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World Arthritis Day 2021: Understanding Shoulder Osteoarthritis (Degenerative Arthritis of the Shoulder)

World Arthritis Day 2021: Shoulder osteoarthritis is one of the most common types of arthritis. It presents itself exactly like a frozen shoulder.

World Arthritis Day 2021: Understanding Shoulder Osteoarthritis (Degenerative Arthritis of the Shoulder)

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To understand Osteoarthritis, one must first understand what arthritis is and why it occurs. Arthritis occurs due to the loss of cartilages. This may be due to wear and tear, degeneration or it may also be caused by some autoimmune diseases also called as inflammatory arthritis such as Rheumatoid Arthritis or Spondylitis. Osteoarthritis is generally caused by normal wear and tear whereas the inflammatory arthritis is triggered by autoimmune process in the body. There are two other categories of arthritis known as infective arthritis due to infection in cartilage and rotator cuff tear arthritis caused by tear in muscles around the shoulder joint which control the socket joint. When ignored in the long run, this turns to arthritis. Repetitive injury to the shoulder can also trigger arthritis in patients.

Shoulder Osteoarthritis

Shoulder osteoarthritis is one of the most common types of arthritis. When it comes to any type of osteoarthritis, you must understand that it has a mild genetic competent to it. Around 30% of patients with osteoarthritis in other parts of the body, will also have shoulder arthritis after some point of time. Another reason why people get shoulder osteoarthritis is due to improper posture or training while working out or strength training. Lower awareness around proper techniques can be harmful in many ways, but especially can trigger arthritis in a person.

Early Symptoms to detect Shoulder Osteoarthritis

Shoulder arthritis presents itself exactly like a frozen shoulder. The shoulder plane out of proportion, the moment one lifts their shoulder, they experience shooting pain because the movement is happening in the bones which can be painful. Gradually, they lose movement in all six planes.

So, if you are experience pain while moving your shoulders or arms to the back, lifting any weight where the shoulder is taking much of the weight, this can be indicative of a shoulder osteoarthritis. Any pain experienced while lying down, especially in the arm (slightly below the shoulder), stiffness, intensity of the pain where one is completely incapable of moving their arm, can be a warning sign that one must not ignore.

Are there any preventions methods for people with shoulder osteoarthritis?

One must understand that shoulder osteoarthritis is a condition which makes a person incapable of sleeping or undertaking any of their regular activities without experiencing pain. Simple tasks such as getting up from bed or taking care of one's personal hygiene becomes impossible tasks. Hence, the best and most impactful tool would be to get timely treatments and to continue these treatments. The other thing perhaps one can do is to not put any strain on their shoulder.

Prevention methods for all

While there is no preventive method for degenerative osteoarthritis or infective arthritis. However, lower use of steroids can prevent AVN (Avascular Necrosis) arthritis. For patients with rheumatoid arthritis, the key would be to continue treatments once it starts. Even when it gets treated, chances of rheumatoid arthritis coming back is very high.

(Dr. Raman Kant Aggarwal is Director Institute of Musculoskeletal Disorders and Orthopaedics, at Medanta)

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