Non-operative Shoulder Arthritis Treatment

Treatment of shoulder arthritis should begin with the most basic steps, and progress to the more involved, possibly including surgery. Not all treatments are appropriate in every patient, and you should have a discussion with your doctor to determine which treatments are appropriate for your shoulder arthritis.

Activity Modification. Limiting certain activities may be necessary, and learning new exercise methods may be helpful. Shoulder exercises are excellent for patients who have a weak shoulder.

Physical Therapy. Stretching and strengthening of the muscles around the shoulder joint may help decrease the burden on the shoulder. Preventing atrophy of the muscles is an important part of maintaining functional use of the shoulder.

  • Anti-inflammatory Medications. Anti-inflammatory pain medications (NSAIDs) are prescription and nonprescription drugs that help treat pain and inflammation. Talk to your doctor before taking anti-inflammatory medication for shoulder arthritis.
  • Cortisone Injections. Cortisone injections may help decrease inflammation and reduce pain within a joint. While this will not cure shoulder arthritis, it may diminish the symptoms and help control pain.
  • Joint Supplements (Glucosamine). Glucosamine appears to be safe and may be effective for treatment of shoulder arthritis, but research into these supplements has been limited. Many patients find moderate relief with glucosamine for symptoms of shoulder arthritis.

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