How is Shoulder Arthritis Treated?
The goal in treating shoulder arthritis is to reduce or eliminate the underlying symptoms associated with the condition. This includes alleviating the pain, swelling, and overall stiffness of the shoulder joint.
Arthritis of the shoulder is very common. Many patients are able to live with the side effects for years before finally seeking medical treatment. Most patients find that resting the shoulder and avoiding activities that exacerbate inflammation helps. Applying ice to the joint and taking anti-inflammatory pain medications also help with pain. Corticosteroid injections also are helpful to relieve the symptoms and these may be administered by Dr. Padalecki. Physical therapy exercises, such as swimming, can be soothing and may help maintain joint motion while strengthening the shoulder and avoiding impact.
In patients where the symptoms associated with shoulder arthritis are severe and continue to worsen, there are a number of surgical procedures that exist to help. Treatment for shoulder arthritis is based upon the cause and severity of the arthritis, the intensity of the symptoms, and the functional level of the patient. The effect of this disease on daily life can often be the deciding factor on treatment strategy.
In its early stages, shoulder arthritis can be treated via arthroscopic surgery, which is the least invasive approach. With this operation, Dr. Padalecki trims out the inflamed synovial lining tissue and removes pieces of the degenerated cartilage. This treatment will not completely cure the arthritis, but can relieve many of the symptoms.
In severe cases, the recommended surgical treatment is shoulder replacement surgery (or joint replacement). This operation often restores motion lost through the degeneration by replacing the damaged ball with a synthetic surface. Arthroplasty is the term generally used for replacement surgery.
Replacement surgery is not recommended for young patients. There are other joint restoration and joint preservation techniques that have been proven effective for younger patients (under the age of 70). Typically, a joint replacement procedure is the final opportunity to treat the arthritis and the longevity of the procedure can last up to 15 years.
What Happens After Surgery?
A rehabilitation program will be prescribed at your first post-operative visit with Dr. Padalecki. Rehabilitation after shoulder arthritis surgery is as important as the surgical repair itself. Without proper rehab, the chance of full recovery is diminished. Depending on the exact surgical procedure that was performed, the patient will be required to do exercises and strengthening moves with a therapist.
For additional resources on shoulder arthritis, or to learn more about arthroscopic shoulder surgery to treat chronic shoulder pain, please contact the Austin, Texas office of shoulder specialist Dr. Jeff Padalecki.