Combining Treatments for Effective Shoulder Arthritis Management

Shoulder arthritis is a condition causing pain, stiffness, and limited mobility due to cartilage deterioration in the shoulder joint. It’s more common in older adults and hampers daily activities requiring good shoulder movement. It’s essential to manage shoulder arthritis early to prevent various complications such as joint damage.

There are several methods to manage shoulder arthritis, including medication, physical therapy, and surgery. Medications reduce pain and inflammation, physical therapy improves mobility and flexibility, and surgery repairs or replaces the damaged joint. 

That said, there are several types of shoulder arthritis discussed in detail below.

What are the Types of Shoulder Arthritis?

  • Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a common, degenerative joint disease affecting millions worldwide. This chronic health condition causes discomfort, inflexibility, and inflammation in the joints, causing irregular movement and complications while performing everyday tasks.

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

It is a chronic, autoimmune disease affecting the joints and is caused when the body’s immune system attacks the body’s healthy tissues, resulting in joint inflammation. 

This inflammation causes the synovium (which lines the joints) to thicken and produce excess fluid, leading to joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. Over time, the inflammation can cause damage to the cartilage and bones, leading to deformities and reduced mobility.

  • Post-Traumatic Arthritis

It is a type of osteoarthritis that develops after a joint injury. It is an acute traumatic joint injury due to car accidents, sports injuries, falls, and other sources of joint trauma. 

Symptoms of post-traumatic Arthritis include pain, swelling, stiffness, tenderness or sensitivity to touch, and grinding or instability of the joint.

Now that we know the types of shoulder arthritis, let’s discuss shoulder arthritis management and treatment described below.

What are the Treatments for Shoulder Arthritis?

  • Medications

Medications for treating shoulder arthritis depend on the type of Arthritis. Some commonly used medications include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and acetaminophen. NSAIDs are available both OTC and by prescription and help reduce pain and inflammation. 

  • Exercise and Physiotherapy

Physical therapy is one of the best treatments for shoulder arthritis, as it can help improve the range of motion and strengthen the joint muscles.

The best exercises for shoulder arthritis include cycling, gym memberships, pushups, yoga, walking, and lifting weights. Cycling is a great way to strengthen the muscles around the shoulder joint and improve the range of motion.

  • Surgery

Surgeries can be an effective treatment for shoulder arthritis. Several surgeries treat shoulder arthritis, including rotator cuff repair, total shoulder replacement, and arthroscopy. Rotator cuff repair is a surgery used to repair and keep the rotator cuff stable. 

What is the Significance of Combining Treatments?

Combining treatments for shoulder arthritis can provide more comprehensive pain relief and help slow the condition’s progression. Using multiple therapies can target multiple areas of pain, providing complete relief and improving the overall quality of life. 

This approach can also prevent further damage to the joint, reducing the need for costly and time-consuming recovery. Additionally, combining treatments can improve physical function, increase strength and flexibility, and enhance performance in daily activities.

Combining Medications and Physical Therapy

Medications and physical therapy exercises are commonly used for Treatments for Shoulder Arthritis. Medications, such as corticosteroid injections, can help reduce inflammation and pain in the shoulder joint. 

These injections are typically administered directly into the joint and can provide relief for many months. In addition to medications, physical therapy exercises can improve the range of motion and strengthen the muscles surrounding the joint. 

These exercises can include range-of-motion exercises, strengthening exercises, and aerobic exercises. It is essential to move gently and slowly when performing these exercises and to take a break if the pain is felt. Medications and physical therapy exercises can help reduce inflammation and pain and improve the shoulder joint’s range of motion and strength.

Combining Surgery and Physical Therapy

Surgery is often necessary for patients with severe injuries or illnesses that aren’t treated through other means, such as joint damage, spinal cord injuries, or cancer. However, surgery can be risky and painful, resulting in limited mobility or long-term complications.

Physical therapy is a non-invasive approach that focuses on helping patients regain their strength, flexibility, and range of motion. Physical therapists use various techniques, such as massage, stretching, and exercise, to help patients recover from injuries and illnesses. 

By developing personalized treatment plans, physical therapists can help patients overcome pain, regain mobility, and improve their overall quality of life.

Combining surgery and physical therapy can provide patients with the best possible outcome. Surgery can repair or remove damaged tissue, while physical therapy can help restore mobility and reduce pain. Physical therapy can also help prevent postoperative complications such as blood clots and muscle weakness, leading to a faster recovery.

Other Complementary Therapies

  • Acupuncture

One such complementary therapy is acupuncture. Acupuncture reduces pain and inflammation in arthritic patients, including shoulder arthritis. It can also help improve the range of motion and reduce stiffness in the affected joint.

  • Massage Therapies

Another complementary therapy that can be helpful for shoulder arthritis is massage therapy. This hands-on technique involves kneading, rubbing, and manipulating the muscles and soft tissues of the body. Massage therapy relaxes muscles, reduces pain and inflammation, and improves circulation. It can also help to promote feelings of relaxation and well-being.

  • Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is another complementary therapy that can be helpful for shoulder arthritis. This practice involves gentle manipulation and adjustment techniques to realign the spine and other joints. Chiropractic care can help to reduce pain and inflammation, improve joint mobility, and promote overall wellness in people with shoulder arthritis.

  • Dietary Supplements

Finally, dietary supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin can also be helpful for people with shoulder arthritis. These natural supplements help support joint health by reducing inflammation and promoting cartilage growth. While more research is needed to understand their effectiveness fully, many people with Arthritis have reported relief from taking these supplements.


If you are one of the many individuals suffering from shoulder arthritis, it’s essential to seek proper medical care and Treatments for Shoulder Arthritis. Don’t let the pain and discomfort hold you back from living an active and fulfilling life. 

You can manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life with the right treatment plan. Remember to consult a healthcare professional to discuss your options and find a treatment plan that works for you. Take the first step towards healing and seek the care you deserve today.

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