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Old 03-04-2013   #1
missoula, Montana
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 17
anyone use "rotatoreliever" for a shoulder injury?

I got outside the paddler's box on a hard brace last summer and tweaked the shoulder. Rode it out the rest of the season anyway and gave it a break for the last few months. It was doing great until i got back into the pool again...it hurts like hell, and is even worse when I wake up in the mornings.

So I did some research the other night and stumbled across this article:
Shoulder Pain Talk: Shoulder pain can kill you, seriously read this which looks like a plug BY the guy who created this Rotatoreliever thing to attract kayakers... maybe a marketing stunt, maybe just a re-post from a customer, I dunno.

Anyway, has anyone tried this?

The whole thing... the daily exercise gizmo, and the thing you wear while you sleep is $175 after shipping.

I went to goodwill today and bought a decent jumprope with bearings in the grip for $1.99. Then went to ace hardware and bought the rest of the shiny stuff in this picture for about $6.
I used an eye-bolt, some washers and a wingnut so that I can change-out the different nuts for additional or less weight etc..
So for $8 i've got a pretty similar device.

Here is the "legit one":

Here is my DIY version:

The problem is that I don't know how much the weights in the real-thing weigh...they're just numbered balls in order of when you use them, but the websites and forums seem pretty tight-lipped about the weight... probably because of DIY folks like me.

Anyway, I guess my questions are this:
a) Has anyone done this?
i. if so, does it work?
ii. also, how much do those balls weigh? (giggle if you must)
b) any doctors out there who have anything to say about the probability of this doing what it says it will do?

I tried it out today with just the washers and no nuts on there, I could definitely feel it doing something on both shoulders... even getting a good burn on my "good" one, but I can't be sure it's actually doing what it says it's supposed to be doing.

Next time I go to Goodwill I am going to keep an eye out for wrist-weight straps etc and try to build the sleep-traction bit.

Anyway, my gut instinct is that this is a somewhat gimmicky way to do basic RC rehab exercises... but an article got published in some athletic journal, so it must be a little bit legit right?

Sorry for the long post... thoughts?

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Old 03-05-2013   #2
Roy's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 682
I watched the video, and as a longtime kayaker who's dealt with shoulder issues and injuries, including surgery/rehab, here are a few thoughts:

1. If you tweaked it last summer, gave it a break for the "last few months" (all winter?) and it still "hurts like hell" just getting in a pool, then something's going on. Get it checked out by a real shoulder doc, not an internet one. Get an MRI if he recommends it.

2. There's more than one thing that can go wrong with a shoulder. This treatment looks to be geared towards a specific ailment where an impingement is blocking blood to the rotator cuff. In my case, I've dealt with labral tears, where the cartilage that forms the "socket" is torn and/or detached from the bone. The night time traction in this therapy would be exactly the *wrong* thing to do for that. Trying to rig your own traction setup without any diagnosis could make things worse!

3. That said, the rotating weight exercise looks to be the sort of thing that would be great for the rotator cuff without stressing it too much. It also looks like the DIY rig you've put together should work fine when you've got the weights dialed in. The video said it only takes 5 min a day, and showed 4 positions, so I'd say start light and work up to where you can just do each position for a minute without pain. I like the looks of it enough that I may try and incorporate something like this into my own shoulder routine, just to mix things up.

But get a real shoulder guy to look at your condition. I'm no doctor, and I don't even play one on the internet. Good luck!

I've a suggestion to keep you all occupied...learn to swim!
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Old 03-05-2013   #3
hojo's Avatar
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,234
I agree with Roy, get a PT or shoulder guy to check it out. They can then suggest a whole range of stretches and exercises to rehab it for the specific injury. My shoulders got overworked years ago and I have a few stretches and weight bearing exercises that do wonders on it.

One word of caution. A shoulder doc will often suggest surgery straight away whereas a PT is likely to suggest rehab first. I tend towards trying rehab first. In my opinion, surgery works though it's not the only option nor always the best option.
On the river, I can abandon who I am and what I've done. However brief it lasts, while on the river I am nothing important and everything insignificant. I am flotsam, and happy to be so.
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Old 03-05-2013   #4
missoula, Montana
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 17
Thanks for the input... I agree that a full-on inspection by a professional, MRI and the like are ideal and necessary. Unfortunately, legit healthcare is a luxury I do not have currently. So I am, like many others, looking for something... anything that can get me on the road to recovery, however long it may be. I hear you loud and clear that a proper diagnosis is paramount before any rehab... I may have to see if the local walk-in clinic can make any judgements and at least let me know what the likely issues is.

If I do get a proper diagnosis and end up using this device for rehab, I'll be sure to post results.

Thanks again
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Old 03-05-2013   #5
riojedi's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 191
I had a rotator cuff repair a few years back, 3 tendons plus the dreaded bicep tendon cut and joint resurfacing. Sounds like you may be having trouble sleeping, that's what finally got me into the doc. Best advice I got, unfortunately towards the end of recovery, was sleep in a reclined position. That did more for my pain then anything else.

If you don't have good access to doctors try to keep your shoulder strong to avoid atrophy. While I didn't use anything like what you have in PT the principle seems the same. Kind of like you would use a balance board for core stabilization, but for your shoulder. Keep it light.

Also the surgery sucks ass, painful and the sling you wear with a pillow to hold the correct position will jack up your neck. But fully worth it to keep paddling. Plan on 6 months of PT and 2 years to regain full strength. You will miss a season.

My surgeon said the largest danger of delaying a repair is that your muscles and tendons will get thinner and harder to repair and stay repaired. Especially as you get older.
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Old 03-09-2013   #6
Conejos Canyon & Houston, CO & TX
Paddling Since: 1979
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 84
"If I do get a proper diagnosis and end up using this device for rehab"

you will need an mri to diagnose a rotator cuff tear labrum / slap tear or any other significant injury, and surgery to repair...these can't be fixed with therapy

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