Shoulder Osteoarthritis

March 16, 2015 | Conditions
Oseoarthritis Shoulder

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritic pain in the shoulder, however, it is not the only form of arthritis that may affect your shoulder joints. Know the signs and symptoms, so you can better understand what may be happening in your body and how it will be treated. Here are some distinctions to help you tell the difference.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

This form of arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which damages healthy tissue and softens bones. RA is symmetrical, which means it generally shows up in the same joint on both sides of the body. So, if you have RA in one shoulder, you will likely have it in the other shoulder as well.

Rotator Cuff Tear Arthropathy

This is arthritis that develops after a poorly-healed rotator cuff tendon can no longer properly connect the humerus with the glenoid socket. As the humerus rubs against the socket, damage occurs. Over time arthritis develops.

Post-Traumatic Arthritis

This form of arthritis develops after a fracture, dislocation or other traumatic injury.

Avascular Necrosis

When the blood supply to the humerus is disrupted, this can result in a painful condition called Avascular Necrosis. This condition can cause arthritis and, if left untreated, may result in the destruction of the shoulder joint. Avascular Necrosis may be the result of traumatic injury, however, this condition is often the result of heavy steroid use or alcohol consumption.


This is the result of wear and tear in the joint. In the shoulder, Osteoarthritis wears away the outer covering of bone cartilage, causing pain and building up bone spurs.

  • Shoulder Osteoarthritis is most common in people over 50
  • More common in the Acromioclavicular Joint than in the Glenohumeral Joint

How Shoulder Osteoarthritis Develops

As the cartilage in the joint becomes increasingly frayed, the protective space between bones is decreased. This may allow the bones to rub against each other, leading to osteophytes (bone spurs).

Because the process takes time, a person may be suffering from Osteoarthritis and not feel significant pain in the early stages. Often, it shows up as intermittent aches or pains, especially after strenuous physical activity. However, the disease can progress until the pain is sharp, severe and chronic.

Diagnosing Osteoarthritis in the Shoulder

Shoulder pain may or may not be the result of Osteoarthritis, so, in addition to a consultation to discuss your medical history and symptoms, Dr. Skaliy will perform several diagnostic tests during your initial visit.

  • A physical examination to determine your pain level, flexibility, strength and range of motion
  • Medical imaging (MRI, X-rays or CT scan) to determine the location and extent of any injury or disease



These tests will help Dr. Skaliy determine the location of any arthritis in your shoulder. Knowing the location will help diagnose the type of Osteoarthritis present.

  • Acromioclavicular Osteoarthritis is felt at the top of the shoulder and may radiate to the neck
  • Glenohumeral Osteoarthritis is generally felt in the back of the shoulder. The pain comes during mid-range motion, rather than full extension. This form of Osteoarthritis is also felt while at rest or during weather changes.


Acromioclavicular-Joint  Shoulder Posterior

Treating Osteoarthritis in the Shoulder

In the early stages, treatment of Osteoarthritis in the shoulder will focus on pain relief and reducing additional damage to the affected joint. For treatment, Dr. Skaliy may recommend over-the-counter medication, rest, physical therapy or stretching to increase range of motion and low-impact exercise to strengthen the joint.

When these initial pain-relieving steps are no longer effective, Dr. Skaliy may suggest Steroid Injections to relieve inflammation and reduce your pain.

In severe cases of Osteoarthritis of the shoulder, a physician may recommend surgeries, including:

  • Arthroscopy — invasive surgical procedure in which the physician cleans out the joint to remove any material putting undue pressure on joint nerves. This procedure may reduce pain, but will not reduce arthritis in the joint.
  • Arthroplasty — also known as joint replacement surgery, this is a highly-invasive procedure in which all or part of the joint is replaced with artificial components.

While the severity of these procedures is relative, they are both surgeries, and all surgeries come with inherent risks, possible side-effects and unknown long-term prognosis.

Because of the risks associated with surgery, Dr. Skaliy recommends minimally-invasive, nonsurgical options to treat Osteoarthritis in the shoulder. These treatments, including Stem Cell Therapy, offer real pain relief and healing without the risks and side-effects of surgery.

Stem Cell for Shoulder Pain: RESULTS

Stem Cell Therapy has been used to treat a variety of conditions that cause shoulder pain, including:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rotator Cuff Tear
  • Biceps Tendonitis
  • Ligament Sprains
  • Scapula Tendonosis

The majority of patients who received Stem Cell Therapy specifically to treat Osteoarthritis have reported outstanding results including reduced pain and improved function, leading to marked improvements in their quality of life.

One of the most exciting results of Stem Cell Therapy is the continual improvement over time. Because the stem cells continue to grow, heal and regenerate cells, patients experience ongoing increases in function and decreases in pain even years after the initial treatment.

To learn what is causing your shoulder pain and what the best treatment program for you may be, click here to make an appointment with Dr. Skaliy, or fill out the form below.


About the Author

Dr. Michael Skaliy

Throughout his career Dr. Michael Skaliy has felt that medicine is a rapidly changing field and he’s continued to stay up to date to bring the latest cutting edge therapies into his practice. Most recently, he introduced stem cell therapy and minimally invasive same day spine surgery, which is done through a small device the size of a pencil.

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