May is Arthritis Awareness Month! Did you know that millions of people are affected by arthritis each year, with the shoulder being one of the more commonly affected joints? Fortunately, there are treatment options available to those suffering from shoulder arthritis.
Conservative treatment options, such as physical therapy or injections are often recommended as the first line of treatment. These treatments provide relief for many, extending the need for surgical intervention. But when conservative treatment fails to alleviate arthritis pain affecting your daily life, surgery may be the right solution.
Two of the most common surgical procedures for shoulder arthritis are shoulder replacement and reverse shoulder replacement. Shoulder replacement involves the replacement of the damaged shoulder joint with an artificial prosthetic implant. Reverse shoulder replacement is a procedure usually recommended for patients with severe shoulder arthritis who cannot use their arms properly without extreme pain. This procedure involves the reversal of the ball and socket joint in your shoulder, putting an artificial “ball” in the shoulder blade and an artificial “socket” on the top of the upper arm bone. This arrangement allows your shoulder joint to rely more on your deltoid muscles than the damaged rotator cuff muscles.
Benefits of shoulder replacement include:
- Pain relief
Pain is arguably the most widely expressed concern associated with shoulder arthritis. With a new and healthy joint, pain is significantly lessened.
- Increased range of motion
A new shoulder joint will alleviate any stiffness associated with shoulder arthritis. This will allow for better flexibility and increased mobility in this joint.
- Long-lasting results
While the longevity of an artificial joint varies depending on multiple factors, most patients can expect their replacement to last more than a decade.
- Increased strength
Postoperatively, there is a focus on strengthening the deltoid and other muscles around the shoulder to optimize function.
Many patients who have undergone shoulder replacement report back that they now sleep better, can participate in physical activities, and basic tasks like cooking, shopping, and driving. This life-changing procedure can help reduce shoulder pain and get you back to normal everyday activities.
AUTHOR: Jason Shrouder-Henry MD, MBA is a Board Certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder throughout Chicagoland and NW Indiana.