Medication and Other Conservative Methods Can Be Effective in Treating Arthritis of the Shoulder
More than 50 million Americans are diagnosed with some sort of arthritis, according to the National Health Interview Survey. All types of arthritis involve chronic inflammation of a joint. The pain and disability associated with living with arthritis often has a serious impact on quality of life.
Arthritis in the shoulder and neck is a common source of shoulder pain in the context of aging. While no cure for arthritis exists, treatment can alleviate symptoms and improve the condition’s long-term trajectory. You can access quality shoulder arthritis treatment on the Lower East Side at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute. Our Shoulder & Elbow team provides specialized care for those experiencing shoulder pain in New York. Our program is not only one of the best programs for shoulder surgery in the region, but also considered to be one of the top in the country.
Symptoms of Arthritis
Are you wondering whether you might have shoulder arthritis? The only way to determine the cause of your pain is to see a qualified medical professional for testing and diagnosis. However, the following symptoms may indicate arthritis of the shoulder:
Shoulder pain, which is exacerbated by activity
An aching sensation deep in the joint, which may intensify with weather changes
Generalized pain throughout the shoulder in a person with rheumatoid arthritis, where both the glenohumeral and AC joints are affected
Limited range of motion that makes it difficult to raise the arm
Clicking, grinding, or snapping sound that may be heard when the shoulder is moved
Night pain in the shoulder as the condition progresses
What Is the Best Treatment for Arthritis in the Shoulder?
Whether it is osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or another type of arthritis, there are many things you can do at home to ease pain and reduce inflammation:
Rest or change activities to avoid provoking pain. Inflammation leads to more inflammation, which is why the best strategy is to prevent it in the first place.
Specific physical therapy exercises can help in improving range of motion.
Moist heat can be applied to the sensitive area for relief and increased blood flow. Heat should be alternated with ice to reduce inflammation.
Sometimes dietary supplements such as glucosamine are effective in relieving pain, but your doctor should be consulted first, as they can interact negatively with medications in some cases.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), may be useful in reducing inflammation. However, you should consult with your doctor about the best NSAID strategy for you, because taking them too frequently can lead to other health problems.
Arthritis treatment for the shoulder may also involve prescription medications, which are used as the first line of defense in a conservative treatment model. While Rothman Orthopaedic Institute performs as many as 3,000 successful shoulder surgeries annually, we always utilize conservative methods first for maximum benefit.
Prescription medications slow bone loss, ease pain/inflammation, and modify the course of arthritic disease. The medications used to treat arthritis largely depend on the type of condition you have. For example, corticosteroids may be used to control inflammation in arthritic conditions. If your disease is systemic, the doctor may prescribe oral corticosteroids. If it’s limited to your shoulder or a few joints, a corticosteroid injection to the joint can provide relief to the inflamed area.
Analgesics are another commonly-prescribed drug type for arthritic conditions. While NSAIDs target both pain and inflammation, an analgesic is designed to relieve pain. If you are contraindicated for taking NSAIDS because of stomach problems or allergies, for example, analgesics present an alternative option. When they are prescribed, they can be a safer option for people who experience pain without inflammation. An analgesic rub or balm may also be helpful in treating the condition when you can’t take medications orally.
Biologic response modifiers are used to treat autoimmune arthritis such as RA. These medications block part of the inflammatory process without suppressing the entire system. There are currently eight types available that have been approved by the FDA.
Gout is a complex form of arthritis in which uric acid crystals build up in the joints. People who suffer from gout experience sudden, severe attacks of pain. Though the shoulder is less involved than the foot, ankle or knee, it can also be affected by gout. There are different types of gout medications that alter uric acid levels in the blood. Some are designed to prevent future inflammatory attacks, while others relieve pain from an acute attack. Many people with gout are prescribed both types of medication.
Shoulder Arthritis Treatment on the Lower East Side
Rothman Orthopaedic Institute is experienced in treating all types of arthritic conditions. A Rothman shoulder specialist can put together a multi-pronged approach to address the particular characteristics of your arthritis. Conservative treatments, such as those discussed in this article, are always pursued first before surgery is considered. Don’t wait to seek help—shoulder arthritis can and will progress if left untreated. To schedule your appointment with a Rothman Orthopaedic Institute doctor, please call 1-800-321-9999.
- This is a center where patients can go to have their disabled joint biological resurfaced, realigned, and stabilized without having the joint replaced by artificial materials such as metal and plastic. It is well known that the outcomes of patients under the age of 50 undergoing artificial joint replacement are not as good as we would like. Therefore we feel the future of Orthopaedics is to try to restore a joint back to its original anatomy by realignment, ligament reconstruction, and cartilage restoration.Read More