Shoulder Osteoarthritis

Posted by josephmike @josephmike, Sep 21, 2017

I have mild shoulder osteoarthritis it’s not really painful but a lot of discomfort. I went to an Orthopedist and he suggested shoulder replacement surgery. I decided to get a second opinion and the second doc said I didn’t need my shoulder replaced. The second Orthopedist said the current data does not indicate Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) helps osteoarthritis. Does anyone have any experience with PRP injections or stem cell injections?

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Hello @josephmike, welcome to Connect. You pose a question that has been a bit of a “hot topic” recently on Connect.

Mayo Clinic hosted an hour long webinar all about stem cells. You can find that video here, I reviewed the webinar, and although it does not directly address stem cells and shoulders, another Mayo Clinic member did post a question about that:

“Will this work for shoulders?”

Answer: “Yes, we currently perform treatments on the shoulder. If you would like to seek consultation at Mayo Clinic, call 844-276-2003. You can also visit our Regenerative Medicine Consult Service page for more information:”

I would like to invite @jpdunlap and @peterauen to this conversation because they posted the very same question as you regarding stem cell therapy and shoulder issues. @jpdunlap has also been told they need a shoulder replacement but is seeking more opinions and may be able to share some similar experiences with you.

You may also find it worth your time to read through the following discussion, While it may not be centered around shoulders, it does have many members talking about stem cell treatments, treatment centers, and other aspects of the treatment. I do recommend calling the above number as they can answer basic questions about it and also offer information on valid treatment centers that may be near you.

@josephmike, you mentioned that the osteoarthritis is mild and not painful currently, did your physician explain why he or she thought that it would be a good idea to proceed with a replacement anyways or the benefits of doing so?


Thank you for your quick reply. I consulted an Orthopedist last December 2016 for intermittent shoulder pain. The x-rays indicated a narrowing of the glenohumeral joint. He gave me a steroid injection and asked me to return six weeks later. I had mild relief but the soreness returned. On my follow up visit his words were ” I am a candidate for shoulder replacement.”, maybe he said this because I am 65 years old. I have no doubt I have osteoarthritis but the pain is intermittent and I still have full range of motion. I’ve had x-rays and an MRI. Both of these tests indicate I have osteoarthritis but before I have my shoulder replaced, it’s going to have to get much worse.


My primary advised me to not have surgery unless my daily activities get really limited. My bone doc said I don't nulled surgery yet.


I agree with the above moderator. His last sentence of what more or less constituted in needing a shoulder replacement?
My sister is a physician well versed in orthopedics, our brother 59 then who was so very bad off had a total rotator cuff repaired and that was tough one. His very good Ortho Dr. didn't jump the gun for replacement at all even with some arthritis and bad shoulder in general. He's doing great 62 it's unreal what a good Dr. can do..acts like a 25 year old! He also had good PT faithful with going.
I feel some Drs. just go right for it and it's not the right thing it is the last very last thing to do.
Coming from a medical perspective with my sister [and myself] being in the medical field PT is a great option. I have horrible pain at 65 as well with flare ups. I had only 2 injections in my bad shoulder knowing getting to many can thin out the tendons and ligaments and it didn't do much so why even do it as it takes a toll on the joint. I lost a lot of muscle and much subcutaneous fat as very thin chested small woman it made me kind of frail – in fact very much so. I lost so much muscle too it's bad..I shrunk!
You see my son died and I sat for several years without doing much at all it was so hard with that loss. I had prior pain when my mother died in 2014 and was lifting her repeatedly as a daughter/hospice nurse so it was in 2015 I began seeing a diff Ortho Dr., the one I have now for my very painful right shoulder. I'm right handed and use that arm more. This was going on now but the flare ups take me down to my knees in pain. My Dr. had done did many MRI's of diff joints too said it's a mild torn rot. cuff and a lot of bursitis due to that cuff..not too much arthritis but some for your age which surprised me. He is a "shoulder guy" but does other joint surgeries as well. He's just great but said since your whole body seems to have pain as well – it does and did and said I would never give you shoulder surgery even in all that pain it's not a bad tear at all which but bursitis is painful- and then said there really is nothing more I can do [he did mention platelet rich protein] but it's iffy he said on many patients but some it's a success… if it'll work and $$$ out of pocket. I went to see a see a Rhuem. Dr. I did and all she did was give me a long list of albeit bloodwork albeit very thorough work ups but no diagnosis maybe a non specific "inflammatory arthritis" this put me on a drug [too many details on that] and after a month last day I was feverish and ill] she said STOP it now. Saw her later as a follow up but nothing more said but CBD. I must try that when things get bad but kind of scared as a scared of drug reactions. even though doubt there are any. Just not ready for that yet.
I said to her "can PT help?" [I was the one who offered since the Dr. didn't] my Rheum. Dr. said "yes..good idea!" I rolled my eyes and went back to PT after stopping but it helped until I had to seek help for depression and re-joined my grief group and therapist. We all know makes the body itself not work well to say the least with depression. So I' now going back to PT and the therapy and group as my goal today. Wooo hoo. ****I really think the Drs. would begin with basics as my sister would do and it works as she is well known and has had PT for a few bad tears and a fall and it bright he back to normalcy. I'm blessed she's in my life. My itsy bitty shoulder is so far worse then it was when I stopped PT.
Please try it. I had such agony and still it's hard to shower my hair and do many things many times. Advil and the like and my gastric problems hard and painful after taking but when on day 3 of Tramadol it helped me move! That was a few days ago and everything hurt.. all joints flare up so this is a good thing doesn't take away pain but maybe 75% ..I'll take it AND the PT as in my opinion again the first good option as you have range of motion I do not and in no way I can ask my sis and her Dr. friends all of them and in no way would they say you need a shoulder replacement. One Rx script to from your Dr. and find a good local place and go twice a week I just know it can help and hope you see this. I'm just a nurse retired due to my mom's care and then dad. But do know a lot from my my dr. and sis. Hoping this helps and I'm only giving you my whole story and FYI my flare ups are mainly right shoulder but other joints too. Off to find a diff Rheumatologist who can give me some answers. Sorry for typo's wish I had my laptop with voice writing. And sorry so long.


Marian. Thanks for this. Bone doctor gave me 4-5 exercises that I try to fo daily to strengthen musvle—-bone on bone at joint. I do have ok movement, enough for light gym weights..mow yard…lifting items. Anyway thanks again.


For what it's worth…

I had/have severe arthritis in both shoulders, in particular at the AC joint – connects the top of the shoulder with the collarbone. Extremely painful, severely limited activities and messed up sleep quality. Cortisone injections helped to varying degrees but were only temporary. Ortho doc did surgery in early May of the left to fix a torn tendon and remove the arthritic spurs on the left. Have 2 months PT remaining. then we'll do a similar surgery on the right shoulder. He did not mention a shoulder replacement for my situation, even though arthritic spurs do grow back.

In some cases, a shoulder replacement may not be necessary.

As for arthritis in my left hip, they're talking replacement. Ick.

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