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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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.
At The Doctors Office
If you have a serious rotator cuff tear or a shoulder dislocation, you may need surgery to repair it. Your doctor may recommend steroid injections if the injury doesnt improve or if the pain is severe. This helps to lower inflammation.
Shoulder arthroscopy is a key-hole type of surgery. A surgeon makes a small hole and uses a tiny camera to examine and help repair torn tissue.
Osteoarthritis can cause chronic shoulder pain. Specialist joint surgeons often recommend steroid injections, surgery, or shoulder joint replacement surgery in very serious cases.
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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 aren’t 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
Other Possible Causes Of Shoulder Pain
Not all shoulder pain is due to arthritis, of course. Visit our sister site PainSpot to take a personalized quiz to see what else could be causing your shoulder pain.
A condition called frozen shoulder shares several symptoms with osteoarthritis, Dr. Rahmani says, including pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion. Frozen shoulder occurs when the tissue that surrounds your shoulder joint becomes thick and tight. But unlike OA, which is progressive, frozen shoulder resolves over time, usually within one to three years.
Bursitis can resemble rheumatoid arthritis because it causes redness and swelling. However, bursitis is not an autoimmune disease like RA rather, it develops when the bursae become inflamed. Bursitis can often be blamed on overuse or injury of a joint.
Other medical conditions that dont directly affect the shoulder can cause referred pain in the shoulders. Some examples include shingles, cervical nerve impingement, and blood clots in the lungs, says Dr. Rahmani.
In addition, any condition that affects the diaphragm, such as an injured spleen or gallbladder problems, can cause referred pain in the shoulders because they irritate the nerves that run from the diaphragm to the shoulders, he explains.
Doctors may suspect these indirect causes of shoulder pain depending on what they see in your physical exam.
If someone reports pain but has good range of motion, thats when you have to think outside the box, Dr. Rahmani says.
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Other Therapies For Psa
Below are additional ways of managing shoulder pain from PsA.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation Units
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation units are small, battery-operated devices that use electrical impulses to help reduce pain by stopping pain signals in the brain. One MyPsoriasisTeam member recommended using a TENS unit while exercising: I have a TENS unit that is portable and awesome for keeping the body moving when having severe pain.
Heat and Cold Therapy
Many MyPsoriasisTeam members use heat and cold to help ease PsA pain. One member shared their method for heat therapy: I use a rice-filled sock heated in the microwave for a few minutes. It helps. Others would rather apply ice: I also find that ice packs still help even when Tiger Balm doesnt. I think the cooling action helps reduce the inflammation.
Topical Creams and Patches
Health care providers like rheumatologists can prescribe topical treatments for pain. As one MyPsoriasisTeam member wrote, If you can get your doctor to prescribe it, there are some creams and patches that work very well .
Other MyPsoriasisTeam members recommend trying over-the-counter ointments, like one who shared, Extra-strength Tiger Balm helped me for a long time.
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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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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.
What Is The Difference Between Shoulder Arthritis And Frozen Shoulder
Both conditions cause pain and restriction in movement. So, how do you tell the difference?
Firstly, shoulder arthritis usually affects older people above the age of 50. On the other hand, frozen shoulder often affects people between the ages of 40-60 years. Secondly, an X-ray of the shoulder joint is normal in frozen shoulder.
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Osteoarthritis Of The Shoulder: Diagnosis And Treatment
Many have heard of arthritis. But despite its straightforward definition inflammation of a joint there are more than 100 types of arthritis, each with different causes and treatments. They all have the same symptoms, though: inflamed joints that can lead to pain and stiffness.
Osteoarthritis , the most common type of arthritis, is caused primarily by age-related wear-and-tear and can affect shoulders, knees, hips and other joints. Also known as wear-and-tear arthritis, OA is a condition that involves the deterioration of the smooth outer covering of bone .
If people lived forever, everyone would develop osteoarthritis, since the loss of cartilage occurs from simply using the joint. Shoulders are less susceptible to wear-and-tear compared to other weight-bearing joints, but longer lifespans and an increase in sports participation have contributed to rising numbers of shoulder problems earlier in life.
The shoulder consists of the upper arm bone , the shoulder blade , and the collarbone . The upper arm bone ends in what looks like a ball, which rests against a socket in the shoulder blade. Shoulder OA is the loss of the cartilage that allows this ball to glide smoothly against the socket, which can lead to the bones rubbing against each other.
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.
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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.
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Causes Of Shoulder Arthritis
The most common form of shoulder arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is degenerative joint disease. Certain people are more at risk of developing osteoarthritis as they get older, but anyone can develop the disease.
You could have a higher risk if you:
- Work manual labor jobs involving repetitive motions
- Play sports requiring repetitive overarm motions
- Suffered from shoulder injuries in the past
While osteoarthritis is a common cause of shoulder pain, it isn’t the only form of the disease. Arthritis can develop from avascular necrosis, which causes cells in the shoulder to die when blood cant reach the humerus bone, and rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disorder that causes joint pain in the shoulder.
Post-traumatic arthritis and rotator cuff tear arthropathy can also cause shoulder pain.
If you’re not sure what’s causing your shoulder arthritis, we can help diagnose what’s wrong with your joint. From there, you can begin building a pain management plan and treat the root issue.
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Stretching And Shoulder Strengthening Exercises
After the acute episode of pain is controlled, your physician may recommend that you perform stretching and shoulder strengthening exercises. One example of a stretching exercise is called the “weighted pendulum stretch,” in which a small weight is held in the hand while the arm is allowed to swing back and forth. Other exercises can be used to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles, which increases the support for the shoulder joint.
How To Know If Your Shoulder Pain Is From Arthritis Or Bursitis
Two common shoulder problems are arthritis and bursitis. Your shoulders are packed with bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Shoulder pain can develop from a variety of conditions that affect one, if not many, of these structures. While this can make it difficult to pinpoint the exact source of your shoulder pain, an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment are the keys to recovery. Arthritis and bursitis are two of the most common causes of shoulder pain however, they can be difficult to differentiate. The following article will help you determine if your shoulder pain is caused by arthritis or bursitis
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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 .
Shoulder Exercise: Wall Push Up
Strengthens shoulder, arm, and chest muscles
- Stand in front of wall, with your arms straight and hands flat against it.
- Place your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and tighten your stomach muscles.
- Keeping your feet flat on the floor, bend your elbows and open your chest toward the wall.
- Lower your upper body toward the wall in a slow, controlled motion. Your shoulder blades will come together a bit in the back. Hold for one second.
- Keeping your hands flat against the wall, slowly push yourself back until your arms are straight.
- Repeat 8 times and gradually build up to more reps.
Tip: Make sure your fingers arent bent on the wall, says Shroyer. Keeping them flat and pushing hard against the wall fully engages the muscles in your shoulder, arm, and chest.
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Rotator Cuff Tear Arthropathy
Rotator cuff tear arthropathy is a type of shoulder arthritis that can develop after a massive and prolonged rotator cuff tear. The four rotator cuff tendons in your shoulder wrap around the ball portion of the shoulder joint, holding it in place. If one or more of these tendons is heavily torn, this may cause the humeral head to rub against other bones and develop arthritis.