United States Patent 3659594

An apparatus for facilitating manipulation of the body of a human patient for the treatment of vertebral disorders comprises an upright support from which a pivotal arm is cantilevered and has at its ends a suspended traverse. The traverse is provided with knee-supporting shells or saddles from which the patient may be suspended head downward to permit manipulation. The traverse may also carry a roll or drum adapted to carry the patient in a bent-over condition to permit manipulation of the spine.

Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/86.1, 5/87.1
International Classes:
A61H1/02; (IPC1-7): A61F5/00
Field of Search:
128/69,68,75,83,84,24 5
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3491385POSTURAL DRAINAGE REST1970-01-27Werner
3222029Invalid lift1965-12-07Hildemann
2821406Adjustable base invalid lift1958-01-28Hoyer et al.
2650725Motor vehicle invalid lift1953-09-01Hoyer et al.
2633124Intermittent cervical traction apparatus1953-03-31Yellin
1876832Apparatus for lifting invalids1932-09-13Bancroft
1804441Vertebe stretcher1931-05-12Silva

Foreign References:
Primary Examiner:
Gaudet, Richard A.
Assistant Examiner:
Yasko J.
I claim

1. A device for facilitating treatment of vertebral disorders, comprising:

2. The device defined in claim 1, further comprising power means between said support and said arm for raising and lowering said traverse bar by swinging said arm.

3. The device defined in claim 2 wherein said power means is a hydraulic jack having a cylinder member and a piston member, one of said members being pivotally connected to said support and the other of said members being pivotally connected to said arm.

4. The device defined in claim 2 wherein said power means includes a motor.

5. The device defined in claim 1, further comprising means for mounting auxiliary body-engaging units upon said traverse bar.

6. The device defined in claim 1 wherein said support is mobile.

7. The device defined in claim 1 wherein :


My present invention relates to an apparatus for facilitating manipulation of the vertebral column of a human patient and, more particularly, to a device adapted to be used by orthopedists, chiropractors, physicians, technicians and other individuals to assist patients suffering from vertebral disorders.


In recent years, the treatment of vertebral disorders by manipulation of the spinal column or vertebral column of the neck, shoulders, legs, hips and pelvic areas of the body and various distortions of the torso have increasingly been accepted as treatments for disorders of the spinal column such as slipped disks, dislocation of the individual vertebra, excessive strain on the muscles, tendons and ligaments associated with the vertebrae and the like. The disorders which are treated in this fashion also include strained and torn ligaments of the vertebrae and muscular strains associated therewith.

The manipulations of the patient to relieve such disorders have theretofore included placing the patient upon a table and, with the patient in a prone position, so rotating the shoulders, hips, legs and twisting the torso so as to relieve the disorder and permit dislocated vertebral members to return to their original position. These practices have generally been extremely painful. Another disadvantage of the conventional technique is that, with the patient in a prone position, rotation of the torso or its appendages has the tendency to apply considerable stress to dislocated members and can lead to aggravated disorders with even greater pain than is sustained by the patient from the original disorder.


It is, therefore, the principal object of the present invention to provide an improved apparatus for facilitating manipulation of the vertebral area of the body with less pain for the patient.

Another object of this invention is to provide an apparatus of the character described facilitate manipulation of the spinal column and, especially, relieve ligament strain and slipped-disk disorders and like dislocations, and which is more conducive to use by a physician, chiropractor, technician or other personnel concerned with such orthopedic disorders.

It is also an object if this invention to provide an improved apparatus for the treatment of vertebral disorders which will involve less danger of aggravation of the disorder than heretofore.

Yet a further object of my invention is to provide an apparatus of the class described which is of relatively low costs, is of great versatility, is suitable for use with various vertebral disorders and, in addition, is simple to operate.


These objects and others which will become apparent hereinafter are attained in accordance with the present invention, with a apparatus comprising a support, generally in the form of an upright or frame, from which an arm is cantilevered at an upper location, the arm being swingable on the support and having at its free end knee-support members from which the patient can be suspended to fully relieve the spine and permit manipulation of the patient.

