How to treat osteoarthritis of the shoulder joint?

The shoulder joint gives the body maximum range of motion. This joint has a complex structure, the joint capsule of the shoulder can be extended quite sharply, due to which the arm can also rise and produce rotational movements. This kind of flexibility relaxes the ligaments. The failure of the process of nutrition of the articular tissue provokes its destruction and serves as the basis for the development of osteoarthritis of the shoulder joint.

Basically, the disease affects people after the age of 45 and is a pathology of bone and cartilage tissue in the shoulder girdle. The disease has an increasing character, manifests itself with age and leads to dystrophic transformations. The disease most often affects the male half of the population. Degeneration of the articular cartilage and structural deformations of the integrity of the bone induce inflammatory processes in the synovial membrane. Destructive changes appear almost asymptomatic, up to a certain point. Pain begins when the cracks in the cartilage are largely filled with saline deposits.

Stages of shoulder osteoarthritis

There are three stages of progression of shoulder osteoarthritis:

The first stage is characterized by dull pain in the shoulder region, often such sensations intensify at night. The movements are not limited, but some of them, associated with the greatest amplitude, can cause pain. In this phase, the disease is recognized by X-ray examination. The image captures the "symptom of the ring" specifically for this stage - the articular depression is in the form of an elliptical ring.

The second stage is manifested by more pronounced symptoms. Pain is felt in the shoulder and shoulder blades - they are permanent. When the hands are moved, a crunch is heard. Muscle spasms and soreness limit the range of motion, the person has difficulty bending the arm back.

A specially designed test is used. The traumatologist asks the patient to place their hands behind their back in a lock. If the patient suffers from osteoarthritis of the shoulder, this movement is almost impossible for him due to limited mobility. At this level, an X-ray captures osteoarthritis, defined by narrowing of the articular passage, with the appearance of bone outgrowths and thickening of the articular outer bones.

In some cases, muscle atrophy is detected in the shoulder area.

The third stage is accompanied by obvious deformations and continuous pain. The patient can only move his hand back and forth. Raising and lowering the arm is absolutely impossible, the joint is deformed. On the body, especially in the zone of union of the shoulder and scapula, bone protrusions are highlighted. The position of the hand is forced, the patient tries to keep the hand in a minimally painful position.

The disease rarely develops to the last stage.

More often there are cases where the development of pathological changes stops in the earlier stages. The danger of transition to the last stage exists in patients who do not stop straining the affected joint: professional athletes, people who perform physical work.

Causes of the disease

Determine the main causes of pathology:

  • Maximum load on the shoulder.
  • Congenital or acquired joint anomalies. With such a pathology, the usual load on the joint can be perceived as the maximum. In this condition, wear of the cartilage occurs.
  • Metabolic disorder which causes the deposition of salts, malnutrition of cartilage tissue.
  • hereditary factor. Children of parents suffering from this disease are more susceptible to the development of such a pathology, they are at risk.
  • Injuries or systematic trauma over a period of time. Under such circumstances, post-traumatic osteoarthritis manifests itself.
  • Acute and chronic inflammatory diseases of the joints - arthritis.
  • Bad habits and poor nutrition.
  • Autoimmune or hormonal disorders.
  • Metabolic disorder.
  • Disorders associated with the endocrine system.
  • age factor.

Symptoms of the disease

In osteoarthritis of the shoulder, symptoms appear suddenly. Initially, a person feels uncomfortable when performing certain actions or after hypothermia.

The main symptoms include:

  • Pain in the shoulder that occurs with movement of the arm. The patient feels pain especially in the morning hours and during weather changes. The patient feels pain even when he feels his own shoulder. As the disease progresses, pain indicators begin to interfere even in a calm state. Characteristic is the spread of pain in the back.
  • Movement disorder. A patient with osteoarthritis will have difficulty performing basic tasks, such as lifting a hand, making rotating movements. Delayed treatment may lead to contracture.
  • Squeaky and crunching sounds in the joint. The pathological phenomenon is associated with the formation of osteophytes (salt deposition). Initially, the symptom is not very pronounced. But over time, these sounds intensify and become audible even to others.
  • Local temperature rise, joints begin to swell, redness.
  • hardening. When the mold is running, a bone growth occurs. Osteoarthritis of the shoulder is accompanied by osteoarthritis of the subacromial joint.

Diagnosis of shoulder osteoarthritis

To determine the degree of the pathological process, a set of diagnostic procedures is prescribed. Based on the results of these studies, treatment is prescribed. The patient is examined by a traumatologist, in advanced stages - by a surgeon and a neuropathologist. The therapeutic program will be adapted according to the instructions of the doctor - physiotherapist and massage therapist.

For the diagnosis is assigned:

  • Blood tests. Aims to find out the presence of inflammatory processes and determine their nature, for example, arthritis.
  • X-ray, which allows you to detect joint deformity in the early stages of the disease.
  • MR.

Treatment methods

Modern treatments include:

  1. Conservative.
  2. Physiotherapy.
  3. Ethnoscience.
  4. Surgical procedure.

Conservative treatment

Drugs used to treat osteoarthritis of the shoulder joint are aimed at stopping inflammation and suppressing pain.


  • anesthetics;
  • chondroprotectors;
  • muscle relaxants;
  • means of activating blood circulation.

External influences have a positive effect on the body:

  • physiotherapy;
  • laser therapy;
  • cryotherapy;
  • magnetotherapy.

In the first stage, ointments can be used to treat the disease. This method is especially effective for osteoarthritis of the right shoulder. It is recommended to use heating means.

osteoarthritis of the shoulder joint on X-ray


Contains a set of exercises. It is necessary to perform flexion and extension, rotational, abduction and adduction movements every morning.

The method contributes to:

  1. Rehabilitation of blood circulation in the joints and metabolism.
  2. Increasing the flexibility of the ligaments.
  3. Normalization of muscle activity.

The duration of the gymnastics should be about 10 minutes. If severe pain occurs, you should stop exercising for a while. Warm compresses are recommended before and after exercise. During the treatment period, it is necessary to exclude spicy and salty foods from the diet. In the diet, include foods that contain a large percentage of collagen.

Treatment with folk methods

Folk remedies are allowed in the first degree of the disease, it is at this stage that such remedies can have the desired effect. This technique should be combined with medication and therapeutic exercises.

Popular methods include:

  • The use of propolis mixed with lard. This mixture is rubbed on the sore shoulder.
  • Compresses with cabbage juice.
  • Cabbage leaves smeared with honey. They are located on the foci of inflammation, it helps relieve pain and reduce the inflammatory process.
surgical treatment of shoulder arthritis


In advanced cases, when bone tissue fusion and muscle atrophy are detected, the treatment is performed in an operative manner. During the operation, the epiphysis of the shoulder and scapula is replaced with metal prostheses.

Surgical intervention allows the patient to return the usefulness of movement.


It is possible to protect the shoulder joint from osteoarthritis if the causes that cause the destruction of the joint are eliminated in a timely manner, and you should also:

  1. Avoid overtime.
  2. After damage, resist the recovery period.
  3. Eat properly.

At the first signs and pains, consult a doctor to determine the cause of the disease and stop it in time.