Osteoarthritis (OA) is the prevalent type of arthritis and is caused by bone-on-bone contact, which causes both pain and loss of movement. This occurs when smooth cartilage surface wears away on an articulating/moving joint.
OA mainly affects joints carrying the most load, like knees and hips. However, it can affect any joint including joints around the shoulder. Cartilage doesn’t receive a direct blood supply so as a result of this, it is reliant on a process called diffusion. During this process, nutrients are absorbed by the cartilage when it’s compressed by motion.
Restriction of motion within the joint, such as injury of inflammation, can reduce or entirely cut off its supply of nutrients, this puts the tissues under threat of degeneration and injury.
When a patient requires care involving OA of the shoulder, osteopathic treatment usually aims to improve the movement of the required joints with manipulation, mobilisation, manual traction, manual massage, active release techniques, acupuncture, physical therapy modalities (such as ultrasound or electronic stim), nutritional counselling, and home-based exercises.
There are further ways to improve osteoarthritis of the shoulder:
Keep Moving: The best way to keep cartilage nourished and healthy is exercise. Many patients can improve their situation without medication, just by staying active enough.
Healthy Diet: Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil), ginger and turmeric help aid the nutrition of the joints as they reduce inflammation however, a balance diet in general is advised.
Reduce Joint Load: Weight lose helps, changing lifestyle to make sure the affected joints are routinely active.
Sleep Well: Aiming for 9 hours of restful sleep has been proven to be the optimum for joint repair. Too much or too little sleep can have adverse effects.
Hot/Cold Packs: These can really help reduce inflammation.
Supplements: Chondroitin and glucosamine should be considered.
The more severe the case, the longer it can take to achieve a desired outcome. Hence the importance of seeking care as soon as possible, when you are experiencing shoulder pain or any other part of the body for that matter.