Diagnosing and Treating Shoulder Arthritis

Shoulder arthritis is caused by the wearing out of cartilage in the shoulder joint. When the cartilage wears out, the two bones connected to the joint will rub against each other causing friction that will eventually lead to arthritis.

There are two types of shoulder arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. According to specialists, the most common is osteoarthritis. This often referred to as the degenerative joint disease or the wear-and-tear arthritis that is characterized by progressive wearing out of the cartilage joint.

The other type, rheumatoid arthritis, is an uncommon type of shoulder arthritis which causes inflammation of the joint lining in the shoulder that damages the cartilage and, eventually, the bone.

Shoulder arthritis is common among people above fifty years old and is more prominent among people that have a history of shoulder injury. Also, studies show that this disease is hereditary.

Symptoms of shoulder arthritis manifest themselves as the condition gets worse. However, the interesting thing about shoulder arthritis is that the symptoms do not progress consistently with time. Nevertheless, it is still essential to pay attention to this condition because the symptoms of shoulder arthritis on a particular day might not necessarily divulge the development of the ailment.

The most common symptoms of shoulder arthritis are:

• Pain felt while moving
• Limited mobility
• Stiffness of the shoulder
• Joint swelling
• Tenderness of the joint
• Grinding and locking of the shoulder joint

Physical examination and X-rays are needed for evaluating a patient. These evaluations can help the doctor determine the development of the patient’s condition as well as finding a cure. For treating shoulder arthritis, the elemental methods should be utilized first before considering surgery. There are different forms of treatment done on patients that heavily depend on their individual conditions.

Different treatments for shoulder arthritis include:

• Anti-inflammatory medication – Medicines like Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen can help relieve pain and swelling. However, it is best to talk to a doctor first to avoid risks of allergic reaction.

• Physical therapy – Special exercises under the supervision of a therapist can help reduce the pain in the shoulder. Stretching and the use of ultrasound can help restore the functions of the shoulder that is affected.

• Cortisone injections – This is a non-steroidal injection that can help remove the pain and swelling of the shoulder. However, this is not a cure for shoulder arthritis.

• Shoulder replacement surgery – This is a very effective way to cure shoulder arthritis. Using this procedure, metal and plastic implant is inserted in the shoulder after the arthritic cartilage is removed. This is also known as the best method of treatment but several factors are needed to be considered like the patient’s age, medical history and response to previous methods of treatment.

If you suspect that you have shoulder arthritis, seek a doctor immediately. Only through proper diagnosis will you be able to start the right treatment for your condition.