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Everything you need to know about spotting and treating shoulder arthritis

Arthritis is a common condition and, although it is normally associated with older people, it can happen at any age. In fact, it is estimated that 28% of Australians have arthritis. That there is no known cure for shoulder arthritis. However, there are several things to do to relieve the pain and improve the condition.

What Is Shoulder Arthritis?

The shoulder consists of three bones. The shoulder blade is the main piece and sits across the top of your back. It receives the upper arm bone into a rounded socket while the third bone, the collar bone, sits in a joint just above this. This effectively makes two joints in each shoulder. Muscles and tendons work together to hold everything in place.

Arthritis refers to when the joints have become worn. Although there are several causes, the end result is the same, the balance of the joint is altered and the soft cushioning between the bones eroded.

When you move your shoulder your bones grind against each other. This is painful and causes inflammation which reduces movement.

Spotting Shoulder Arthritis

If you suspect you have this issue then you should head to a clinic specializing in shoulder arthritis. They will be able to confirm the diagnosis, help you understand the implications, and discuss your options to maximize your quality of life.

Regular visits also mean they will be able to monitor the progress of the shoulder arthritis and advise if additional difficulties are faced.

Here are the most common signs that you have shoulder arthritis:

  • Pain: If you start to notice pain in your shoulder and don’t know why you are experiencing it then you may have shoulder arthritis. It’s best to get it checked out.
  • Movement Issues: As arthritis and the pain gets worse your shoulder joint will become more inflamed. It may start to feel tender to touch and you won’t be able to move your arm fully. In particular, you’ll find it difficult to rotate your arm all the way around.

Movement issues tend to get worse as arthritis progresses, that’s why you need treatment to control the condition.

Treating Shoulder Arthritis

There are several things that you can try to help alleviate the issue of shoulder arthritis.

  • Painkillers: These should be used to take the edge of the pain and help you keep the joint mobile. They can also help with inflammation which reduces the amount of pain and stiffness. However, you need to be careful with painkillers to ensure you don’t become addicted.
  • Change Activities: If there are certain activities that cause you shoulder pain then you should look at changing your routines. It is best to stay active but to choose activities that reduce the stress on the joint.
  • Therapy: You’ll find a physical therapist who can help you isolate the exercises that make your shoulder arthritis worse and the ones that help. Doing this daily can make a big difference.
  • Hot and Cold: Cold treatment reduces the blood flow to the area and reduces inflammation. Follow this with warm treatment, this increases the blood flow and supply of nutrients, helping your shoulder to recover as much as it can. Try to the ice for twenty minutes and then heat it for twenty minutes.
  • Surgery: In severe cases, the doctor will suggest surgery. This usually starts with microsurgery to clean the joint. If this doesn’t help and loss of mobility is severe you will likely be offered a shoulder joint replacement.

If you think you are developing shoulder arthritis then the faster you get help^, the better!