It’s important to stick to your normal activities as much you can.
Staying active stops your muscles from getting weaker. Try to keep to a properlydesigned exercise regime; this will help you maintain or even improve the flexibility of your joints.
Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight puts unnecessary strain on the joints.
Try to avoid doing repetitive overhead movements that exacerbate your condition. Rest only when the joints are really painful.
Arthritis and Diabetes
No. Arthritis doesn’t cause diabetes, and diabetes doesn’t cause arthritis. But diabetes can involve joint problems, and obesity and a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to or exacerbate both conditions. Recent research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discovered that 52% of diabetes patients also have arthritis. Type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis are both autoimmune diseases. The body’s immune system attacks the pancreas, where insulin is made, in a similar way to the destruction of the joint lining in rheumatoid arthritis. Research pinpoints a genetic connection between rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes.
Half of all people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are aged over 55. If you have type 2 diabetes, gaining weight and becoming less active greatly increases your change of developing osteoarthritis. Try to stay active and maintain a healthy weight to avoid putting excess pressure on your joints.
A great deal of exciting research is going on in the area of shoulder arthritis and its treatment. Experts still don’t fully understand why some people develop arthritis while others don’t. Research is underway to uncover the causes of this condition. Studies are being carried out into the efficacy of lubricating treatments for the shoulder; these are currently used to treat arthritis in the knee.
Shoulder joint replacement surgery is also under scrutiny, with experts searching for new ways to develop artificial joints.
Biological materials are tissue grafts that can encourage new tissue to grow faster in the body; this is another area of futuristic research.
Take care of your shoulder
Find a therapist, book an appointment
Shoulder arthritis is when the cartilage connecting the ball and socket joint starts to
wear away. In a normal healthy shoulder, the ball (humerus) and socket (glenoid) are
covered in ultra-smooth cartilage. If you’ve developed arthritis, it means that little by
little this cartilage is wearing away. Without the proper layer of protective cartilage, the
bones rub against one another. Your shoulder becomes stiff and painful as with a frozen
Arthritis is either primary – due to disease or aging – or secondary – as a result of trauma or injury to the shoulder. If left untreated, the arthritic joint becomes deformed due to a loss of centering. The strain on the joint and the bones causes ligaments to shorten, and extra bone spurs will grow on the margins of the joint. These are called osteophytes.
Shoulder arthritis can affect everyone, regardless of age, gender or race. But more women are affected than men; 60% of all arthritis sufferers are women.
What causes shoulder arthritis?
It used to be thought of as inevitable “rustiness” of getting older, simply “wear and tear”
on the joints. Now experts believe it’s a lot more complicated than that, so much so that
the absolute cause remains something of a mystery. We do know that there are certain
factors that play a part in developing shoulder arthritis.
- Previous shoulder surgery
- A car accident or similar trauma that dislocated the shoulder
- Inflammation of the shoulder (primarily due to rheumatoid arthritis
- Overuse of the shoulder
- Being over 50 – most sufferers of osteoarthritis are in the over-50 group.
- The auto-immune disease rheumatoid arthritis - this causes the body to attack and destroy its own cartilage. It wreaks havoc in different parts of the body, and can occur in the shoulder joint too
A particular “at risk” group are those who do a lot of overhead lifting activities, such as
playing tennis or squash, or weightlifting.
What are the symptoms?
If you have a stiff and painful shoulder, and it hurts to move it, you may have shoulder arthritis in one form or another. Sufferers complain that it becomes more painful the
more they move, and also that the pain wakes them up at night. Some people report
feeling a “catching” and “grinding” or “clicking” sensation when they move. Some also
say that the pain intensifies following a change in the weather.
Your doctor will examine you, and send you for X-rays and/or MRI scan to scope out the extent of the damage to the cartilage. If your doctor thinks you may need surgery, he will probably also request a CT scan.
What is the best treatment for shoulder arthritis?
There are several possible non-surgical treatments available, which can be effective
particularly in the early stages.
Physical Therapy: The Niel Asher Technique in combination with manual therapy can dramatically stop the stiffness from getting any worse and enable you get more movement from the shoulder.
Painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs: mild to moderate pain killers and anti-inflammatory medicines such as aspirin and ibuprofen can be helpful to relieve the symptoms. But the drugs can’t cure the condition itself and won’t stop the cartilage damage. Make sure you check with your doctor whether you can take over-the-counter medicines if you have ulcers or are taking blood thinning medicines.
Steroid injections: these are often given to provide short-term relief of the symptoms. But these may not work for everybody, and may not provide a long-lasting solution, as every patient’s shoulder arthritis is different, and not everyone responds identically to the treatment. Doctors will not carry out repeated injections over a longer period as they can in fact damage the joint further.
Applying moist heat, or ice: Icing your shoulder for 20-30 minutes three times a day can reduce the inflammation and ease the pain.
Rheumatoid Arthritis drugs: If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, the doctor may prescribe a drug such as methotrexate.
Dietary supplements: Glocosamine and chondriotin sulfate are used to relieve pain. There is little scientific evidence, however, to support the use of these supplements in treating arthritis. The FDA does not test dietary supplements; check with your doctor before taking dietary supplements.
Hyaluronan injections: Hyaluronan is a substance that occurs naturally in joints, and acts as a lubricant and as a shock absorber. These injections are effective as a “lubricant” for sufferers of arthritis who don’t need surgery, and are used in athletes too, to reduce inflammation in the joint. These injections don’t have the same side effects as steroid injections.
Do I need surgery?
Nowadays doctors choose the least invasive approach necessary in order to offer longterm pain relief and give you back the use of your shoulder. Surgical treatments include:
This is a therapy where the surgeon “tidies up” the joint, cuts away the damaged cartilage and smoothes the joint, to relieve symptoms. Mainly young people have this treatment, and those who do not want to undergo a full shoulder replacement operation.
Where all other measures have failed or are unsuitable, shoulder replacement (arthroplasty) is necessary. There are different kinds of shoulder replacement operations, some more invasive than others. It’s up to you, your doctors, and your family, to decide together on the best form of surgery for you.