Local skiers create new product to improve back pain
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — If there is a problem and a mediocre way to address it, most people will accept that subpar solution and move on with their lives. But not Cam Smith and Dom Rainville.
The problem was clear. The pair of Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Alpine FIS skiers suffered from nagging back pain brought on by competitive skiing.
The solution wasn’t quite sufficient. Smith spent nine weeks going to a masseuse, who always began with releasing his tight psoas muscle, which connects the spine to the femur. Both Smith and Rainville bought the existing psoas-release tool, but neither was satisfied.
So, when the pandemic gave both of them ample time to learn, brainstorm and innovate, they came up with a new psoas-release tool, Pso Much Better, a tool that has adjustable and angled heads to better reach the psoas of people of all sizes.
The pair were supported and backed by Smith’s father Bill, who offered the financial assistance and business know-how once the pair proved the product was worthwhile. He encouraged his son and Rainville to use their downtime to their advantage — a piece of advice that neither of them thought would turn into something like this.
“I told (Cam), this is the greatest opportunity for self improvement that will exist in your lifetime,” Bill said. “We’re all locked down. We can’t do anything, we can’t go anywhere, so we should do something.”
Weeks of phone calls, a few design classes and a 3D printer later, they were churning out prototypes. After dozens of changes over the summer, they landed on the products they have now, which include an adjustable board and multiple heads to focus on different parts of the body.
The final product, which is now available for purchase, is different from the existing product, which was one piece and one shape and size for everyone. Additionally, the Pso Much Better isn’t limited to the psoas muscle but can also be used for applying pressure to the neck and glutes.
“Everyone is a different size,” Cam said. “A 100-pound women is a lot different than a 200-pound football player. A one-size-fits-all approach flat out doesn’t work for different-sized people.”
The original tool, the Pso Rite, was also straight rather than angled. The angled approach on Pso Much Better mimics a masseuse’s motion and avoids pinning the intestines at the same time.
Smith and Rainville sent the product to a chiropractor in Florida to get approval from a medical professional.
“This chiropractor was initially very skeptical when we sent him a prototype,” Bill said. “A week later, we received back this very lengthy email. He said, ‘I’ve never seen a product that works so well.’”
Next, they sent the product to Wendy Puckett, owner of Steamboat Pilates and Fitness, who has tested it with her clients. Pso Much Better is already approved by athletes, including River Radamus, a World Cup Alpine skier, who gushed about the product on his Instagram.
A few weeks into their new business venture, Smith and Rainville are already seeing just how vicious the business world is.
According to a post on the Pso Much Better Instagram page, the owner of the original design is already showing signs of acknowledging his competition. The video says that the owner of Pso Rite went to the Vail Ski Club and offered free products to the club.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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