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Shoulder Pain? How Dr. Chris Mellano Can Help You Find Real Relief

Dr. MellanoIf you suffer from chronic shoulder pain, then you know how difficult it is to reach for a bag of groceries or swing a golf club. You may even feel pain during routine activities like combing your hair or sleeping.

“Unlike the hip joint, which is a true deep ball and socket joint, the shoulder joint is often compared to a golf ball and tee (shallow socket),” explains Dr. Chris Mellano. “Because of this anatomy the shoulder is one of the most moveable joints in the body, so it’s at great risk for injury. I see a lot of shoulder pain from osteoarthritis or tears in the rotator cuff, a group of muscles and tendons that surround your shoulder joint to keep it in place.”

Dr. Mellano is an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in shoulder and hip replacements.

“Shoulder replacement surgery is a very good option to provide pain relief, and restore shoulder range of motion and function,” says Dr. Mellano. “Patients previously limited by shoulder problems can get back on the golf course or tennis court.”

“Many people over 50 suffer needlessly from shoulder pain that limits their daily activities.”

Shoulder replacement surgery has two broad categories: A standard shoulder replacement, best indicated for shoulder arthritis (bone-on-bone), is where the ball is replaced with metal and the socket is replaced with plastic. A “reverse” shoulder replacement is where the position of the metal ball and plastic socket are switched.

“The reverse shoulder replacement is an option for a painful and weak shoulder from a torn, irreparable rotator cuff tear with arthritis,” says Dr. Mellano.

“The nice thing about recovery is that you can maintain much of your independence,” says Dr. Mellano. “Typically patients perform simple exercises at home and with a therapist and wear an arm sling for six weeks. Within three months they have resumed normal activities.”

Dr. Mellano also specializes in a new approach to hip replacement

New Approach for Hip Replacement Means Faster Recovery for Patients

Traditionally, hip replacement surgery is performed using a posterior approach, with the patient lying on one side. But there’s a newer approach called the anterior approach, where the patient lies on their back.

A total hip replacement is an overwhelmingly successful surgery, regardless of where the incision is made. Perhaps the most important factor of a successful hip replacement is placing the ball and socket components in the correct position. “The anterior-approach allows me to be more precise in positioning the components,” explains Dr. Mellano. “While the patient is on his/her back we can use an x-ray of the hip and computer software that allows us to put the new hip in with more accuracy.”

The Problem of Dislocation

Dislocation can happen after hip replacement surgery when the hip components are not placed in the right rotation. “When the components are properly positioned there is less concern for short term problems such as dislocation of the hip joint after surgery,” says Dr. Mellano. “Furthermore, we know that a hip replacement will last longer if the components are positioned properly so accuracy in the operating room is really essential.”

Dislocation is why patients are given so many restrictions after surgery. But this is not necessary with the anterior approach.

“There’s a recent clinical study that showed patients who had received anterior approach hip replacements recovered faster,” says Dr. Mellano. “They did not need a walker for more than a week or two and were back at work more quickly.”

Solves the Side Effect of Leg Length

The anterior approach can also prevent another side effect of hip replacement surgery: one leg being shorter than the other.

“The most common complaint after hip replacement surgery is that patients may feel one leg to be longer than the other,” says Dr. Mellano. “The anterior approach allow us to match leg length perfectly using X-ray so patients are less likely to have this complaint.”

If you’re suffering from hip pain and a decrease in mobility, ask your primary care physician about over-the-counter and prescription pain relief or physical therapy. If these treatments fail to provide relief or an increase in your mobility, then you may consider hip replacement surgery.

“I want people to know that while I specialize in the anterior approach for hip replacement, there’s certainly nothing wrong with the posterior approach when it’s performed by a surgeon who is an expert in the procedure,” says Dr. Mellano. “Studies show that both operations provide equal results over the long term when performed correctly. I tell patients to pick the surgeon they’re comfortable with and trust him or her to select the right approach for your operation.”

For more information, visit the Orthopedic Surgical Specialists website at There you’ll find out more about Dr. Mellano and his colleagues as well as see videos that explain joint replacement procedures in detail.

5 Tips for Healthier Hips

1. Maintain a healthy weight.
2. Strengthen muscles to reduce joint stress, especially your abdominal, back and inner thigh muscles.
3. Stretch daily to keep joints, ligaments and tendons flexible.
4. Enjoy regular low-impact exercise such as walking, bicycling and swimming
5. Use an ice pack throughout the day for joint pain.