Symptoms, gymnastics and treatment of osteochondrosis of the shoulder joint

Unpleasant sensations in the shoulder, which “respond” to the spine or shoulder blade, are perceived by many of us as the consequences of an uncomfortable posture in a dream or awkward movement on public transport. Unfortunately, sometimes discomfort becomes real pain and makes you think: perhaps we are no longer talking about temporary disorders, but about some kind of diagnosis.
Your shoulder hurts – perhaps it is osteochondrosis of the shoulder joint

When any of our organ, muscle or joint is affected by an ailment, the pain is not always local. It can spread, sometimes quite far.

Shoulder pain can occur with angina. Or when blood circulation in the vessels of the neck and collar zone is impaired.

There is another disease in which the shoulder can sometimes hurt very badly, almost unbearable. This is brachial osteochondrosis.

Symptoms of osteochondrosis in the shoulder joint

Here are the main signs by which the doctor will suspect osteochondrosis of the shoulder joint:

  • shoulder pain most often appears at night, and becomes stronger in the morning;
  • raising your arms up and spreading them apart is difficult due to pain;
  • any movement of the sore shoulder causes, if not pain, then a feeling of discomfort.

How severe can the pain be with shoulder osteochondrosis? It all depends on the person’s age, concomitant diagnoses and the severity of the disease itself.

Causes of osteochondrosis of the shoulder

The main cause of osteochondrosis of the shoulder joint is excessive physical exertion.

Therefore, the greatest risk group is athletes, movers and people who are addicted to bodybuilding.

Among other reasons, doctors call:

  • a sedentary life with a minimum of physical activity;
  • constant work at the computer;
  • posture disorders;
  • injuries to the shoulder and / or back, especially if treatment has not been given or completed;
  • infectious diseases (osteochondrosis of the shoulder can be complicated by genital, streptococcal infections or tuberculosis);
  • arthrosis (in the elderly).


Osteochondrosis of the shoulder joint outwardly almost does not manifest itself. The affected shoulder does not swell, its appearance does not change. The doctor will make a preliminary diagnosis based on how the patient describes the shoulder pain. In addition, the diseased hand is sometimes slightly colder than the healthy one, and its reflexes increase.

The key diagnostic method is an x-ray or ultrasound of the shoulder. Since the essence of osteochondrosis is inflammation of the cartilage tissue, such a study will immediately confirm the alleged diagnosis.


As soon as the diagnosis is confirmed, the doctor will definitely prescribe treatment, taking into account the severity of the disease and the general condition of the patient. If you ignore the disease, the inflammation will spread and complications will begin:

  • damage to the spine in the neck;
  • dizziness, vision and hearing problems;
  • spikes in blood pressure;
  • ear pain;
  • snoring during sleep;
  • dental problems (due to poor blood supply);
  • violation of the sensitivity of facial muscles and tissues, up to necrosis (death).

How and what to treat

The method of treatment is complex, it acts in three directions at once. It relieves pain, eliminates inflammation and restores mobility to the joint. The first two goals are achieved by taking medications, for example, based on ibuprofen (it relieves pain and reduces inflammation at the same time).

In case of severe pain, it is advisable to immobilize the hand (the simplest option is a kerchief bandage). Special fixing splints are also used.

If the disease is severely advanced, your doctor may prescribe corticosteroid injections. These are hormonal drugs that quickly relieve inflammation and restore blood flow. However, they have many side effects, so drugs in this group are used with great care.


Physiotherapy exercises will help to restore the former ease of movement to the shoulder. Exercise is prescribed when acute pain has passed and inflammation has subsided. In no case should you do gymnastics through pain.

The simplest exercises:

  1. Stand, hands on the waist, move the sore shoulder back and forth, then in a circle.
  2. Place the affected hand on the opposite shoulder. With your healthy hand, slowly, without jerking, pull up the bent elbow of the sore arm.
  3. Put your hands in a lock behind your back. The sore hand should come from above. With your good hand, gently pull the stretched hand down.


Local treatment is the application of two types of ointments and creams. Some remedies relieve pain and reduce inflammation. This group includes various gels and creams based on ketoprofen (for example, Fastum-gel or Ketonal ).

Others warm, dilate blood vessels, and improve blood flow. Finalgon is very effective in this respect.

Warming agents should be used starting with minimal amounts, checking the reaction (irritation, too strong a burning sensation). A good effect is given by applying any cream to the skin first, and only then – a warming agent.

Read also:

CT of the spine: what it is and how it is performed.

How myelography is performed and what it shows.

How to use Diclofenac injections for osteochondrosis – read here.

Folk remedies

To relieve pain and reduce inflammation:

  • take fresh leaves of lilac, mint and lemon balm, mash slightly;
  • apply a thick layer on the sore shoulder;
  • wrap with cling film;
  • wear warm clothes or just wrap your shoulder.

Such a compress will work great after 15 minutes, but ideally you need to keep it on your shoulder for at least an hour.

The blood flow will be enhanced by a warm horseradish compress. Its root should be coarsely grated, wrapped with gauze, warmed up and applied to the shoulder, then wrapped.

Very rarely, swelling may appear on the shoulder. Apply fresh white cabbage leaves to your shoulder from time to time to remove them.

Alcohol tincture of calendula can be used to rub the affected shoulder.

Treatment of osteochondrosis of the shoulder joint should be systematic and complete. The disease itself will never go away.

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