I've had shoulder issues since I was about 12. (3 surgeries-- 1 for a torn labrum, 2 to clean out scar tissue) About 6 years ago I had an MRI done which showed that I had deteriorating cartilage in my right (throwing/everything) shoulder. I'm 23 now and athletics are a very important part of my life as I coach basketball and baseball. I used to be able to just handle the pain but recently there has a pretty significant amount of popping and cracking whenever i make a motion with my right arm (primarily when my elbow is lifted above my shoulder). When I had the MRI a few years back, the only option was to take cartilage from my knee and place it in my shoulder. An operation that wasn't even guaranteed to work. I was wondering if there have been any medical advancements that I could pursue now, 6 years later. I know I should probably just go to my surgeon, but that would mean co-pays and traveling home (I live 2 hours from my surgeon) and MRI costs, etc.
There are several non-surgical approaches that may be useful. Conventionally, judicious use of NSAID's and physical therapy to mobilize your joint and to strengthen the supporting structures. I also have seen significant relief with visco-supllpementaion using hyaluronan injections although this may not be covered by your insurance. With regard to alternative treatment, i have seen success with acupuncture for degenerative arthritis of the shoulder. I also recommend the use of supplements such as glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate and Omega 3 fish oil.
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