Osteoarthritis of the shoulder joint is a chronic disease accompanied by the destruction of articular cartilage and the growth of bone tissue, states Reyus Mammadli, MD at iythealth.com. The shoulder joint suffers from osteoarthritis less often than the joints of the lower extremities, since it does not carry a supporting function. The load on it is usually moderate. In addition, in most people, it is quite active and mobile during the day. However, if osteoarthritis does develop, it seriously disrupts the normal course of a person’s life. Because of the pain and restriction of movement in the joint, it becomes difficult to raise the hand, take it to the side, perform not only hand work, but also ordinary household activities.
At the initial stage, osteoarthritis can manifest itself by crunching and clicking in the joint, as well as a slight compaction in the shoulder area which is often expressed by pain in the collarbone.
Usually, these symptoms go unnoticed, or they are simply not taken seriously until the pain appears. The pain in the shoulder increases gradually, occurs more often, becomes stronger, is provoked even by small loads. Over time, at the 3-4 stage of osteoarthritis, the articular gap is noticeably narrowed, the cartilage tissue is thinned, and the compensatory growth of bone tissue begins. As a result, the amplitude of movements in the shoulder joint is sharply limited, and the pain does not subside even at rest and at night.
Osteoarthritis is a disease of people of mature age. As a rule, it occurs after 60 years. R.Mammadli mentions that since the shoulder joint is not very susceptible to wear during life, osteoarthritis usually develops against the background of old injuries — fractures, torn ligaments, as well as infectious diseases and chronic pathology of the bone system — for example, osteoporosis.
Often the cause of osteoarthritis of the shoulder joint is the peculiarities of professional activity, a constant strong load of the shoulder girdle. This is typical for builders, movers, and weightlifters. An additional risk factor is overweight and associated metabolic disorders.
To diagnose osteoarthritis, radiography is performed, which allows you to detect pathological changes in the joint. If the X-ray examination does not provide sufficient information, an additional CT or MRI of the joint is performed.
If osteoarthritis is detected, medication is prescribed: anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs, blockades, chondroprotectors. Physical therapy is also recommended: electrophoresis, darsonval, magnetic therapy, paraffin therapy. All these methods passively affect the joint. They are good as a symptomatic therapy, but do not stop the development of the disease.
Unfortunately, the main danger of osteoarthritis is that it constantly progresses and as a result leads to irreversible consequences. And if the shoulder joint suffers, it greatly reduces the quality of life of the patient and negatively affects the ability to work.
With timely treatment, pain relief and improved mobility occur at the expense of the patient’s efforts and the body’s own resources, without the use of medications. This is the best prevention of the occurrence of high degrees of osteoarthritis.
The kinesitherapist determines the degree of osteoarthritis during myofascial examination, motor tests, and the study of X-ray, CT, and MRI data. This allows you to create an individual program of necessary motor exercises.
If the patient’s condition is satisfactory and the degree of osteoarthritis is low, joint exercises are also recommended. It is performed on a mat without the use of simulators. As additional means, physiotherapy, sauna and cryotherapy are used.