Shoulder Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis shoulder pains can stop you in your tracks.

Shoulder osteoarthritis is either residual of an injury or just due to age. The gradual wearing down of the cartilage leads to degeneration of the joint which is the reason for the pain and stiffness.

Shoulder Osteoarthritis: Jacksonville Fl Residents Have New Options That May Help Ease Pains

Your shoulder is the most mobile joint in your body, and it’s put under constant stress and motion throughout your day. Because of this constant use and stress, shoulder osteoarthritis (OA) is very common, especially as we age. In fact, it’s estimated that nearly one in every three people over the age of 60 have shoulder OA to some degree.

With staggering numbers like that, it makes sense that finding a safe and effective treatment for this condition is at the top of many medical researcher’s priority lists.

In this article, we’re going to take a quick look at what shoulder OA is and how it’s caused and then dive into the details of what treatment options are currently available for those who suffer from this painful and debilitating condition. There’s no cure yet, but researchers are getting closer thanks to new advancements in medical technology that we’ll discuss below.

What is Shoulder Osteoarthritis and What Causes it?

Shoulder OA, also called wear and tear arthritis is a degenerative joint disease. Basically, your cartilage and other tissues gradually break down over time. As the cartilage and tissues break down, it creates friction in your joints. And as friction increases, so does the pain and inflammation that you feel. In most cases, the pain will increase to the point where you’ll slowly lose mobility in your shoulder and become unable to perform your tasks normally.

If you’re wondering why or how you ended up with shoulder OA, you’re not alone. With so many people suffering from this condition each year, it’s normal to seek to understand how it happened.

Here’s the deal, there are two different kinds of shoulder OA; primary OA and secondary OA. Let’s take a look at each of these:

  • Primary OA is related to age, genes, and gender—there’s no specific cause. This type of OA is most commonly seen in people over the age of 50 and it affects women more often than men.
  • Secondary OA has a known cause, whether that be an injury, history of shoulder dislocations, infection, or a rotator cuff tear. This type of OA is most commonly seen in people who play sports or engage in activities that require repetitive motions or extreme stress on the shoulders.

Traditional Treatment Options for Shoulder OA

Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease for which there currently is no cure. However, there are many ways to ease the pain, preserve mobility, and keep your shoulder healthy. Depending on the cause of your shoulder OA and the severity of your condition, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatment options:

Shoulder Self-Care Options

If you’re experiencing a mild case of shoulder OA, your doctor may first recommend healthy lifestyle habits as the first line of defense. These can include hot and cold therapy, strength training exercises, shoulder braces, massage, and physical therapy.

Self-care can be effective at relieving the pain, discomfort, and immobility associated with mild cases of OA, however, these treatments may not be effective for moderate to severe cases.

Shoulder Pain Medications

There are several pain medications that can be prescribed by your doctor to ease your OA symptoms. These medications include; pain relievers like acetaminophen, anti-inflammatory medications like (NSAIDs), and corticosteroids or cortisone shots.

Pain relief medications can be successful at relieving the pain and discomfort you’re feeling in the short term, however, they don’t have the ability to correct the problem that’s causing the pain. These are not long-term solutions. In fact, pain medications are a dangerous avenue to go down due to their propensity to become addictive.

Shoulder Joint Surgery

Shoulder surgery may be recommended as a last resort option if all other treatments are not producing the kind of results you need in order to perform your daily tasks pain-free. This option includes procedures that will remove loose pieces of bone or cartilage or replace damaged joints with implants.

As with any surgical procedure, there are plenty of risks and no guarantee that it will be successful. Additionally, the rehabilitation period post-surgical can take anywhere from weeks to months. Most of us aren’t prepared to have our arm in a sling, completely unusable for long periods of time.

Regenerative Cell Therapy for Shoulder OA

Regenerative therapy for OA pain is a relatively new medical development that’s showing a ton of promise for those who are living with shoulder OA. Stem cells are proving to be a more effective alternative to traditional treatment methods like pain medications and cortisone injections.

With this stem cell technique, the cells are taken from the tissue of an umbilical cord in a completely safe and ethical way. The cells are concentrated and injected directly into your shoulder in an outpatient office procedure similar to a cortisone shot. The difference is those stem cell injections actually get to work rebuilding and repairing your damaged tissues, whereas cortisone shots simply block the pain you feel.

The human body and its capabilities are nothing short of amazing and researchers are uncovering the ways in which we can utilize our natural bodies to heal and strengthen them through regenerative medicine.