Encouraged by doctors to exercise regularly, a legion of running, swimming and biking Baby Boomers are flouting the limits of the middle-aged body's abilities and causing a number of injuries in the process.
They need treatment for cartilage and ligament damage, tendinitis, arthritis, bursitis and stress fractures. The phenomenon even has a name in medical circles: Boomeritis.
The Ticker recently talked with a Traverse City physician who suffered his own shoulder pain and came up with an innovative device to alleviate the suffering of others with shoulder problems.
Dr. Michael Carroll, who in 2005 co-founded Creekside Clinic, had shoulder pain caused by problems with his rotator cuff. Pain kept him from sleeping soundly, and one sleepless night about six-and-a-half years ago, he took his arm, held it down and noticed that it felt better.
Using bandages, he made a makeshift traction device to keep his shoulder and arm in a down position. After a few days of wearing using the crude bandage contraption, his pain practically vanished. There are some 48 million Americans who suffer shoulder pain,” says Carroll. “This program is really, really good for rotator cuff injuries.”
Carroll decided to develop his idea into a brace and design an exercise program. After testing the two together he eventually presented the positive findings to the American College of Sports Medicine in 2006.
“Getting a product to market takes a great deal of time, money and sweat,” says Carroll. “Every single step of the process is harder than I thought it would be.”
His resulting system, which he named ROTATORELIEVER, is designed to offer gentle traction to keep from pinching off blood flow to the rotator cuff area while lying down.
Carroll markets the system through rotatoreliever.com, where it sells for $129.95 with a 30-day money back guarantee. In the first 10 weeks, he’s sold 325 of the easy-to-use systems.
His is no small market. Led by Baby Boomers – loosely defined as the 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 – sports injuries have become the No. 2 reason for visits to a doctor's office nationwide, just behind the common cold, according to a 2003 survey by National Ambulatory Medical Care.
A Bureau of Labor Statistics study says infirmities associated with the athletic activities of middle-aged adults were the source of 488 million days of restricted work in 2002. When the Consumer Product Safety Commission examined emergency-room visits in 1998, it discovered that sports-related injuries to Baby Boomers had risen by 33 percent since 1991 and amounted to $18.7 billion in medical costs.
Are you one already afflicted by Boomeritis? Orthopedic surgeon Peter McAndrews will present a seminar from 6 to 8 p.m. on Nov. 8, at Munson Community Health Center. He’ll offer tips on how to keep athletes playing past age 50 and address issues related to Achilles tendons, elbow pain, and rotator cuff problems. The seminar is free; registration is requested. To register, call 1-888-838-9160 or visit munson healthcare.org.