Arthritis is a broad term used to describe joint inflammation and/or damage. It can occur in any joint, including the shoulder. People with arthritis in their shoulders may experience pain or stiffness that limits their range of motion. This leads to a common question we hear all the time: “What can be done for arthritis in the shoulder?” This question doesn’t warrant a quick blanket response.

Signs of Arthritis in the Shoulder

The pain people may experience will be felt when moving their shoulder when doing simple tasks such as lifting objects or putting on clothing.

Symptoms can include:

  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Weakness
  • Grinding sensation during movement

If diagnosed, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out what can be done for arthritis in the shoulder. The good news is that numerous treatment options are available depending on the severity and level of discomfort.

Treatment options to help combat arthritis in the shoulder:

Exercises & Stretches

One of the most beneficial things one can do to ease the pain associated with arthritis in the shoulder is regular exercise and stretching. Exercising helps keep muscles strong around the joint, while stretches help maintain flexibility and range of motion. Finding what exercise works best for you is essential, as everyone’s body is different. Generally speaking, low-impact activities like swimming, yoga, or Tai Chi have been proven to be beneficial.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a great option for those looking to manage their condition and reduce pain. A physical therapist can create a customized exercise and stretch programs specifically designed to address your shoulder’s needs. They can also recommend what type of equipment best suits you – such as shoulder braces or heat/cold packs.


Over-the-counter (OTC) medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and acetaminophen are all options for relieving joint pain associated with arthritis in the shoulder. Doctors may prescribe stronger medications or injections that help lessen inflammation and swelling in more severe cases. It’s important to note that some of these medications have side effects and should be discussed thoroughly with a doctor before taking them.


Lipogems can be an effective treatment option for shoulder arthritis. The procedure involves taking a small sample of the patient’s fat tissue and processing it to extract cells that have anti-inflammatory properties. These cells are then injected into the affected area, where they work to reduce inflammation and promote healing. By injecting these cells directly into the arthritic joint, Lipogems can help reduce pain, increase mobility, and improve overall function. Additionally, because the treatment utilizes the patient’s own cells, there is no risk of rejection or adverse reaction. Overall, Lipogems offers a safe and effective alternative to surgery for patients with shoulder arthritis who are looking to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy

Platelet-rich plasma therapy is the process of drawing blood from the arm and injected into the problem area. The platelets in the blood contain growth factors that act on tissues to stimulate healing and encourage cells in the body to migrate to the injured area. To improve accuracy and maximize results, the injection is performed under the guidance of an ultrasound.


Surgery is usually the last resort if other treatments are ineffective in relieving pain from arthritis in the shoulder. The type of surgery depends on what type of arthritis you have, what joint has been affected, and what level of damage the joint has sustained. Common surgeries for shoulder arthritis include arthroscopic debridement and bursectomy, among others. Ultimately it’s up to your doctor to determine what surgical procedure is best for you.

Living with arthritis can be difficult, but plenty of treatment options are available depending on the severity and level of discomfort. Through exercise, physical therapy, medication, and, if necessary, surgery, it is possible to find relief from the pain associated with arthritis in the shoulder.

If you are experiencing any severe symptoms or pain due to arthritis, we can help. Make an appointment today and experience the Access Sports Medicine difference!