Me and The Rotater—A Success Story
Imagine not being able to:
- Towel dry your back.
- Take off or put on a sweater over your head.
- Reach for the butter dish on the rear refrigerator shelf.
- Grab the last sock hiding in the back of the dryer.
That’s what it’s like having bilateral “frozen shoulder” and that’s what I began living with back in early spring of 2010.
Like many others with frozen shoulder, I initially thought I must have somehow injured my arms, back or shoulders so I began limiting use of those areas. When the pain grew increasingly sharp and went bilateral, I sought medical help.
Physical therapy, while it answered my questions and concerns and provided some needed instruction on exercises, didn’t really increase my function or decrease my pain. Evidently frozen shoulder goes through three stages: freezing, frozen and thawing. My shoulders were still in the “freezing” stage so relief could be several months ahead.
My therapist and my research on the Internet convinced me that, since there was no injury underlying the condition, it was important for me to maintain as much flexibility, use of the shoulders/upper arms and rotation as possible throughout the process. Unfortunately, with both shoulders affected, many of the standard exercises weren’t as helpful as they might have been.
Thank heavens for my discovery of The Rotater. In therapy, the trained therapist could manipulate my arm to keep/increase rotation but on my own I wasn’t able to do that very well at all. Therapy, at $80/session, was getting expensive yet I knew I needed to keep up the rotational manipulation so that when the “thawing” began I would still have retained as much shoulder/arm function as possible.
The Rotater allows me to work with the limited function of my shoulders to continue exercising my arms and shoulders. Even with both shoulders involved, the Rotater device permits easy stretching and holding to get a “good” rotation. While the device looks “simple,” this is not a “one trick pony” with one stretch only; you can use The Rotater you’re your own body to rehab your shoulder with internal and external rotation in several positions.
The online support was great and the many videos demonstrating use of The Rotater and invaluable. I’d also suggest folks (at least initially) do the exercises with The Rotater while standing in front of a mirror. After watching the videos it’s important, I think to get the “feedback” from watching yourself in the mirror; without that feedback it’s more difficult to tell if you’re keeping your body in the right position or holding on to good posture (not “lifting” or “shrugging” the shoulders).
I was concerned that The Rotater would require a “good” arm/shoulder to make the exercises work properly but the device works with your body at the stage it is in rehabilitation—and in my case, it wasn’t a very high functioning level initially.
While, almost 12 months later, I still have frozen shoulders, the process is now in the “thawing” stage and I am pleased to have not lost too much muscle tone or flexibility in the past year, despite the limitations of having two frozen shoulders. My range of motion continues to increase and I look forward to the day when I can reach for a soup can on the back kitchen shelf without thinking twice!
I credit my use of The Rotater for retaining my flexibility and muscle tone as I’m emerging from a year?long physical challenge. When I get back to my usual physical activities, I’ll keep using The Rotater, too—I’m not going to quit something that’s working so well!
T. D. – Paradise, California