How to Diagnose and Treat Shoulder Osteoarthritis?

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Q: How to diagnose and treat shoulder osteoarthritis? A:


To diagnose shoulder osteoarthritis, the doctor will take a medical history and do a physical exam to assess pain, tenderness, and loss of motion and to look for other signs in surrounding tissues. Tests that might be ordered to diagnose osteoarthritis of the shoulder include:
  • X-rays.
  • Blood tests, mainly to look for rheumatoid arthritis, but also to exclude other diseases.
  • Removal of synovial fluid, the lubricating fluid in the lining (synovium) of the joint, for analysis.
  • MRI scans.


These treatments include:
  • Resting the shoulder joint.
  • Taking over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or aspirin.
  • Performing physical therapy as assigned by the doctor.
  • Performing range-of-motion exercises.
  • Applying moist heat.
  • Applying ice to the shoulder.
  • Using other medications prescribed by the doctor.
  • Taking the dietary supplements glucosamine and chondroitin.
  • Shoulder joint replacement (total shoulder arthroplasty).
  • Replacement of the head of the humerus, or upper arm bone (hemiarthroplasty).
  • Removal of a small piece of the end of the collarbone (resection arthroplasty).
  Keywords: diagnose shoulder osteoarthritis; treat shoulder osteoarthritis.