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Best Treatment for Shoulder Arthritis

In research conducted by the National Health Interview Survey in 2011, it was gathered that a little more than 50 million people in the US were reportedly diagnosed with several kinds of arthritis problems. From osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, to posttraumatic arthritis, we have several types of arthritis of the shoulder. But before delving into these, we need to look at the basic definition of shoulder arthritis.

What is Shoulder Arthritis?

By definition, shoulder arthritis is the damage caused to the cartilage in a shoulder joint. Shoulder arthritis is often called a bigger ball-and-socket joint, the glenohumeral joint since it connects the glenoid and humerus bones.

Meanwhile, as the cartilage in the shoulder begins to break down on the surface, it would soon become a very deep layer which becomes shoulder arthritis. Similarly, it is very important to know the crucial bones in the human shoulder, which include:

  1. The acromion. This is a bony projection off the scapula.
  2. The clavicle. Which harbors the collarbone, which meets the acromion in the acromioclavicular joint.
  3. The coracoid process. Which looks like a bony projection straight from the scapula.

Meanwhile, the shoulder possesses several other amusing structures such as:

  • The rotator cuff contains muscles and tendons surrounding the shoulder while giving it the support required to allow a wide range of movement.
  • The bursa:  This is a small sac of fluid that cushions down and equally guards the rotator cuff’s tendons.
  • A cuff called the labrum forms something like a ball-like head for the humerus to gently fix into.

Causes of Shoulder Arthritis

As previously established, shoulder arthritis is mostly caused when damages are done to the acromioclavicular and glenohumeral joints of the shoulder. The acromioclavicular joint has a clavicle that meets the shoulder blade, while the latter is where the humerus head meets the scapula. As soon as the joint cartilage holding them together degenerates, the bones get rubbed against themselves, causing pain and inflammation.

Meanwhile, it is important to state that shoulder arthritis causes more pain at the back and top of the shoulder. It also causes weakness of the shoulder and weakness of the body.

Listed below are the most common causes of shoulder arthritis:

  • Overweight:  when you are overweight, you have a huge risk of getting afflicted with arthritis on your knees, hip, elbow, and, most importantly, shoulder.  This is because excess weight tends to reduce your shoulder movement range which may lead to the degeneration of your joint.
  • Injury from previous trauma:  if you have once had a history of arthritis due to an injury gotten from a previous experience, you may develop another condition due to the trauma. Athletes are more prone to this because injuries such as fractures, sprains, or strains are prevalent in sports.
  • Occupation:  if you are a worker whose daily task requires the use of your hands, you also have the risk of getting shoulder arthritis. Your daily activities gradually weaken the soft structure in your shoulder, thereby increasing the rate of arthritis development.
  • Autoimmune disorder:  Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder, is another cause of shoulder arthritis. Here, your immune system attacks the cartilage lining your shoulder joint.

Shoulder Arthritis Symptoms

As it is with most kinds of arthritis, one basic symptom that would be noticed is pain. Anyone afflicted with shoulder arthritis will experience pains while moving the shoulder. Other notable symptoms may include:

  • Joint stiffness:  when you encounter stiffness in your shoulder, you have a clear sign of having arthritis. This may be a result of a loss of range of motion. Once the motion range reduces, you will realize that you now have little things to do with your arm. You may be hindered from carrying loads due to the pains that will be unraveled. 
  • Clicking or cracking sound:  arthritis makes the surface of the shoulder cartilage irregular. Although it is possible not to feel any pain, there may be clicking or cracking sounds. You may feel the shoulders glide in an up-and-down or sideways position. 
  • Limited range of motion:  you will realize that you have a very limited motion range when you have shoulder arthritis. It may become increasingly difficult for you to lift your arm to either pick something up the shelf or try to comb your hair. As this situation becomes severe, you may be in excruciating pains in the day and might even find it difficult to sleep at night.

Cost of Shoulder Arthritis Treatment

The price range for shoulder arthritis treatment varies across the world. However, the average cost of consulting a doctor for the medical condition range from $400 to $700 (on every consultation). The costs of medical treatment and surgery are inclusive. Generally, the overall cost for a full shoulder may range between $7,000 and $21,000, depending on how severe.

Shoulder Arthritis Treatment

The treatment of shoulder arthritis usually varies depending on the type it is. Similarly, the severity of the pain and your expectations are also important things to consider.

However, since the primary motive behind any treatment you decide to go after is to get a proper cure from a groin pull and promptly return to your normal activities, you should engage the best that your therapist prescribes for you.

Physical Therapy

If you have shoulder arthritis, which causes pain in the shoulder joints, you should visit a physical therapist. Physical therapy is a kind of sports medicine that will assist you in getting back to fitness from the sores on your shoulder. 

Early physical therapy treatment will help prevent further cartilage damages and aid your healing process. Also, they will help you prevent such injury in the future.

The physical therapy that may be adopted include:

Manual therapy

Your therapist would assist you in ensuring your muscles and cartilages are gently manipulated to move. The muscles in your shoulder are equally worked on to increase flexibility and strength. Your therapist is likely to drive the affected parts to facilitate quick healing. Doing this will ensure that essential areas are touched which cannot be adequately treated by yourself.

Motion-range exercises

While your shoulder muscles can become rather stiff as you pull, it’s equally imperative that you not stretch them in the recovery phase. It is only on the instruction of your therapist that you can then consider it safe to start specific mild physical exercises.

Practical training

As you begin to get back your shoulder strength, your therapist may require you to engage in a suitable training program. They would monitor your progress and ensure you no longer put excess stress on the injured groin muscles. When you gradually succeed in this program, you will then be introduced back to other tasking exercises.

Other physical therapies that can equally be adapted for shoulder arthritis include:


When you take a lot of rest by desisting from walking or working out, you will enhance the healing of your shoulder.  

