An artificial shoulder replacement is not the only treatment available for osteoarthritis of the shoulder. Once the diagnosis is made, your doctor may suggest several treatments to ease your pain and delay the artificial shoulder replacement. Like any arthritic condition, osteoarthritis of the shoulder may respond to anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen. The pain may also respond to acetaminophen (Tylenol® Arthritis Extended Relief).
Orthopaedic surgeons are using some of the newer medications such as glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate more commonly today. These medications may be effective in helping reduce the pain in osteoarthritis of all joints.
Physical therapy may be suggested to regain as much of the motion in the joint and strength in the shoulder muscles as possible before undergoing a shoulder replacement. An injection of cortisone into the shoulder joint may give temporary relief. Cortisone is a powerful anti-inflammatory medication that can ease the inflammation and reduce the pain, possibly for several months. Most surgeons will limit the number of cortisone shots in any joint to two or three. If the shots fail to provide any lasting relief for several weeks to several months, your doctor may suggest surgery to replace the shoulder.