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HealthFirst: In-home rotator cuff therapy

March 8, 2011 7:49:59 AM PST
(03/03/11) -- We've been talking about products that are made in America this week, but how about this? A Michigan invention that may make shoulder pain go away. HealthFirst reporter Leslie Toldo introduces the Traverse City doctor who invented the RotatoReliever and to a man who says it definitely helped him.

It has the potential to help a lot of people. An estimated 40 million Americans have shoulder pain, and the majority of that pain is rooted in the rotator cuff.

When Bruce Fraser hurt his while doing a little sledge hammer demo on his cottage up north, he knew right away what it was.

"The problem was I couldn't sleep at night. I mean, I hurt my right shoulder and I always slept on my right side," Fraser said. " So I was having tremendous difficulty sleeping at night. Several relatives and, you know,  family members had torn rotator cuffs. They're like, yup, you got all the symptoms. I know exactly what you did."

So Bruce did what so many of us do when we come up with our own diagnosis. He started Googling, and that's where he found the RotatoReliever.

 

"We found that, basically, this relatively simple, in some ways, common sense approach has been remarkably effective," said Dr. Mike Carroll.

Carroll's invention is a two-part, 40-day, 40-night program. It starts with an apparatus worn by the patient at night to adjust arm position.

"The reason that is, is because they're, essentially, pinching off one of the key muscles of the rotator cuff, and it doesn't like to be pinched," Carroll said.

The rotator cuff is a group of four small muscles deep-down around your shoulder. Stopping the pressure is key to stopping the pain.

"The first night, I slept great. And when I woke up the next morning, I noticed a big difference," Fraser said.

But that was just part one. Each day for about five minutes, Bruce did a series of exercises with the RotatorReliever equipment.

"One of our goals was to be how can we get some way to strengthen the shoulder without strengthening the right muscles, the deepest muscles of the shoulder and not strengthen all the other muscles," Carroll said.

"RotatoReliever is going to accomplish the same thing as if I went to a doctor and did a therapy. Same thing. The difference is I get to take the RotatoReliever home with me and I get to keep it," Fraser said.

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