Treating Shoulder Arthritis

Georgia Hand, Shoulder, and Elbow

If you have arthritis of the shoulder, you know how agonizing even the slightest shoulder movement can be at times. If you are enduring severe shoulder arthritis symptoms, you may begin to wonder, “How is shoulder arthritis treated?”

Our experts at Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow can help provide not only the answer to that question but also high-quality care tailored to your needs. Schedule an appointment at our Atlanta or Marietta, Georgia locations today!  

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Shoulder Arthritis Treatment

Although arthritis is very common, you can find comfort in knowing that there are a variety of ways to treat it. Your treatment will depend on how severe your arthritis symptoms and pain are. The main focus of arthritis treatment is to relieve pain and maintain the mobility of your shoulder by means of a personalized treatment plan.

Types of Shoulder Arthritis

Below you will find the most common types and causes of shoulder joint arthritis:

How Can Arthritis in My Shoulder Be Diagnosed?

To accurately diagnose whether arthritis is the source of your pain, your doctor will perform a physical examination of your shoulder to check your range of motion and strength. Additionally, they will thoroughly review your medical history to identify whether any previous injuries or underlying conditions are contributing to your arthritis.

You will also be asked to explain your current symptoms. To get a diagnostic view, your doctor may also order imaging tests to determine the severity of your arthritis. These imaging tests can include:

  • An X-ray
  • A computed tomography scan (CT scan)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Non-Surgical Treatments for Shoulder Arthritis

At Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow, initial treatment begins by means of non-surgical techniques. These non-surgical techniques can include the following:

  • Activity & lifestyle modifications — If you notice that a certain activity is causing you to have shoulder pain, reducing the amount you participate in the activity or completely stopping participation in the activity can alleviate some of your pain.
  • Using ice packs — You can place ice packs on your shoulder throughout the day for 20 to 30 minutes at a time to provide pain relief.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) — These medications have helped many relieve shoulder pain and reduce inflammation. They can also be conveniently bought over the counter. Be sure to take only the recommended dosage on the label or as instructed by your doctor.
  • Physical therapy — Shoulder exercises may be used during physical therapy to help keep your shoulder mobile. However, if performing these exercises is painful, inform your therapist so that they can make the necessary adjustments.  
  • Cortisone injections —These injections are used to reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Hyaluronic acid injections — These synthetic substances mimic the hyaluronic acid that your body naturally produces to cushion your joints during movement.

Surgical Treatment for Shoulder Arthritis

Our doctors will only recommend surgery if your shoulder joint pain does not improve with conservative treatment. The recommended surgery will depend on the following factors:

  • The severity of your arthritis
  • The type of arthritis that you have
  • Your age 

If necessary, the following surgical treatments may be recommended to relieve your pain:

Arthroscopic Shoulder Debridement 

This procedure is also known as shoulder arthroscopy. During this procedure, your doctor will use small surgical tools to clean out the loose bodies found inside your shoulder joint. It is important to note that bone spurs will not be removed during this procedure.

Total Shoulder Replacement

Total shoulder replacement surgery is also known as shoulder replacement surgery. During this procedure, your surgeon will replace the humeral head and your shoulder socket with artificial components.

Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement

This procedure may be recommended if you have a rotator cuff tear coupled with arthritis. It is called a reverse total shoulder replacement because the metal head will attach to your shoulder blade, and your socket will be attached to your humerus (your upper arm bone). This procedure may be used if your rotator cuff tendons are not able to function properly.

Our specialized team at Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow is dedicated to providing you with high-quality, personalized arthritis treatment. We are conveniently located in Marietta and Atlanta, GA.

Our specialists are eager to provide the relief that you deserve. Schedule an appointment with us today!

Medically reviewed by

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Plastic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon