Do I Have Shoulder Arthritis?

Nov 2, 2021

Do I Have Shoulder ArthritisMillions of people are diagnosed with arthritis each year. What may seem like pain or discomfort from overuse or an injury can actually be a sign of something more. There are several different types of arthritis, though simply defined, it refers to inflammation in joints. Inflammation in your shoulder joint can cause pain and discomfort that can start to affect your daily routine. If you are interested in shoulder pain chiropractic care, a chiropractor can help you experience relief and manage pain for the long term. If you suspect you have arthritis in your shoulder, you can visit a chiropractor for a diagnosis and discuss treatment options.

How Arthritis Affects the Shoulder

The two main types of arthritis that can affect the shoulder joint are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Here are the distinctions and differences between both and how they can affect the shoulder:


Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and occurs with wear and tear on the body. As you age and move the joints throughout the day, it can cause the cartilage on joints to slowly wear away. When this cartilage wears away, it no longer is able to prevent bones from rubbing against one another. The pain from osteoarthritis occurs when bones rub against one another, which is why osteoarthritis is also commonly referred to as bone-on-bone arthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease that attacks joints in the body like the shoulder. In addition to cartilage, joints are also lined with what is called synovium that helps to lubricate the joint, making movements smoother. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, then it can aggravate the synovium and cause swelling, pain, and stiffness.

Shoulder Pain and Arthritis Symptoms

The shoulder joint is made up of three bones: the humerus, scapula, and clavicle. The humerus is the upper arm bone and fits into a ball and socket joint. The scapula is the shoulder blade, and the clavicle is the collarbone. The shoulder blade and collarbone come together to connect the joint in the shoulder. The most common symptom of arthritis in the shoulder is pain. This arthritis pain can get worse with certain activities and may even get worse over time.

Depending on what part of the joint is inflamed or aggravated by arthritis, the pain may occur on the top of the shoulder or deep inside the joint. Other symptoms of shoulder arthritis include a decreased range of motion in the shoulder joint, making movements like lifting your arm or reaching up more difficult. Arthritis may also cause a clicking or grinding sound known as crepitus that occurs when you move your shoulder.

Diagnosing Arthritis in the Shoulder

When you visit a chiropractor to diagnose shoulder arthritis, they will want to do a physical examination of the area. Discuss your symptoms and medical history with your doctor, including when you notice an increase in pain and discomfort. They will also want to assess how muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues may be affected in the joint. During a physical examination of your shoulder, they may also want to listen for crepitus sounds and assess your current range of motion. Your chiropractor may also want to run diagnostic imaging tests like an X-ray or CT scan to get a clearer look at the affected joint. X-rays and other diagnostic imaging can also help to rule out other potential causes for your shoulder pain and discomfort.

Treatment Options for Shoulder Arthritis

A chiropractor can provide you with treatment options that are non-surgical and non-invasive. Shoulder pain chiropractic care may include a joint adjustment to help resolve any misalignments that may be making your pain and discomfort worse. Chiropractic adjustments also help to restore healthy functioning to the joint, including nutrients and oxygen-rich blood flowing to the area. Your chiropractor may also recommend therapeutic massage, stretches, and exercises to help improve strength and range of motion in and around your shoulder. In between chiropractic visits, you may also try home remedies like resting or changing certain movements to avoid aggravating the arthritis in the shoulder. You may also take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen that can help reduce inflammation and pain in the area. Applying ice and heat to the area can also provide temporary pain relief to your shoulder.

Visit AICA Orthopedics in Conyers to learn about shoulder pain treatment with our team of chiropractors.


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