Arthritis Cure

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Get information about the causes, symptoms and treatments for shoulder osteoarthritis, which is more common and debilitating than you may think. 

In shoulder osteoarthritis (OA) – also called degenerative joint disease – your cartilage and other joint tissues gradually break down. Friction in the joint increases, pain increases and you slowly lose mobility and function. Shoulder OA is not as common as OA of the hip or knee, but it is estimated that nearly 1 in 3 people over the age of 60 have shoulder OA to some degree.
 
 

Joints in the Shoulder

Your shoulder has three bones that come together to create two separate joints. The acromioclavicular (AC) joint is formed where your collarbone (clavicle) meets the bony tip of your shoulder blade (acromion). The glenohumeral joint forms where the head of your upper arm bone (humerus) fits into your shoulder blade (scapula). OA is more common in the AC joint than the glenohumeral joint.

Causes of Shoulder OA

Shoulder osteoarthritis can be either primary or secondary.
  • Primary OA has no specific cause, but is related to age, genes and sex. Primary OA is usually seen in people over the age of 50, and women are affected more often than men.
  • Secondary OA has a known cause or influencing factor, such as previous injury, history of shoulder dislocations, infection, or rotator cuff tears. Having certain occupations such as heavy construction – or participating in sports can also put you at higher risk of developing shoulder OA.

Symptoms of Shoulder OA

Pain is the most common symptom of shoulder arthritis. Pain is aggravated by activity and gets worse over time. As the disease progresses the pain will continue when you are at rest and will begin to interfere with sleep. The affected joint will dictate where the pain is felt in the body:
  • If the glenohumeral shoulder joint is affected, the pain will be felt at the back of the shoulder and may feel like a deep ache.
  • If the AC joint is affected, pain will be focused on the top of the shoulder. This pain may radiate up the side of the neck.
Other common symptoms include: 
  • Limited motion and stiffness: You may lose range of motion and feel stiffness that makes it difficult to do everyday tasks, such as lifting your arm to wash your hair or getting something down from a shelf.
  • Crepitus: Hearing and feeling grinding and clicking noises as you move your shoulder.

Diagnosing Shoulder OA

To diagnose shoulder OA, your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. During the exam she will look for:
  • Muscle strength.
  • Tenderness to the touch.
  • Mobility – both active and passive range of motion.
  • Signs of new or old injuries.
  • Other joints with signs of arthritis.
  • Crepitus (a grating sensation inside the joint) with movement.
  • Pain in certain positions.
  • Swelling or joint enlargement.
After the physical exam, your doctor will likely order X-rays. If you have OA, they will show joint-space narrowing, changes in the bone, and the formation of bone spurs (osteophytes).

Arthritis Curehow to Arthritis Cure for Treatments for Shoulder OA

Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease. There is no cure, but there are many ways to ease pain, preserve mobility and stay active. Healthy lifestyle habits and self-care are effective non-drug ways to manage symptoms. Options include hot or cold therapy, strength training and flexibility exercises, physical therapy, braces and massage.

Medicines to ease OA symptoms are available as pills, syrups, creams or lotions or they are injected into a joint. They include pain relievers like acetaminophen, anti-inflammatories like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids and counterirritants like capsaicin or menthol. 

As a last resort, joint surgery can help to reduce pain and improve mobility when other treatments have failed. The options include procedures to remove loose pieces of cartilage or bone (arthroscopy) or replace damaged joints with a ceramic, plastic or metal implant.
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Get the latest news and tips about living with OA in for 1 last update 2020/07/07 the Living Your Yes! e-newsletter.Get the latest news and tips about living with OA in the Living Your Yes! e-newsletter.

 
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Every gift to the Arthritis Foundation will help people with arthritis across the U.S. live their best life. Whether it is supporting cutting-edge research, 24/7 access to one-on-one support, resources and tools for daily living, and more, your gift will be life-changing.

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Help millions of people live with less pain and fund groundbreaking research to discover a cure for this devastating disease. Please, make your urgently-needed donation to the Arthritis Foundation now!

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Honor a loved one with a meaningful donation to the Arthritis Foundation. We'll send a handwritten card to the honoree or their family notifying them of your thoughtful gift.

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Volunteer Opportunities

The Arthritis Foundation is focused on finding a cure and championing the fight against arthritis with life-changing information, advocacy, science and community. We can only achieve these goals with your help. Strong, outspoken and engaged volunteers will help us conquer arthritis. By getting involved, you become a leader in our organization and help make a difference in the lives of millions. Join us and become a Champion of Yes.


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Live Yes! INSIGHTS


Give Just 10 Minutes.

Tell us what matters most to you. Change the future of arthritis.

By taking part in the Live Yes! INSIGHTS assessment, you’ll be among those changing lives today and changing the future of arthritis, for yourself and for 54 million others. And all it takes is just 10 minutes.

Your shared experiences will help:

- Lead to more effective treatments and outcomes
- Develop programs to meet the needs of you and your community
- Shape a powerful agenda that fights for you

Now is the time to make your voice count, for yourself and the entire arthritis community. 

Currently this program is for the adult arthritis community.  Since the needs of the juvenile arthritis (JA) community are unique, we for 1 last update 2020/07/07 are currently working with experts to develop a customized experience for JA families. Currently this program is for the adult arthritis community.  Since the needs of the juvenile arthritis (JA) community are unique, we are currently working with experts to develop a customized experience for JA families. 

How are you changing the future?

Arthritis Curehow to Arthritis Cure for By sharing your experience, you’re showing decision-makers the realities of living with arthritis, paving the way for change. You’re helping break down barriers to care, inform research and create resources that make for 1 last update 2020/07/07 a difference in people’s lives, including your own.

Get StartedBy sharing your experience, you’re showing decision-makers the realities of living with arthritis, paving the way for change. You’re helping break down barriers to care, inform research and create resources that make a difference in people’s lives, including your own.

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Meet Our Partners

As a partner, you will help the Arthritis Foundation provide life-changing resources, science, advocacy and community connections for people with arthritis, the nations leading cause of disability. Join us today and help lead the way as a Champion of Yes.

Trailblazer

Arthritis Curehow to Arthritis Cure for Our Trailblazers are committed partners ready to lead the way, take action and fight for everyday victories. They contribute $2,000,000 to $2,749,000

Visionary

Our Visionary partners help us plan for a future that includes a cure for arthritis. These for 1 last update 2020/07/07 inspired and inventive champions have contributed $1,500,00 to $1,999,999.Our Visionary partners help us plan for a future that includes a cure for arthritis. These inspired and inventive champions have contributed $1,500,00 to $1,999,999.

Pioneer

Our Pioneers are always ready to explore and find new weapons in the fight against arthritis. They contribute $1,000,000 to $1,499,999.

Pacesetter

Our Pacesetters ensure that we can chart the course for a cure for those who live with arthritis. They contribute $500,000 to $999,000.

Signature

Our Signature partners make their mark by helping us identify new and meaningful resources for people with arthritis. They contribute $250,000 to $499,999.

Supporting

Our Supporting partners are active champions who provide encouragement and assistance to the arthritis community. They contribute $100,000 to $249,999.