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Treatments for Shoulder arthritis

Treatment List for Shoulder arthritis

The list of treatments mentioned in various sources for Shoulder arthritis includes the following list. Always seek professional medical advice about any treatment or change in treatment plans.

  • Medications for the particular type of arthritis
  • Shoulder joint replacement (arthroplasty)
  • Varies depending on the cause
  • Treatment for arthritis depends on the specific type of arthritis, the severity of the symptoms, and the patients' age, general health and other medical conditions. Treatment is aimed at symptom control and modification of disease progression. Treatments include
    • Explanation - Education plays an important role in arthritis management
    • Rest - during bouts of active inflammation
    • Exercise - graduated exercise program recommended to maintain good joint function, especially in osteoarthritis
    • Heat - may provide relief in non-inflammatory arthritis such as osteoarthritis
    • Physiotherapy - can assist with regaining and maintaining joint function
    • Occupational therapy - can assist with management at home and mobility aids
    • Simple analgesics (used regularly) - can be effective in control of pain either alone or in combination with other agents. Regular paracetamol is an effective first line agent
    • NSAIDs, aspirin and COX-2's - used for more persistent pain or where there is evidence of an inflammatory component. Need to be wary of gastrointestinal and cardiovascular side effects
    • Stronger analgesics - tramadol, buprenorphine, opioid analgesics, used when pain is not adequately controlled with other measures, but not first line
    • Intra-articular steroids - not routinely recommended but can be effective for acute flare ups of arthritis
    • Intra-articular hylans - for osteoarthritis of the knee
    • Glucosamine - found in some studies to be as effective as NSAIDs in osteoarthritis
    • Surgery - arthroscopy and joint replacement have a role when other measures do not provide adequate symptom control, especially in osteoarthritis
    • Oral steroids - used in treatment of inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis, ideally for short periods of time only
    • Disease Modifying Antirheumatic Agents (DMARDS) - used in treatment of inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis and arthritis associated with connective tissue disorders
      • Immunosuppressants - Azathioprine, Cyclosporin, Leflunomide, Methotrexate
      • Other agents - Gold Salts, Hydroxychloroquine, Penicillamine, Sulfasalazine
    • Cytokine blockers - Adalimumab, Anakinra, Entanercept, Infliximab for inflammatory arthropathies
    • Colchicine and allopurinol for gout
    • Antibiotics - for septic arthritis

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Discussion of treatments for Shoulder arthritis:

Most often osteoarthritis of the shoulder is treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or cox-2 inhibitors. (Rheumatoid arthritis of the shoulder may require physical therapy and additional medicine, such as corticosteroids.) When non-operative treatment of arthritis of the shoulder fails to relieve pain or improve function, or when there is severe wear and tear of the joint causing parts to loosen and move out of place, shoulder joint replacement (arthroplasty) may provide better results. In this operation, a surgeon replaces the shoulder joint with an artificial ball for the top of the humerus and a cap (glenoid) for the scapula. Passive shoulder exercises (where someone else moves the arm to rotate the shoulder joint) are started soon after surgery. Patients begin exercising on their own about 3 to 6 weeks after surgery. Eventually, stretching and strengthening exercises become a major part of the rehabilitation program. The success of the operation often depends on the condition of rotator cuff muscles prior to surgery and the degree to which the patient follows the exercise program. (Source: excerpt from Questions and Answers about Shoulder Problems: NIAMS)

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