According to an important feature of this invention, the free end of the swingable arm is formed with a traverse or bar upon which upwardly concave shells are provided, the traverse extending horizontally. The shells are preferably saddles designed to fit beneath the knee joint of the patient and may be provided with means locking the side or leg portion adjacent the knee joint to the traverse to prevent slippage of the patient's knees from the shell. Both the shells and the retaining means, e.g. straps, can be formed with cushion or padded surfaces. Since the entire torso of the patient hangs freely downwardly, there is a complete destress of the vertebral column and the latter can be manipulated vertebral by vertebra. In this position of the patient, the torso can be twisted, rotated, flexed or otherwise manipulated proximal to the shoulders, to the hips or at any intermediate location without the danger of lockage of the return of any dislocated vertebrae. Moreover, I have found that the aforementioned vertebral disorders can be treated effectively with the patient suspended at the knee, in accordance with the present invention, by a roller which is applied to the patient's back and rotated thereagainst through, say, one-fifth to one-sixth of a rotation. The roller may be used vertebra by vertebra to restore any dislocated member into its proper position.

According to another feature of this invention, power means is provided between the support, which may comprise an upright post and the cantilevered arm for raising and lowering the latter while the patient is suspended therefrom, while locking means affixes the arm in the desired angular position with respect to its pivot. When the power means includes a fluid-responsive device, locking can be accomplished by cutting off fluid flow to and from the device. Preferably, the last-mentioned means includes a hydraulic cylinder which may be supplied by a hydraulic pump, the latter being mechanically actuated by the operator using, for example, the principles of a hydraulic jack. The adjustment may, however, also be accomplished by means of rotary hydraulic or electric motors, in which case the motor should be reversible as may be provided with controls on a support or arm actuatable by the operator and can be coupled with the arm with a transmission capable of resisting a reverse drive by the arm of the motor under the weight of a heavy patient. A suitable transmission will in this case be constituted by a worm/worm wheel arrangement.

Yet another feature of this invention resides in the provision between the cantilevered arm and the traverse of a swivel joint enabling rotation of the traverse about a vertical axis and provided with means for locking the traverse at a pre-determined orientation with respect to the vertical plane through the arm. The maintain the traverse in the proper position with respect to the free end of the arm, this connecting means and swivel arrangement may be rotatable about a horizontal axis formed on the free end of the arm and likewise provided with a lock to restrict pendulum-type swinging of the traverse. Alternatively or in addition, the traverse may be swivelable with respect to the connecting means.

Yet another feature resides in the provision of means on the traverse for supporting portions of the body independently of the knee shells described above. For example, I may suspend a support roll with a generally horizontal axis by flexible members, e.g. chains, upon the end of the traverse to provide a rest for a patient who may be bent thereafter with the roll supporting the abdomen when treatments of the patient in this position are desired. In this case, the lower half of the torso and the upper half of the torso hang on opposite sides of the roll and are destressed while the intermediate portions of the vertical column are placed under tension. Means, e.g. a sling, may be provided at the center of the traverse for carrying a head support so that tension may be provided in the neck region for manipulation of the vertebral column there.

A further feature of the invention resides in the provision of means for rollingly shifting the support so that it can be brought to the bed of a patient, moved away from the treatment area or otherwise positioned at any desired location. When a fixed support is desired, it may be mounted on the wall or on the floor.


The above and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become more readily apparent from the following description, reference being made to the accompanying drawing in which:

FIG. 1 is a side-elevational view of an embodiment of the apparatus according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a front view thereof;

FIG. 3 is a plan view of the apparatus;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a modified embodiment thereof;

FIG. 5 is a detail view of a part of the device of FIG. 4; and

FIG. 6 is a diagrammatic view of another drive for the system.


In FIGS. 1 - 3 of the drawing, I show an apparatus for facilitating the manipulation of a patient suffering from a vertebral disorder which comprises a support frame 1, having a post 2 which is mounted upon a movable carriage 3, the latter comprising a pair of forwardly extending arms 3a and 3b defining a trapezoid. A pedestal 3c along the small side of the trapezoid supports the post 2 and anchors a pair of upright, inverted-L stiffening tubes 4 which rise from the pedestal and are anchored in a yoke 4a surrounding the post 2. Wheels 3d and 3e are carried by the legs 3a and 3b at the broad base of the trapezoid while wheels 3f and 3g at the end of the pedestal 3c support the narrow base. The legs 3a and 3b are designed to be receivable beneath the bed of a patient to enable the apparatus to be used even with bedridden patients. It will be apparent that the wheels 3c - 3g may be removed when it is desired to fix the apparatus on the floor of the treatment room and that the legs 3a and 3b can be mounted on the floor by bolts or the like. Similarly, brackets may be used to fix the post 2 directly to a wall if necessary.

