Are you experiencing discomfort or stiffness in your shoulder?

Anyone who has suffered prolonged Shoulder Pain knows how debilitating and uncomfortable it can be. Osteoarthritis of the Shoulder can be incredibly consuming. It may be affecting your ability to sleep, dress, take part in sports or hobbies, and even drive or work.

To make matters worse, if you are suffering this pain, there’s a good chance it is a long-term problem. Indeed, up to half of all Shoulder Pain sufferers still experience problems after 18 months. This long-term pain, and sadly even sometimes the treatments used to try to resolve it, too often result in unwelcome side effects and tired, frustrated patients.

If you suspect you may be suffering from Osteoarthritis of the Shoulder, it is absolutely crucial that you receive an exacting diagnosis from an expert, followed by the right treatment.

Shoulder Pain

Why is my shoulder hurting?
A healthy shoulder moves easily, because the bones in the joint are well protected by cartilage and lubricating joint fluid. But if you are suffering from Osteoarthritis of the Shoulder:

  • The protective tissue covering the joint cartilage has been deteriorating
  • Synovial fluid that lubricates and cushions your joints has been breaking down, affecting your shoulder’s ability to absorb shocks caused by movement impact (for instance when you run or walk).
  • Bones may be beginning to rub against each other, leading to pain, stiffness, and a reduction in your range of movement.

We depend on our shoulders for so much of the movement necessary to conduct our daily lives with ease; picking things up, dressing and driving for example. Perhaps one of the most devastating aspects of Shoulder OA is how it can affect sufferers’ ability to sleep; struggling to get comfortable, perhaps waking in the night.

Since Shoulder OA has no known cure, it is absolutely imperative that you seek an exacting diagnosis and expert treatment as soon as possible – to manage your condition, control your symptoms, and make life as enjoyable as possible again.

What are the signs and symptoms of Shoulder Osteoarthritis?
The onset of OA can occur in either one or both of your shoulders. Osteoarthritis usually develops gradually and then worsens over time; so you will probably notice an increase in your level of symptoms as time goes on. Indicators will vary in level of severity and can include:

  • Pain, or a grating feeling when you move your shoulder – perhaps even discomfort while you are resting
  • Stiffness when you start to move after a period of rest
  • Swelling around your shoulder joints
  • Decreased shoulder functioning and range of movement

Stages of Shoulder Osteoarthritis
Doctors refer to OA of the Shoulder in different ways. Some use a grading scale from 1 (mild) to 4 (severe). Other experts classify Osteoarthritis as mild, moderate or severe.

If you are experiencing mild Shoulder OA the surface of your joint cartilage will have begun to deteriorate. You are likely to be noticing temporary stiffness in the morning and occasional pain due to exercise.

If you have Moderate OA your joint cartilage will be disintegrating further. Your synovial joint fluid may be losing its ability to lubricate and cushion your shoulder. Movement could be becoming painful.

If you are suffering from Severe OA, your cartilage may be completely worn down, allowing bones to rub against each other. Your pain is likely to have become more severe and continuous at this stage. Conducting everyday tasks will become more and more troublesome.

What are the causes of Osteoarthritis of the Shoulder?
OA has no one single cause. But there are several factors that can increase the risk of developing it. For instance:

  • Age: The older you are, the more likely you are to suffer Osteoarthritis
  • Weight: Excess body weight puts strain on your joints
  • Gender: Women suffer OA more often than men
  • Heredity: Your genes affect the resilience and the shape of your joints. In fact many doctors believe Osteoarthritis runs in families
  • Injury: If you have injured your shoulder in the past, or you participate in an activity or job that involves a lot of lifting, you are more likely to develop Shoulder Osteoarthritis

Diagnosis and Treatment for Shoulder Pain
Treatment plans for Osteoarthritis may vary and will always include some form of physical exercise and perhaps adjustments to diet, even alongside pharmacological interventions.

Sadly, many people suffering Osteoarthritis are unaware they have the condition, or perhaps are misdiagnosed. When this happens, the condition progresses unchecked. They continue to suffer Shoulder Pain unnecessarily, or feel they have no option but to take oral painkillers for extended periods of time; which can cause serious gastrointestinal problems.

Similarly, corticosteroid injections (such as Cortisone treatment), while helpful for reducing inflammation and joint pain, are associated with serious side effects in repeat use, such as cartilage damage.

However, medical developments in recent years, backed by extensive research and peer-reviewed documentation, have given way to a new effective treatment for Shoulder Osteoarthritis known as Viscosupplementation. The treatment consists of an injection of fluid that mimics healthy, protecting joint fluid, and is often preceded by the extraction of diseased or damaged fluid from the joints.

If you are suffering with Shoulder OA, you no longer have to let the pain of this condition keep your best life out of reach. To find out if Viscosupplementation may be suitable for you, call 0207 118 1771 today to book a consultation with a pain specialist.

Or to read more about Viscosupplements, have a look at our Viscosupplement Injections information page.