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"My shoulder hurts when I reach for a gallon of milk. What's wrong with me?"

Have you felt shoulder pain and can't raise your arm above your shoulders? Most often, the cause is not a massive rotator cuff tear, but wear and tear on muscles and tendon, said Dr. Chad Weber, an orthopedic surgeon at Orthopedic Associates of SW Ohio.

"Most patients don't have a history of injury but a gradual onset of symptoms after the age of 40 that gets worse with activity," Dr. Weber. "As you age, the shoulder joint is more vulnerable to micro-tears.

Surgery is not automatic. There are conservative treatments to try first---physical therapy, anti-inflammatories and cortisone injections—which are often successful.

But surgery is needed to repair acute tears in patients with sports injuries or those who may fall on an outstretched are – but don't catch themselves. "This acceleration and deceleration can produce a big tear," he said.

During arthroscopic surgery, Dr. Weber looks into the shoulder and decides what must be done: repair the rotator cuff, fix torn cartilage or remove bone spurs, for example. "Then we repair everything that needs to be repaired," he said.

But the surgery is just the starting point. "Half of the success rate depends on patients doing four to six months of therapy to prevent stiffness and get back their muscle strength. Our goal is to eliminate their pain so they can return to full physical activity," said Dr. Weber.

If you have shoulder pain that won't go away, you can schedule an appointment in one of our offices to discuss your options.

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