Shoulder osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease of shoulder is caused by wear and tear of articular cartilage (cartilage is a smooth shiny material that covers joints allowing them to glide easily as you move). It is caused due to progressive wearing away of cartilage. Osteoarthritis of shoulder mainly affects two joints, the acromioclavicular joint and the glenohumeral joint. Shoulder osteoarthritis mostly affects people above 50 years of age.
Treatment of shoulder osteoarthritis differs from patients to patients. Not all treatment options are appropriate for every patient with shoulder osteoarthritis. One must consult a physician or physical therapist before undergoing any treatment. Treatment options may include activity modification, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory drugs, and surgery.
- Modification of daily activities:
Limiting certain activities and learning new shoulder exercises. Shoulder exercises are beneficial for people who have weak shoulders.
- Physical therapy:
Physical therapy includes stretching and strengthening of the muscles around the shoulder. Stretching is vital in maintaining good range of motion with joints and flexibility of muscles while strengthening exercise helps to improve the functions of muscle. Aerobic exercises have proved to be very beneficial for people with shoulder osteoarthritis.
- Anti-Inflammatory medications and cortisone injections:
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain medications (NSAIDS) are prescriptions and non prescription drugs that help treat pain and inflammation or swelling in shoulder. Consult your physician before taking any anti-inflammatory medications. When these treatments are ineffective, corticosteroid injections may be indicated for advanced cases of shoulder osteoarthritis.
- Nutritional supplements:
Nutritional supplements, particularly glucosamine and chondroitin, are widely used for osteoarthritis treatment. Glucosamine and chondroitron are two molecules that make up the type of cartilage found in joints. It is believed that glucosamine and chondroitin may increase the rate of formation of new cartilage. However, they are not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for this use.
- Shoulder surgery:
Severe cases of shoulder osteoarthritis may require surgery, different type of surgery includes arthroplasty (replacement of the joint surface with metal or plastic), arthrodesis (fusion of the bony ends of the joints), ahondroplasty (this type of surgery repairs the cartilages), and joint replacement (in this type of surgery the damaged joint is replaced by artificial joint) this surgery is performed in most severe cases.
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