Shoulder Pain

Learning About Arthritis Related Shoulder Pain

Shoulder arthritis is a condition that affects the ball and joint of the shoulder that connect the arm bone to the shoulder blade socket causing damage to the cartilage.  The thin layer of cartilage between bones is gradually broken down when there is arthritis present.  Having arthritis in the shoulder area is very common, especially among athletes such as baseball pitchers who use their shoulders more than most people do. Every time this cartilage is used there is less left and over time it is stripped away.

There is an immense amount of pain when arthritis enters the shoulder area because once the cartilage is worn away the bones grind against one another.  The treatments used commonly are aimed specifically at pain management; the only way to replace cartilage currently is through surgery.  Many cannot afford surgery of this type due to its “non-essential” classification many HMOs will not pay for it.  In some cases cryo therapy is used as a compress not only to dull the pain but also slow down the cartilage deterioration.  However there are different types of arthritis that can cause shoulder pain.  Rheumatoid arthritis for instance is a disease of the immune system that causes the body’s immune system to destroy the cartilage.

There is no known cure for rheumatoid arthritis, however there are treatments such as surgery and some drugs that can suppress the immune system.  These drugs leave the body open to other forms of disease.  Furthermore it is also possible to lose the cartilage in your shoulder through accidents (car accidents are common), this is also considered arthritis.  While it may seem like a bleak condition there are methods of pain management that make living with this disease bearable.

In extreme cases of pain your physician may opt to injecting medicine directly into the shoulder to aid in pain management.  It is also possible to have surgery in which a prosthetic ganoid arthroplasty is performed to artificially replace the cartilage.  The most popular form of treatment with shoulder pain however is the utilization of ice to cause numbness and cooling of the skin and reduce swelling.  While some forms of shoulder arthritis are not preventable it is important to remember that it is possible to cause it yourself if you are careful.  Do not overburden or overtax your shoulder or you could find yourself without cartilage.

Shoulder arthritis is very often an athlete’s disease and it shows in those who use their bodies with reckless abandon in their youth.  Taking the time to let your body rest and heal in between strenuous activities is key in avoiding the pitfalls of serious (and lasting) injury later on in life.  Without even the ability to sleep on an affected shoulder someone who has shoulder arthritis faces a lot of complications in life.  As with most other diseases catching the situation early will allow your Doctor to preserve as much of your cartilage as is possible since arthritis is a degenerative disease.

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