Monday, May 25, 2009

Rotating Your Shoulders to Better Health

I have documented my shoulder health over the years plenty of times, and although my shoulders feel great, from time to time I do have a slight "tickle" of pain. At the hint of pain, most times I will pick up the phone and call my massage therapist and get in a session of performing some deep tissue work on my hips and scapular region. But, that can get costly and the foam roller--well, sometimes is not as good as a set of pointy little fingers from a women who rants about bad dates with men. Ouch...

So I received a tool that is designed to help me and many, many others that suffer from slight shoulder pain. I received The Rotater yesterday and could not wait to open it up. I decided I'd write a review for the guys at The Rotater, explaining my thoughts and opinions on the product.

So here we go:

Basically, The Rotator is designed to increase range of motion at the shoulder joint--mainly external and internal rotation--and aid in rotator cuff rehabilitation. When I took the product out of the box, it looked like a huge boomerang that measured about 15 inches across one side and about 13-14 inches on the other side. Mine included the "Strong Arm" band--which I will get into later; and a Velcro wrist strap. The product also came with instructions and a DVD. I thought that teh instructional material was very well made and I watched it thoroughly. The website also includes many videos of The Rotater in action, so it is pretty easy to follow and get the hang of this device.

Once I watched the DVD, it was time to test the device out. It took some getting used to, but once I had gotten my arm into place, the stretch felt magnificent. My favorite stretch is externally rotating the shoulder at various angles. Stretching the shoulder externally is probably the most underrated technique for shoulder pain sufferers. Once the torso is braced and the arm is held out from the body (with elbow flexed at 90 degrees), the stretch is the most beneficial for the internal rotators of the shoulder joint. These are the muscles that are most prone to pronation (typically for bench pressers, shoulder pressers, and desk warmers).

The product seemed solid---really capable of bringing back a big shoulder. The key is to stretch the rotators at multiple angles. The DVD stresses this and is the golden gate to a pain-free shoulder.

The "Strong Arm" band attaches to the top of the device, and its main purpose is to strengthen the internal rotators. The subscapularis is frequently excluded during rotator cuff work, so this band does a good job of making the job easier to include this muscle into the picture.

What are some disadvantages of this product? While I don't think this is a disadvantage because the product is top-notch and innovative for the rehabilitative community, I think there are some challenges that factor in. For instance, some users with shorter limbs may have a hard time affixing their arm into the device because it may be too large. However, the strap is adjustable so it is simply a matter of afixxing the arm properly, and maintaining the right amount of "pull" to warrant the proper stretch. No problems, as the user can adjust it accodingly.

The product is accompanied with great tutorials (DVD and instructions), so I think users will learn the proper usage of the device quickly. For instance, bracing the torso and keeping the chest erect during external stretches is key. Again, this is up to the users. I think the product itself has adequate instructional material.

All in all, it is a great piece. The Rotater is going into my bag of tricks along with my massage stick, foam roller, and TheraCane. I think it is a product developed with the goal of restoring function, and ultimately, increasing the quality of life for all active people and athletes. You can pick up your Rotater here. Your shoulders will thank you for it!

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