Osteoarthritis of the shoulder joint – a disease caused by dystrophic changes in the cartilage and adjacent bone tissue. This pathology is prone to chronic progressive course, in the later stages causes deformity and persistent dysfunction of the hand. The disease is widespread and widespread, but not hopeless. It is necessary to treat this disease for a long time, but with its correct implementation, you can count on a good result.
The shoulder joint is the most mobile in the human body.
Prevalence and causes of brachial arthrosis
Basically, arthrosis of the shoulder joint affects people in older age groups, more often than men. Approximately 10% of the population is sick in developed countries at 55 years of age, and among 65-year-olds, already 70%. Deformity of the joint develops in 60 – 70% of patients.
Experts call 3 main causes of the disease:
Excessive, disproportionate load on the shoulder for a long time. For example, it may be in people engaged in heavy manual labor (plasterers, builders).
Congenital or acquired defect of articular structures (cartilage, ligaments, etc.). In this case, the usual load on the hands is perceived by the body as excessive, rapid wear of the cartilage occurs.
Metabolic disorders, leading to the deposition of salt crystals in the articular cavity or malnutrition of cartilage tissue.
Not the last role is played by heredity, since arthrosis of the shoulder joint, as a rule, is of a family nature. If parents are ill, the probability of developing pathology in children (sooner or later) is significantly higher than in families of healthy people.
Also the causes of the disease can be:
- transferred injuries or constant minor injuries for months and years (for example, due to constant large sports loads) – the so-called post-traumatic arthrosis of the shoulder joint develops;
- acute and chronic inflammation of the joints – arthritis.
Arthrosis of the subacromial joint (the connection of the humerus and the acromion process of the scapula) almost always joins the arthrosis of the shoulder.
Symptoms, development of the disease
How does arthrosis of the shoulder joint develop? There are 3 stages of the process.
Grade 1 disease is characterized by aching pain in the shoulder area, often aggravated at night. The range of movement is not limited, but their maximum amplitude, especially the abduction of the arm back, causes pain. At this stage, x-ray helps to recognize the disease: a characteristic “ring symptom” is found in the picture – the image of the articular cavity looks like an oval ring. The initial period of the disease may last several years or months.
The second degree already has brighter symptoms. The pain in the shoulder and shoulder blade becomes strong and constant, with a hand movement a characteristic crunch is heard. The range of movement is limited due to pain and muscle spasm, especially difficult to push the hand back. There is a medical test when the doctor asks the patient to join his hands behind the back in the lock: a healthy person does it without difficulty, and for an arthritic shoulder, this movement is not only painful, but often impossible due to limited mobility
Also in the second stage of osteoarthritis, symptoms are noted on an X-ray photograph: a narrowing of the joint space, the appearance of osteophytes (bone growths) and a thickening of the articular surfaces of the bones. You can notice some muscle atrophy in the shoulder area.
Symptoms of grade 3 – it is already pronounced deformity and constant pain. Hand movements are very limited, perhaps only a slight swing forward and backward. Raising and retraction of the arm is completely impossible, the joint is significantly deformed. On the patient’s body, bone protrusions are clearly visible, especially in the area of the joint between the shoulder and the scapula. The position of the arm is forced, that is, the person holds his hand in the least painful position.
Arthrosis of the shoulder joint of grade 3 does not develop in all: often the development of pathology stops at one of the previous stages, and it goes on for a long time without progression. The danger of transition to the last stage exists more in those people who continue to overly burden the affected joint (for example, if it is impossible to change jobs or unwillingness to leave professional sports).
In the photo – X-ray. Left – normal, right – very small joint gap in the shoulder
It is necessary to treat arthrosis of the shoulder for a long time. In the initial stages, while the function of the joint is not impaired, a course conservative treatment is carried out. His tasks include:
- pain relief is an important point in therapy, because due to pain a person tries to limit movement in the affected shoulder, and this further enhances the pathological process;
- restoration and protection of cartilage tissue;
- removal of inflammation – as a factor complicating the course of the disease;
- recovery of range of motion in the shoulder.
The doctor selects various medicines depending on the form and stage of the disease. This includes nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, hormones, which are injected directly into the articular cavity (so that they do not have an effect on the entire body). From painkillers use various analgesics (painkillers) by mouth, in the form of injections, as well as externally (creams or ointments). To restore the cartilage prescribed drugs with chondroitin.
An important role is played by the diet. It is necessary to limit the consumption of salty and spicy foods, eat more food containing natural collagen – a building material for cartilage tissue. This is, above all, fish of the salmon family, fresh greens, poultry meat (especially turkey), seafood (shrimps, crabs, onions and seaweed).
How to treat arthrosis of the shoulder joint in remission? A good effect has manual therapy, massage, physiotherapy and gymnastics. Physical education can be done at home, it does not take a lot of time: you should start from 5 minutes and gradually bring up to 20 minutes a day. Here are some simple and effective exercises:
Swing arm. Sit on a chair, hang up and relax your arm. Move it back and forth without bending at the elbow. Start with 10 repetitions of the exercise with each hand.
Raise and lower the shoulder girdle. Sitting on the chair, simultaneously and alternately lift and lower the shoulders. Run 10 times.
Rotation of the shoulders. Perform 5 – 10 rotating movements with both shoulders back and forth.
How to treat arthrosis of the shoulder joint, if conservative measures were not effective? It remains only the operation – the installation of the prosthesis. But with this form of osteoarthritis (in contrast to others – for example, arthrosis of the leg joints), the need for surgical intervention does not often occur. Take care of your health and do not bring the disease to the stages and symptoms in which you will not have non-operative treatment options.