Shoulder Osteoarthritis

What is shoulder arthritis?

Shoulder osteoarthritis is a type of deterioration of the shoulder joint whereby the cartilage disappears which causes the joint to become painful.


Shoulder osteoarthritis can be caused by an accident to the shoulder, e.g. a sports injury, rheumatic disease, infections and paralysis during which time the shoulder joint is not used.

Signs and symptoms

Limited movement and pain in the shoulder that gets worse on repetitive movement characterize the pattern of symptoms. Also pain at night and not being able to sleep on the affected side are often indications of inflammation.

How is arthritis diagnosed?

The diagnosis is made on the patient's pattern of symptoms. When carrying out physical examination for shoulder problems, there are three useful shoulder tests: raising the arm out to the side, holding the arm along the body and turning it outwards, and bringing the arm over to the unaffected shoulder horizontally. In addition a neurological examination has to be done to exclude a disc prolaps of the neck.

Do I need additional examinations?

  • Diagnostic examination for other non-physical factors important for your pain, have already been done by yourself trough filling out your pain questionnaires.
  • Blood examinations on suspicion of systemic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
  • If symptoms persist for a long time: X-rays, ultrasound and MRI scan.
  • A bone scan if a tumour is suspected.

What are my treatment possibilities?

Multidisciplinary treatment

Depending on the cause of your pain, your pain specialist will decide whether or not to start physical treatment. Based on the results of the completed pain questionnaire, additional examinations can be carried out, and apart from physical treatment other methods of treatment will be suggested.

Non-physical treatment

If the results of your pain questionnaire are abnormal, your pain specialist will offer you one of the non-physical treatments listed below:

Physical treatment


Other Treatment

Interventional pain treatment

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