Osteoarthritis of the Shoulder
The main joint in the shoulder is called the glenohumeral joint. It commonly is thoughtof as the 'ball and socket' joint of the shoulder, but is actually more of a ball and saucer,as the bony socket is more flat than cup shaped. There normally is a very smoothcovering of cartilage over the bones in the joint that allows normal, smooth and painlessmotion.
In the case of osteoarthritis, the smooth cartilage of the joint becomes damaged, rough,torn or thin.
When the shoulder is at rest there is less pain, but it usually will feel more stiff after aperiod of rest or inactivity. When moved again, it is more painful. In advanced shoulderosteoarthritis there may be grinding or creaking noises when the shoulder is moved. Theincreasing pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis is usually a gradual process.
Osteoarthritis is sometimes called 'wear and tear' arthritis. It may be caused by previousoveruse or abnormal use, or due to an injury in the past which damaged the cartilage.
Over months or years the damage to the cartilage worsens, and symptoms start.
Along with a history about shoulder symptoms, an thorough shoulder examination usingoften suggests osteoarthritis is the diagnosis. Usually X-rays are done as well.
The treatment of osteoarthritis depends upon the severity of the pain. Efforts to rebuildjoint cartilage are still in the early research stages. Initial treatment often consists ofphysical therapy and exercises to reduce the stiffness in the joint, and this may reducepain. For more severe pain, medications may be recommended. These may include overthe counter medications such as Tylenol (generic = acetaminophen) Aleve (generic =naproxen), Motrin (generic = ibuprofen) or aspirin. Various prescription medicationswhich belong to a group of medications called 'non-steroidal anti-inflammatorymedications (or 'NSAIDs'for short) are commonly recommended. Some of the morecommonly prescribed of these include medications such as Celebrex, Motrin, Naprosyn,Mobic, Voltaren, Relafen and Lodine. (a complete list is available at the referencebelow). More recently, a medication of a different class called Cymbalta has beenapproved to treat the pain from osteoarthritis.
More severe pain may be treated with injections of cortisone-like medications into thejoint. If the arthritis is severe, the shoulder joint may be replaced with surgery.
If you develop shoulder pain with exercise or exertion, please contact your physician asthis may be a sign of heart disease.
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PainSpot does not diagnose or treat pain, and does not provide medical advice. Please visit the



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