What is the treatment for shoulder arthritis?
Non-surgical therapies alone are often all that is needed to treat mild to moderate shoulder arthritis. The pain and inflammation associated with this condition can be controlled with a combination of rest, alternating heat and ice application, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs). If these symptoms are still bothersome with oral medications, an injection of corticosteroids, viscosupplementation (gel), and/or platelet-rich plasma (PRP) can be administered directly into the shoulder joint. Once the pain and inflammation subside, Dr. Patel may recommend a physical rehabilitation program that aims to improve range of motion and strengthen the shoulder.
Patients with more severe shoulder arthritis symptoms, or when non-surgical therapies fail, may necessitate surgical intervention. An individualized treatment plan will be designed by Dr. Patel according to the patient’s age, medical history, severity and complexity of symptoms, and activity level. Below are some of the surgical treatment options available to treat shoulder arthritis:
- Shoulder Arthroscopy: This is a minimally invasive surgical technique that utilizes a small camera (arthroscope) to view the shoulder structures and specialized surgical instruments to excise and remove the damaged tissue fragments. Although this surgical approach can alleviate symptoms, it does not prevent further arthritic damage to the shoulder joint and is reserved only for specific cases.
- Shoulder Replacement: This surgical procedure, also known as shoulder arthroplasty, replaces the ball-and-socket portion with metal and plastic pieces. The metal ball and plastic socket work cohesively to return smooth and pain-free motion back to the shoulder joint. The new shoulder prosthesis may last between 10 to 20 years, so this total shoulder replacement is typically reserved for older patients.