The first treatments for osteoarthritis, including osteoarthritis of the shoulder, do not involve surgery. These treatments include:
Resting the shoulder joint. This could mean that the person with arthritis has to change the way he moves the arm while performing the activities of daily living. For example, the person might wear clothing that zips up the front instead of clothing that goes over the head. Or the person might prop up hairdryers instead of holding them up for long periods of time.
Taking over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or aspirin. These drugs, also called NSAIDS, will reduce inflammation and pain. Check with your doctor to make sure you can take these drugs safely.
Performing physical therapy as assigned by the doctor.
Performing range-of-motion exercises. These exercises are used as an attempt to increase flexibility.
Applying moist heat.
Applying ice to the shoulder. Ice is applied for 20 minutes two or three times a day to decrease inflammation and pain.
Using other medications prescribed by the doctor. These might include injections of corticosteroids, for example.
Taking the dietary supplements glucosamine and chondroitin. Many people claim relief with these supplements. Evidence is conflicting as to whether they really help. You should discuss using these with your doctor because the supplements may interact with other drugs.