Compared to hip and knee arthritis, shoulder arthritis is much less common because our shoulders do not bear as much weight. Regardless, it can be a painful condition, hindering the mobility and function of the shoulder. While there’s no cure for arthritis, many surgical and non-surgical options can help manage or eliminate the symptoms.
Let’s talk about what you should expect when treating your shoulder arthritis and where you can go in Carmel, IN, for comprehensive orthopedic care.
What Are the Signs of Shoulder Arthritis?
The symptoms of shoulder arthritis vary with each person, but the most common signs are:
- Gradually worsening shoulder pain
- Difficulty lifting heavy objects
- Stiffness and decreased range of motion
- Grinding, clicking, popping, or cracking (crepitus) in the shoulder
- Difficulty sleeping
How Is Shoulder Arthritis Treated?
Non-surgical methods are usually the first option in treating shoulder arthritis. Such treatments aim to reduce pain and maintain shoulder mobility. These include:
Modifying your daily routine can significantly improve your symptoms. Cut back on activities (e.g., sports, lifting heavy objects) that tend to aggravate your pain. You might need to change how you move your arms to do certain tasks or adjust the intensity of your activities.
Ice and Heat
Apply ice or a warm compress to reduce inflammation and reduce pain. If you’re using ice, wrap it in a towel and don’t apply it for more than 20 minutes at a time. In contrast, moist heat can help relieve shoulder stiffness in the morning.
Stretching and strengthening exercises can help improve or retain your range of motion. They also preserve the overall functionality of your shoulders. Many patients find yoga and tai chi helpful in managing symptoms.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help manage and reduce inflammation and pain. You could also opt for over-the-counter (OTC) medications. However, take note that they only provide short-term pain relief and might cause unpleasant symptoms.
A corticosteroid injection can dramatically reduce the pain and inflammation caused by shoulder arthritis. Your healthcare provider will inject it into your shoulder joint. Its effects will last a few months, so you may need several injections in a year.
When Will I Need Surgery?
Surgical intervention might be the best option if non-surgical treatments are ineffective and your pain causes significant disability and impaired quality of life. Surgeries for shoulder arthritis include:
- Shoulder Arthroscopy
In mild shoulder arthritis cases, this minimally invasive surgery can be done to remove loose pieces of damaged cartilage and clean out the inside of your shoulder joint.
- Shoulder Replacement
In this procedure, the damaged bones in your shoulder joint are replaced with artificial components made up of plastic and metal.
- Reverse Total Shoulder Arthroplasty
Here, your surgeon will switch the positions of the ball and socket. A metal ball is attached to your shoulder blade, and a socket is attached to your humerus.
- Arthroscopic Shoulder Debridement
This surgery involves removing loose fragments of damaged cartilage in your shoulder joint. Pain relief usually lasts up to 24 months.
- Resection Arthroplasty
It is often performed for arthritis in the AC joint. It removes a small amount of bone from the end of your collarbone and fills it with scar tissue.
Half of the shoulder joint (humeral head) is replaced with a prosthesis while the socket is left intact in this partial joint replacement.
What Will My Recovery Look Like?
After surgery, you’ll be using a shoulder sling for around six weeks. You can use your arm to perform daily activities, such as eating and writing but will need to refrain from lifting heavy objects or reaching for high shelves. Other things to expect during recovery include:
- Physical Therapy
Physical therapy usually starts six weeks after surgery. You’ll be taught some exercises to prevent your shoulder from getting stiff and facilitate a return to normal activities.
- Pain Medications
There’ll be some pain after surgery, but you’ll be able to manage it with the prescribed pain medications.
- Incision Care
Don’t let the dressing or bandage around your incision get wet. Clean the incision as instructed.
Make sure to follow up with your doctor so they can monitor your progress.
Shoulder Arthritis Treatment in Carmel, IN
Shoulder arthritis can be debilitating and affect the quality of your life. Though there’s no cure for arthritis, there are many ways to ease your pain. Reaching out to your healthcare provider is the first step toward diagnosing the cause of your pain and getting the appropriate treatment.
If you’re suffering from shoulder pain or arthritis and looking for a trusted orthopedic practice in Carmel, Indiana, visit us at Total Shoulder. Dr. Stephen Jacobsen delivers successful outcomes in various orthopedic surgeries — including shoulder replacement — to help patients return to the activities they love.
If you have any questions or would like to consult with Dr. Jacobsen, book your appointment today. Contact our friendly staff at (317) 450-6139 or use our online appointment request form to arrange your visit.