Arthritis in the Shoulder

Published on: April 22, 2019
Shoulder Arthritis

Shoulder pain can have many causes.  There are many parts to the shoulder that can get pulled or damaged over time.  However, when your pain has become chronic and it limits your abilities, it is time to see a doctor to check for arthritis.

What is Shoulder Arthritis?

Shoulder arthritis is the third most common form of arthritis behind the knee and hip. There are different types of arthritis that you could be experiencing in your shoulder. The most common are:

  • Osteoarthritis- where the cartilage has been worn down over time and can eventually be completely worn away.
  • Inflammatory Arthritis- where the shoulder joint is inflamed and wears away the cartilage in the shoulder.

A doctor can diagnose shoulder arthritis with an x-ray. Cartilage doesn’t appear on the x-ray, but it does show the space between bones. The cartilage is no longer acting as a shock absorber between the bones of the shoulder so the space between the bones is closer together. An MRI and CT scan can give further detail to the situation.


Symptoms for shoulder arthritis is obvious pain while using the shoulder, but also, surprisingly when the shoulder is not in use.  Pain while at rest or while sleeping can be very difficult for people to endure and greatly effects their quality of life.


As with any joint, some non-invasive treatments include:

  • Limiting mobility
  • Icing and heating the area
  • Physical therapy
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Cortisone shots

If pain persists, surgery may be necessary to treat the area.  An arthroscopy allows a surgeon to make a small incision to go into the shoulder to remove small pieces of cartilage and bone that may be exacerbating the problem. Otherwise, a shoulder replacement may be what is needed to bring the patient relief.

If you are suffering from chronic shoulder pain, schedule an appointment with your doctor to see if arthritis is the cause.

Posted on behalf of:
Advanced Healing Institute
22972 El Toro Road
Lake Forest, CA, 92630
(949) 239-3206


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