Osteoarthritis of the Shoulder

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is caused by changes to the body relating to age, and it develops when protective joint cartilage begins to wear down and causes inflammation in the joints due to increased friction between bone endings. This condition is very common in the shoulder due to the stress put on this area every day. 

Although this condition is not curable or reversible, the medical professionals at BEST Health System are experienced in finding treatments and procedures that will make each day more comfortable and manageable for all patients struggling with osteoarthritis. 

What Causes Osteoarthritis of the Shoulder?

Osteoarthritis of the shoulder is most commonly develops with age. As the body dries out due to natural causes, the cartilage becomes more brittle and begins to wear out. As the joint fluid dries up, bone-on-bone contact and inflammation in the joints increases, leading to the development of osteoarthritis. This condition could develop at a faster rate if an individual does the following activities:

  • Heavy lifting
  • Repetitive motions 
  • Strenuous activities

Nonsurgical Treatments

Since osteoarthritis is not reversible, the object of treatment is to relieve symptoms and minimize pain. Some of the following options for treatment may include, but are not limited to:

  • Rest
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Physical therapy
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Lifestyle changes

Conservative, non-surgical options can be effective for many individuals suffering from osteoarthritis. However, if these options are ineffective, there are surgical options available for more severe cases. 

Signs and Symptoms of Osteoarthritis in the Shoulder

Osteoarthritis causes symptoms that can be very painful and limit mobility. Some of the symptoms may include:

  • Aches in the shoulder
  • Pain that is described as deep within the shoulder joint
  • Stiffness and limited range of motion
  • A popping sensation is known as crepitus
  • Radiating or shooting pain down the arm in some cases

If an individual is experiencing similar or related symptoms, they should get in contact with a healthcare professional to prevent further damage. BEST Health System can put you in touch with a specialist that will get you on track to less pain and more mobility. 

Diagnosing Osteoarthritis of the Shoulder

Diagnosing shoulder osteoarthritis should begin with a thorough examination by a physician. This will generally include a review of medical history and questioning about symptoms, followed by a hands-on examination to determine the range of motion and identify tender spots. 

After examination, the physician will typically order tests to confirm osteoarthritis. Tests such as an X-ray or an MRI can reveal narrowing in the shoulder joint space as well as bony growths, known as bone spurs or osteophytes, a common byproduct of osteoarthritis. Following diagnosis, a physician will begin discussing treatments and options for pain prevention.

When is Surgery Necessary?

If osteoarthritis in the shoulder is unresponsive to conservative treatment, surgical procedures can help to reduce pain and improve mobility in the shoulder. These procedures can range from minimally invasive techniques to “clean out” an arthritic shoulder by removing bone spurs and other damaged tissue to performing a full or partial shoulder joint replacement. 

Replacement (arthroplasty) is only recommended if the shoulder joint has become more inflamed or seriously damaged from osteoarthritis. In this form of surgery, a surgeon will remove a portion of the shoulder and impact an artificial replacement joint. 

The highly skilled team of medical professionals at BEST Health System will help patients suffering from osteoarthritis find lasting relief. A range of treatment options is available for different cases. 

Reach Out to BEST Health System Today

If you’re living with osteoarthritis, call BEST Health System today. We can connect you to a location near you and from there, our highly skilled medical team will help you develop a personalized treatment plan to get you back to the people and activities you love as soon as possible. 

If you have experienced any of these symptoms or recieved a diagnosis and need treatment, BEST can help. Take the first step towards relief today.

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