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Best Options for Relieving Arthritis Pain in the Shoulder

Best Options for Relieving Arthritis Pain in the Shoulder

Are you waking up in the morning with shoulder stiffness that makes reaching for your alarm a Herculean task? Or maybe you’ve got a persistent ache that makes everyday things, like driving or getting dressed, challenging?

Shoulder arthritis is a common condition that can cause pain, stiffness, and other symptoms that disrupt your life and make you miserable. Fortunately, you don’t have to live with the frustration of shoulder pain any longer.  

At Ortho 1 Medical Group, with multiple locations in San Diego, Chula Vista, Coronado, and La Jolla, California, our providers offer the best options for relieving arthritis pain in the shoulder. 

From diagnosis to treatment, we can improve your shoulder symptoms and restore function to this critical joint. Take a moment to learn about options for managing shoulder arthritis.    

1. Lifestyle modifications and physical therapy

Adjusting your activities to avoid movements that make the pain worse can significantly improve your mobility and reduce discomfort. Physical therapy provides exercises to strengthen the muscles around the shoulder and stretches to enhance flexibility, decreasing your pain.

This may be your best option if your daily activities are becoming challenging because of mild to moderate shoulder pain, but you're not experiencing constant severe discomfort. An Ortho 1 Medical Group provider can evaluate your shoulder to provide personalized guidance. 

2. Medications

Medications may be the best option for relieving pain from shoulder arthritis and helping you maintain a normal lifestyle if you have moderate pain that occasionally interferes with daily activities but isn't debilitating.

Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications are often the next line of defense. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen, can reduce inflammation and pain. 

There are also topical medications to ease pain and other arthritis-specific options, like medicines to prevent bone loss and biologics, which reduce inflammation in arthritis triggered by inflammation. 

3. Injection therapy

Different injections might be a good choice for easing your arthritis pain when your symptoms become more persistent and interfere with your quality of life. Your provider can recommend which type of injection therapy is right for you. 

Corticosteroid injections reduce inflammation, which can ease pain. However, the effects are temporary, lasting several months, and there are side effects to consider, such as damage to the cartilage in the joint, so you may not be able to continue this treatment indefinitely. 

Hyaluronic acid can mimic the fluid naturally found in our joints, offering a cushioning effect that can ease the pain. As such, hyaluronic acid injections lubricate the shoulder joint, potentially giving you some relief from pain and improved mobility, though effects are temporary. 

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections involve injecting a concentration of your own platelets into the affected shoulder. Platelets, which are found in your blood, can stimulate healing and regenerate tissues by releasing growth factors that promote recovery. 

PRP therapy is especially promising if you haven’t had success managing your shoulder arthritis with other treatments and want an alternative to surgery. Your Ortho 1 Medical Group provider can evaluate your condition and let you know if PRP treatments are a good option for you. 

4. Shoulder arthroscopy

When your daily life is severely affected by shoulder pain and less invasive treatment options haven’t helped, shoulder arthroscopy might be the next step. This treatment is a minimally invasive surgery that can be used to “clean out” the inside of your joint or repair any damaged tissues.

It has a faster recovery compared to open surgery, and is usually considered when you have significant pain and loss of function, and when imaging tests show the damage to your joint can be addressed with this surgical procedure. 

Talk to your Ortho 1 Medical Group provider to learn if this treatment is your best option for relieving shoulder arthritis pain and restoring function. 

5. Total shoulder replacement

For severe cases of arthritis where the shoulder joint is significantly damaged, a total shoulder replacement may be your best option. This procedure involves replacing the damaged parts of your shoulder with artificial components.

Total shoulder replacement can be a life-changing therapy, offering dramatic pain relief and a substantial improvement in function for those with advanced arthritis.

However, it’s major surgery with a longer recovery period, so it’s usually only recommended when more conservative treatments are no longer enough to provide relief.

Get personalized shoulder arthritis treatment recommendations

If you’re worried about shoulder pain from arthritis and which option is right for you, our team of experts at Ortho 1 Medical Group is here to help. We evaluate your condition and help you choose the right treatment for your needs and lifestyle.


Get started by scheduling an appointment online or over the phone today with an arthritis expert at the Ortho 1 Medical Group location in the San Diego area nearest you.

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