Apply ice

It is also good to apply ice packs to the affected area of the groin. If you do this at least 3 to 4 times daily for every 20 or 30 minutes, you will reduce pain and inflammation.

Apply heat

A couple of people believes that the application of heat to the shoulder can heal shoulder arthritis. Truly, heat is a very good method for the condition. Its application is to warm up the joints before stretching. 

Other essential treatment options for shoulder arthritis include:

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Certain medications such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen, and other NSAIDs might assist in the relief of your pain and ultimately reduce inflammation of the affected areas. However, you should follow prescriptions that an appropriate health professional has hitherto recommended to avoid abuse.

Extracorporeal shock-wave therapy (ESWT)

There is a general acceptability theory that shock waves might be effective in healing shoulder arthritis as it improves blood flow and breaks fibrotic scar tissues. The ESWT is carried out by a professional medical practitioner who applies a probe on your skin across the affected part. This probe brings shocking waves as a result of electric charges flowing through it. In the first few days of treatment, it usually comes with a lot of pain. But it is a very effective method that proves valuable as time goes on.


In situations of severe shoulder arthritis, especially if you have tried many home remedy solutions as treatment plans for your shoulder, and there is still no tangible progress made. In that case, your therapist may recommend surgery for you.

However, if a surgical procedure is to be carried out, the following has to be taking into consideration:


In the course of a physical examination, your therapist would check for inflammation, swelling, or points of tenderness. The therapist can also check the mobility of your shoulder and your range of motion. This will help determine the painful areas where a muscle or joint cartilage is damaged.

Imaging Tests

In cases of severe shoulder arthritis, the muscle can tear. It could completely get detached from the shoulder bones. Usually, X-rays check for broken or dislocated bones, while MRI and ultrasound scans identify the tears in muscles and cartilages.


When you have shoulder arthritis, there are devices that you can make use of to hasten your recovery. You can place different kinds of shoulder braces on your shoulder and neck where it is comfortable and effective in relieving the pain. Usually, your therapist would advise that you wear it to strengthen and improve your shoulder.

The following are a few of the braces that you can make use of to treat shoulder arthritis:

  1. Shoulder Stability Brace with Pressure Pad
  2. Shoulder Braces for Arthritis
  3. MED-X Shoulder Brace
  4. Neo G Medical Grade VCS Shoulder Support
  5. O2 Cold Therapy Shoulder Brace with Ice Pack

Exercises for Shoulder Arthritis

If arthritis affects your shoulder, you have to come to terms that performing certain exercises regularly may help you get relief from the afflictions of pain and swelling due to arthritis. The most beneficial exercises to engage in for this condition include:

  1. Range of motion and flexibility exercises:  which include stretching and strengthening exercises.
  2. Aerobic activities:  this may include swimming, walking, or cycling.

Similarly, listed below are a few exercises that you can engage in to help reduce and manage pains on your shoulder:

  • Outward shoulder rotation stretch
  1. Lay flat on your back
  2. With your arms by the sides, make your elbows bend sideways until it protrudes above your chest.
  3. Gently move the pole to the left till you get a stretch on the left shoulder.
  4. Return to the initial position
  5. Repeat this exercise now on the right side of the body
  6. Carry out about 3 in 10 sets of repetitions daily.
  • Pendulum exercise
  1. Using the strong hand, tilt a little forward, resting a hand atop a chair for support.
  2. Make the other hand drop-down, hanging in the air.
  3. With the motion developed from the legs and hips, carefully swing your hand in a back-and-forth circular manner.
  4. Repeat this exercise up to 30 times daily in each direction.
  • Shoulder elevation stretch
  1. Lay flat on your back
  2. Hold a walking stick with both hands, maintain a shoulder-width distance
  3. Gently place the stick on the thighs
  4. Maintain a straight position with your arms, raise the stick above the chest in a manner that it almost touches the floor above the head
  5. Gently lower the stick back to the thighs.
  6. Carry out up to 3 sets of 10 repetitions of this exercise daily.

Natural Remedies for Shoulder Arthritis

There are several conventional treatment methods to cure shoulder arthritis in humans, as listed above; other natural remedies have equally proven to work better and are very effective. They include:


When you take a lot of rest by desisting from walking or working out, you will enhance the healing of your shoulder.  

Apply ice

It is also good to apply ice packs to the affected area of the groin. If you do this at least 3 to 4 times daily for every 20 or 30 minutes, you will reduce pain and inflammation.

Apply heat

A couple of people believes that the application of heat to the shoulder can heal shoulder arthritis. Truly, heat is a very good method for the condition. Its application is to warm up the joints before stretching. 

Shoulder Arthritis Prevention

You can subscribe to a couple of preventive measures to protect yourself from shoulder arthritis. These includes:

  1. Ensure to warm up before engaging in any physical exercise
  2. Avoid lifting too many weights
  3. Always engage in light exercises to build up shoulder muscles
  4. Engage in aerobic activities such as swimming to maintain a good physical and mental health
  5. Rest your shoulders off work.


This article establishes that shoulder arthritis is the damage caused to the cartilage in a shoulder joint. Often, shoulder arthritis is called a bigger ball-and-socket joint called the glenohumeral joint since it connects the glenoid and humerus bones. 

Shoulder arthritis is usually caused by overweight, restlessness from trauma from previous history, occupation, and autoimmune disorder. There are a lot of symptoms that occur to inform the presence of a shoulder arthritis condition. These include stiffness, pains in the surrounding joint, and a reduced range of motion. 

However, you can get quite several treatment methods to solve this shoulder problem. You can either engage in a physical treatment method or use a device such as braces. However, in severe cases, surgical operations are usually advised, and that is to be carried out by a professional surgeon with relevant experience in the field.

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