Stiffness and pain related to shoulder arthritis can affect your ability to complete even the simplest tasks. For instance, you may find it difficult to comb your hair, open a door, or even hold a cup when your shoulders don’t move as expected due to pain and joint damage related to arthritis.
Dr. Sumit Dewanjee at FXRX Orthopaedics & Bracing in Tempe, Arizona, is an expert in diagnosing and treating painful shoulder conditions, including arthritis pain that affects your shoulder mobility and strength.
Check out this information from Dr. Dewanjee about overcoming the challenges of shoulder arthritis.
Understanding the shoulder joints
Your shoulders are ball-and-socket joints that, along with your hips, are the most mobile in your body. Pain-free shoulder mobility matters whether you’re throwing a game-winning touchdown or setting the table for dinner.
Unfortunately, because your shoulders are engaged in many routine activities, they’re highly vulnerable to trauma and overuse injuries such as rotator cuff tears (sprains) or muscle strains.
The shoulders are also prone to arthritis, most commonly wear-and-tear osteoarthritis that degrades protective joint cartilage. Often related to aging joints, worn cartilage causes inflammation and stiffness. Left untreated, shoulder pain that may be subtle initially increases as the deterioration progresses.
Other types of arthritis affecting shoulder joints include rheumatoid arthritis, rotator cuff tear arthropathy, and post-traumatic arthritis following dislocation, fracture, or another shoulder injury.
How do you treat shoulder arthritis?
Fortunately, many conservative therapies can help stall the progression of shoulder arthritis while reducing its painful effects.
Based on your evaluation, which may include imaging studies to confirm the level of joint damage, Dr. Dewanjee may recommend one or more of the following:
- Physical therapy to restore shoulder strength and mobility
- Shoulder-friendly activity modification
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Regenerative medicine with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy or stem cells
- Steroid injections to reduce inflammation and pain
Ice packs alternating with heat, 15 minutes each, several times a day, can also help reduce arthritic shoulder pain and stiffness.
What if conservative treatments don’t help with shoulder pain?
Although recognized as one of Arizona’s top shoulder surgeons, Dr. Dewanjee prefers to treat shoulder arthritis nonoperatively whenever possible.
But he may recommend a surgical procedure when nonsurgical solutions don’t relieve your symptoms. For instance, minimally invasive arthroscopic shoulder debridement offers long-term pain relief, lasting about 12-24 months.
For moderate to severe shoulder arthritis, Dr. Dewanjee may offer shoulder joint replacement as a permanent fix for your pain and limited range of motion.
Schedule an appointment at FXRX with Dr. Dewanjee today for expert orthopedic care that's always patient-focused. Call our Tempe, Arizona, office or request an appointment online.