How to Treat Shoulder Arthritis
The main goal of any shoulder arthritis treatment is to alleviate pain, weakness, stiffness, and other troublesome symptoms. Treatment is dependent on arthritis severity, symptom intensity, and the patient’s functional level.
What are Non-Surgical Treatment Options for Shoulder Arthritis?
Since shoulder arthritis is so common, many patients live with the condition for years before contacting Dr. Provencher. Initial treatment includes resting the shoulder, avoiding activities that cause pain and discomfort, applying ice and taking anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs). Physical therapy is commonly recommended by Dr. Provencher to strengthen the joint and return normal function. It is strongly suggested that patients work with the in-house physical therapists at Howard Head Sports Medicine to optimize their rehabilitation.
How to Surgically Treat Shoulder Arthritis?
Dr. Provencher typically recommends an arthroscopic shoulder surgery to trim away the inflamed synovial lining and remove pieces of degenerated cartilage in early stages of shoulder arthritis. The treatment does not cure the condition, but is designed to relieve shoulder joint pain and other symptoms.
In severe cases where non-surgical measures and arthroscopic surgery fails, Dr. Provencher may recommend a total shoulder replacement. This surgical treatment restores joint function by replacing the damaged ball and socket with synthetic surfaces.
It is important to note total shoulder replacement is not ideal for every patient. Young, active individuals are generally not ideal candidates since the average prosthesis life span is approximately 15 years. Dr. Provencher will recommend a joint restoration or preservation technique for younger, active patients in many cases.
For additional resources on shoulder arthritis, or to learn more about shoulder joint pain, please contact Dr. Matthew Provencher, orthopedic shoulder specialist serving patients in the Vail, Aspen, Colorado Springs and Denver, Colorado area.