How to treat osteoarthritis of the shoulder joint?

The shoulder joint provides the body with maximum range of motion. This joint has a complex structure, the joint capsule of the shoulder can be extended quite strongly, so the arm can also be lifted and perform rotational movements. This kind of flexibility relaxes the connections. The failure of the process of feeding the joint tissue provokes its destruction and serves as a basis for the development of osteoarthritis of the shoulder joint.

The disease generally affects people over the age of 45 and is a pathology of the bone and cartilage tissue in the shoulder girdle. The disease is increasing in nature, manifests itself with age and leads to dystrophic transformations. The disease most often affects the male half of the population. The degeneration of the articular cartilage and the structural deformations of the bone integrity provoke inflammatory processes in the synovial membrane. Destructive changes occur almost asymptomatically, until a certain point. The pain begins when the cracks in the cartilage are largely filled with salt deposits.

Stages of shoulder osteoarthritis

There are three stages of progression of shoulder osteoarthritis:

The first phase is characterized by dull pain in the shoulders, 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 identified by X-ray examination. The picture captures the specific "ring symptom" for this stage - the joint depression is in the form of an elliptical ring.

The second phase manifests itself with more pronounced symptoms. There is pain in the shoulder and shoulders - they are constant. A squeak is heard when the hands move. Muscle spasm and pain 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 put his hands behind his 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 a narrowing of the joint passage, with the appearance of bone growths and thickening of the articular bones outside.

In some cases, muscle atrophy in the shoulder area has been reported.

The third phase is accompanied by obvious deformities and constant pain. The patient can only move his arm back and forth. Raising and lowering the arm is absolutely impossible, the joint is deformed. On the body, especially in the area of the joint of the shoulder and shoulder blade, bony protrusions are emphasized. The position of the arm is forced, the patient tries to keep the arm in a minimally painful position.

The disease rarely progresses to the last stage.

More often there are cases when the development of pathological changes stops in the previous stages. The danger of transition to the last phase exists in patients who do not stop loading the affected joint: professional athletes, people performing physical labor.

Causes of the disease

Identify the main causes of pathology:

  • Maximum shoulder load.
  • Congenital or acquired joint abnormalities. In such pathology, the usual load on the joint can be perceived as maximum. In this condition, cartilage rubbing occurs.
  • Metabolic disorder that causes salt deposition, malnutrition of cartilage tissue.
  • hereditary factor. Children of parents suffering from this disease are more susceptible to the development of such pathology, they are at risk.
  • Injuries or systemic trauma for a certain period of time. In such circumstances, post-traumatic osteoarthritis occurs.
  • Acute and chronic inflammatory diseases of the joints - arthritis.
  • Bad habits and poor nutrition.
  • Autoimmune or hormonal disorders.
  • Metabolic disorder.
  • Disorders related to the endocrine system.
  • age factor.

Symptoms of the disease

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

The main symptoms include:

  • Shoulder pain that occurs when moving the arm. The patient feels pain, especially in the morning and when the weather changes. The patient feels pain even when he touches his own shoulder. As the disease progresses, the pain indicators begin to break down even at rest. The spread of back pain is typical.
  • Traffic disorder. A patient with osteoarthritis will find it difficult to perform basic tasks, such as raising the arm, performing rotational movements. Delaying treatment can lead to contracture.
  • Squeaking and squeaking sounds in the joint. The pathological phenomenon is associated with the formation of osteophytes (salt deposition). At the beginning, the symptom is not very pronounced. Over time, however, these sounds are amplified and heard even by others.
  • Local increase in temperature, the joints begin to swell, redden.
  • hardening. When the form works, bone growth occurs. Osteoarthritis of the shoulder is accompanied by arthrosis of the subacromial joint.

Diagnosis of shoulder osteoarthritis

To determine the extent of the pathological process, a set of diagnostic procedures is prescribed. Based on the results of these tests, treatment is prescribed. The patient is examined by a traumatologist, in advanced stages - by a surgeon and a neurologist. The therapeutic program will be adjusted according to the instructions of the doctor - physiotherapist and masseur.

The following are appointed for the diagnosis:

  • Blood tests. Aimed at establishing the presence of inflammatory processes and determining their nature, such as rheumatism.
  • X-ray, which allows you to detect deformities of the joints in the early stages of the disease.
  • NMR.

Methods of treatment

Modern treatments include:

  1. conservative.
  2. Physiotherapy.
  3. Ethnology.
  4. Surgical intervention.

Conservative treatment

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


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

External influences have a positive effect on the body:

  • physiotherapy;
  • laser therapy;
  • cryotherapy;
  • magnetic therapy.

In the first stage, ointments can be used to treat the disease. This method is especially effective in osteoarthritis of the right shoulder. The use of warming agents is recommended.

osteoarthritis of the shoulder joint on X-ray


Includes a set of exercises. Every morning it is necessary to perform flexion and extension, rotational, withdrawing and bringing movements.

The method contributes to:

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

The duration of gymnastics should be about 10 minutes. If severe pain occurs, you should stop training for a while. Warm compresses are recommended before and after training. During the treatment period it is necessary to exclude spicy and salty foods from the diet. You should include foods high in collagen in your diet.

Treatment with folk methods

Folk remedies are acceptable in the first degree of the disease, it is at this stage that such funds 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 affected shoulder.
  • Cabbage juice compresses.
  • Cabbage leaves are smeared with honey. They are placed on foci of inflammation, helping to relieve pain and reduce the inflammatory process.
surgical treatment of shoulder arthritis


In advanced cases, when bone fusion and muscle atrophy are found, treatment is performed surgically. During the operation, the pineal gland of the shoulder and the shoulder blade are replaced with metal prostheses.

Surgery allows the patient to regain the usefulness of movement.


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

  1. Avoid overload.
  2. After injury, endure the recovery period.
  3. Eat right.

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