This time, the correct diagnosis: osteoarthritis.
Short of shoulder replacement surgery, which is only an option in extreme cases, there are no remedies. Rather, there is pain management.
Pain management sounds very dramatic, but it’s really simple though it involves a commitment. Good stretching, regular exercise, occupational therapy, anti-inflammatory drugs and some traditional treatments such as acupuncture are the principal options. For some people, glucosamine is a viable option as well; the doctor said that if after taking it for 2 weeks I experience no improvement, then it will not be an effective therapy. I am a very bad pill-taker, but the discomfort is compelling me to pop a couple of naproxen twice daily.
I am not a newcomer to arthritis, but my previously diagnosed joints produce a murmur compared to the hot holler in my shoulder and neck. Osteoarthritis tends to afflict those over 50 or is often the aftermath of an injury; this is certainly the cause of the arthritis in my knees, as I damaged them from a bad fall when I was a teenager. But my shoulder? I have strained my shoulder while gardening on occasion, but didn’t think anything of it.
I am philosophical about the diagnosis. In some ways, I am relieved that it is not the rotator cuff damage the doctor and I had considered a possibility. I am relieved that it is not a tumor – a friend had back pain and doctors discovered a tumor in her spine which was removed, causing temporary blindness due to the spine trauma. Ew. I am fortunate, as no bones are broken or even fractured. I am comforted to know that millions of people live very long and reasonably active lives with osteoarthritis. I am lucky that I am not overweight because this apparently contributes to the pain. And in a way, I am intrigued as I have never had any health problems; it’s interesting to me.