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Tag Archive: osteoarthritis

Degenerative Arthritis of the Shoulder

Many think that joint pain is just part of the aging process. The old adage that our joints get stiff and we get slower as we age is certainly true, but the pain associated this can be debilitating and have a significant impact on someone’s quality of life. Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative or wear and tear arthritis is a chronic condition estimated to affect 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 60. Many of these individuals will suffer the condition in their shoulder, making everyday tasks like clearing up or cooking difficult and painful.

What is osteoarthritis? What joints does it affect?


As mentioned previously, osteoarthritis is often referred to as degenerative arthritis or “wear and tear” of your joints. But what exactly does this mean? In a normal joint two bones come together. To stop these bones from rubbing up against one another humans have developed an ingenious cushion layer known as cartilage. Cartilage acts as a sort of shock absorber that stops painful bone on bone contact from occurring. Over time though this cartilaginous layer wears itself down and often doesn’t repair. This results in bone on bone contact and significant pain in the joint affected.


What symptoms are common in osteoarthritis of the shoulder?


There are a number of common symptoms and signs associated with degenerative arthritis of the shoulder. These include:


  • Pain in the joint. This is usually on activity and not at night when you are not moving the joint.
  • A limited range of motion – often the shoulder cannot be moved up high without significant pain
  • An odd looking shoulder is often a key sign. You may be able to see a difference to the other shoulder.
  • People often also report something known as crepitus. This is a creaking that may be audible but is often felt when the joint is moving. It can often feel like something is crunching within the joint.

There are numerous symptoms and signs associated with degenerative arthritis

How is it diagnosed?


The diagnosis of degenerative arthritis is often clinical, but an X-ray can be ordered which will show loss of cartilage amongst other things.


How is it treated?


The treatment of osteoarthritis is an area that is constantly changing and there are many options. Some of the better options include:


  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like Ibuprofen or Aspirin. The drugs reduce the production of inflammatory molecules that increased the number of pain signals sent to the brain. However, in some people, they may not be the correct treatment (for instance if you have a history of peptic ulcers etc).
  • Joint injections like steroid injections can be tried to reduce the inflammation in the joint and again reduce the number of pain signals the brain receives.
  • Stem cell therapy is a new treatment offered by specialist clinics across the United States that have been shown to help regrow the cartilage and significantly help the symptoms of shoulder osteoarthritis.

Understanding Arthritis for People Who Experience this Common Condition

As we age we are more and more likely to feel aches, pains, creaks, and squeaks of our joints. Many accept this as part of the aging process, but this seemingly forgets the incredible burden of osteoarthritis (also referred to as wear and tear or degenerative arthritis). In fact, 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 60 years will develop the disease. Of these, a significant amount will be in constant pain and some might not find adequate therapy. So instead of accepting osteoarthritis as an inevitability, is there anything one can do to prevent it?

What is arthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a disease of joints that often occurs in people over the age of 60. It is common in the knees, shoulders hips and hands. For those with the disease in their hands, it can be incredibly irritating as it affects their activities of daily living like cooking and cleaning. The pain and lack of movement are often very frustrating.

By understanding what osteoarthritis is, we can get a better understanding of how to prevent it. When two bones meet at a joint the body uses a protective sheath known as cartilage to stop bone on bone rubbing known as “eburnation”. Over time (or with injury etc) the cartilage can become worn down and result in a bone on bone contact. This results in pain and a reduced range of movement in the affected joints.

What increases your risk of arthritis?

Prevention of arthritis starts with understanding what increases the risk of arthritis and then not doing that thing. Inevitably age plays a huge role but this is not reversible. Other risk factors include:

  • Being over 50 significantly increases your risk.
  • Being female. Whilst the disease is common in both sexes there seem to be more women affected than men.
  • Obesity is strongly associated with knee and hip osteoarthritis. A famous study known as the Framingham study showed that the 20% of woman who is the heaviest have double the likelihood of developing knee osteoarthritis. However, there isn’t an association with osteoarthritis of the hands.
  • Osteoarthritis is more common in the hands of manual workers. People who do jobs that involve constant fine movement have an increased risk (presumably because they experience more wear and tear).

Osteoarthritis is a disease of joints that often occurs in people over the age of 60

Is there anything you can do to prevent it?

At the moment there isn’t much an individual can do, except for not work in manual jobs, that reduces your risk of osteoarthritis. Many of the factors identified above are not changeable. However, there are a number of new and exciting therapies to treat osteoarthritis. One of these is stem cell therapy, whereby individuals own stem cells are injected into the joint allowing the cartilage to regrow in a way that has not been previously possible. If you or somebody you know is suffering from pain in their hands that they think might be the beginning of degenerative arthritis, get in contact with a specialist clinic to talk about stem cell therapy today.

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