Pain with shoulder joint arthrosis
Painkillers can be taken simultaneously with the treatment of the inflammation to relieve the pain caused by shoulder arthrosis. So-called NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen or painkillers such as paracetamol may be used. If these do not provide relief, opioid analgesics such as tramadol can be prescribed by the doctor.
It is important to note that drug therapy should not be used in the long term, as there can be many side effects. Cooling the joint in phases of joint inflammation and applying ointments containing analgesics can also reduce the pain in the shoulder. The application of cold or heat to the shoulder depends on the symptoms.
If, for example, there is an activated arthrosis, which leads to an inflammation of the joint with redness, swelling, overheating, pain and restricted shoulder movement, cold therapy (cryotherapy) should be applied. This can be done with cool packs or curd wraps. If the arthrosis symptoms are present without inflammatory activity, heat treatments can be carried out. The heat can be applied using red light, ointments, fango packs or plasters.
What can be done about the inflammation in the shoulder?
It is important to treat the inflammation in the shoulder, as it leads to further joint destruction and the arthrosis in the shoulder can worsen. It should also be remembered that an existing inflammation in the shoulder is a so-called “activated arthrosis” and the shoulder should not be loaded at this stage. This means that the shoulder should be immobilised during the period of inflammation.
During the inflammation phase, the shoulder can be cooled. This reduces the swelling and also the inflammation. Furthermore, anti-inflammatory medication can be taken in tablet form.
These include diclofenac or ibuprofen, for example. Ointments that also contain ibuprofen or diclofenac can also be applied to the shoulder. The tablets and ointments not only have an anti-inflammatory effect but also have an analgesic effect.
Curd compresses and oils such as caraway oil – can be applied to the painful and inflamed shoulder to reduce the inflammation in the joint. If the tablets, ointments or cooling have no effect and the swelling and inflammation of the shoulder remains despite these measures, the doctor can inject a cortisone injection directly into the shoulder joint. Cortisone has an anti-inflammatory effect and can be injected directly at the site of the inflammation. However, the injection of cortisone should not be carried out too frequently, as it can also cause degeneration (destruction) of ligaments and tendons and thus worsen the movement and pain situation of the shoulder.
Which sport is good for my shoulder?
In general, sport should not be avoided in the case of shoulder arthrosis, as sport can improve symptoms such as pain and delay the progression of the arthrosis. It is important that the right sport is chosen. The joints should not be loaded with weight.
Any kind of sport in the water such as swimming, aqua aerobics or aqua jogging is suitable – whereby it should be remembered to move the arms as well so that the shoulder also becomes active. You should also do gymnastic exercises that stretch the joints, tendons and muscles and thus improve blood circulation. In addition, no additional load is placed on the joints.
The aim of the exercises should be to strengthen the muscles and ligaments that secure the shoulder joint. In addition, the movement should create better blood circulation in the cartilage. A simple exercise, for example, is to raise and lower the shoulders – similar to a shoulder twitch.
This exercise can be performed in a sitting or standing position. The height of the lifting and also the speed can be varied. Circling the shoulders on both sides or one side (with arms hanging down) while sitting with a change of direction can also improve the symptoms of shoulder arthrosis.
Another exercise is performed while lying down: The patient lies flat on his back, then the shoulders are first moved forward and then back. With the help of a gymnastics band, the shoulder muscles can be strengthened. For this purpose, the arms are bent by 90 degrees at the elbow joint, with the upper arms resting against the upper body.
The palms of the hands embrace the gymnastics band and point flat to the ceiling. Now the hands are moved outwards so that the shoulders also rotate outwards. Another exercise is push-ups on the wall: For this, the patient stands with his face against the wall and performs the push-up movements in this position while standing.
All exercises should be repeated 15-20 times. There are many other exercises that can be performed for shoulder arthrosis. Which exercise is best can be discussed with a doctor or in physiotherapy.