Ice is applied for 20 minutes two or three times a day to decrease inflammation and pain.
- Using other medications prescribed by the doctor. These might include injections of corticosteroids, for example.
- Taking the dietary supplements glucosamine and chondroitin. Many people claim relief with these supplements. Evidence is conflicting as to whether they really help. You should discuss using these with your doctor because the supplements may interact with other drugs.
Don’t Miss: How To Help My Dogs Arthritis Pain
What Tests Are There
Blood tests arent usually needed for most shoulder problems, but theyre sometimes used to rule out other conditions, including some types of arthritis.
X-rays are good for looking for problems with the bones in your shoulder and minor changes in the joints. However, small changes are quite common and may not be the cause of your trouble.
X-rays can only show bones and other hard substances, but they wont show injuries to soft tissue like muscles.
An ultrasound scan can show swelling, as well as damage and problems with the tendons, muscles or other soft tissues in the shoulder. It uses high-frequency sound waves to examine and build pictures of the inside of the body.
You may be referred for magnetic resonance imaging scans if your doctor suspects a more complex problem with the soft tissue in your shoulder. An MRI uses radio waves to build a picture to show whats happening to the bones and soft tissue, such as the muscles and tendons, inside your shoulder.
Sometimes dye is injected into the shoulder before the MRI to get a clearer picture especially in cases of shoulder dislocation.
Nerve conduction studies can show whether your problems are being caused by the nerves in your arm being pinched or irritated.
They measure the electrical activity in the muscles and nerves. Its common to feel slight pain or discomfort, like a tapping on the skin, but the test doesnt last long.
Some of the specific conditions that affect the shoulder include:
How Will Osteoarthritis Of The Elbow And Shoulder Affect Me
While many people with osteoarthritis of the shoulder or elbow wont have any symptoms, those who do can have a wide range of experiences.
Most commonly the affected joint can feel stiff, swollen and painful.
But being diagnosed with osteoarthritis doesnt mean your condition will get worse. Theres a lot you can do to improve your symptoms. See the section managing osteoarthritis to find out more.
Osteoarthritis wont always affect both of your elbows or shoulders. It may only affect one joint.
You might find it difficult to bend or stretch your arm, and you may feel pain when you move your shoulder. This could mean that simple activities like shaving or brushing your hair can suddenly become much more difficult.
You might hear some crunching or crackling noises, especially when moving your shoulder. But this usually isnt anything to worry about and only sounds loud because this joint is close to your ears.
The pain may feel worse at the end of the day, or when you move your arm, and it may improve when you rest. You might feel a bit stiff in the morning, but this shouldnt last more than half an hour.
Also Check: How Do You Stop Arthritis In Your Fingers