At the upper end of the post 2, there is provided an outwardly and forwardly extending cantilevered arm 5 which is swingably mounted on the post 2 at a horizontal pivot extending perpendicularly to the plane of the arm swing (in FIG. 2 The free end of the arm 5 is provided with a dog leg 5a downwardly.

To raise and lower the arm 5 controlledly, e.g. while a patient, represented in dot-dash lines in FIG. 4 is suspended therefrom, I provided a hydraulic jack 7, 8. The hydraulic cylinder of this jack removes a piston 7a which can be extended (FIG. 2) to elevate the arm 5 and is pivoted to the latter at 7b. The cylinder 7 is, in turn, swingably mounted at 7c between a pair of trunnions 2a and 2b on the post 2, while a hydraulic pump 8a s provided at the base of the cylinder 7. In accordance with the conventional hydraulic-jack principles, the arm 8 is swingable at 8b about an axis transverse to the axis of the cylinder 7 and is coupled at 8c with a pump piston which, upon reciprocation, forces fluid into the cylinder 7 to extend the jack and raise the arm 7. When a valve is opened, it permits draining of the cylinder 7 whereas reciprocation of the arm 8 with the valve closed extends the piston, prior to displacement thereof. It will be apparent that with reciprocation of the arm 8, the arm 5 may be set at any height, e.g. an extreme upper position as represented in dot-dash lines at 9 in FIG. 1 or at an extreme lower position as represented in solid lines in this Figure.

At its free end 5a, the arm 5 is formed with a traverse 10 in the form of a horizontal bar carrying a pair of doubly curved saddle-shaped knee supports engageable below the knee of a patient who may be supported from the traverse. The new supports 11 are horizontally spaced symmetrically on opposite sides of the median plane P in the position of the apparatus in which the bar 10 lies perpendicular to this plane, and may be cushioned to ease the pressure upon the legs of the patient. The leg is bent at the knee backwardly about the saddles 11 and can be held in place by straps inserted through the openings 11a and 11b in the walls of the saddle. The belts preferably also are padded.

The traverse 10 is integral with a sleeve 11 which, in turn, is swingably mounted upon the free end of the arm 5 and constitutes a swivel member as will be apparent hereinafter. A shaft 12a is received in the sleeve 12 and supports the latter, the sleeve being rotatable about the vertical axis of the shaft between the solid-line position illustrated in FIG. 1, in which the traverse 10 lies perpendicular to the median plane P, into a position as shown in dot-dash line at 13 which may be at right angles to the original position. The swivelability of the traverse enables twisting of the torso by the practitioner and permits him to bring the patient into the position most satisfactory for him. As described in connection with FIGS. 4 and 5, the traverse 10 may be lockable with respect to the shaft 12a at the desired position. Alternatively, the shaft 12a may be fixed to the sleeve 12 so as to be rotatable therewith, in which case a swivel is provided at 5b by the arm 5. As best seen in FIG. 3, the swivel may consist of a ball 12b rigid with the shaft 12a and rotatable in a socket formed by the arms 5b' and 5b" of a bifurcation at the swivel joint 5b. Thus rotation is permitted about an axis A (vertical axis) illustrated in FIG. 1 and the horizontal axis B represented in FIG. 3. To lock the swivel against rotation about either axis, a lever 14 and a clamping screw 14a are provided. The patient may be lifted by the arm 5 with the screw 14a in its released position so that the sleeve 12 remains vertical during elevation and descent of the arm 5. When the latter has reached its desired height, clamp 14, 14a, 5b' and 4b" is operated to lock the swivel.

The apparatus illustrated in FIGS. 1 - 3 is used by shifting the entire structure 1, for example, to the bed of a patient and inserting the patients knee over the saddles 11. The thigh or leg areas may be held in place with cushioned straps as previously described, whereupon lever 8 is reciprocated to extend the piston rod 7a of the jack 7 and raise the arm 5 to its position illustrated in FIG. 1, the clamp 14, 14a etc. having previously been loosened. The arm may then be brought into the position shown at 9 in FIG. 1. In this position, the patient hangs head downwardly and freely with complete relief of pressure on the vertebral column. At a position convenient for the doctor, the clamp 14, 14a is locked and the back of the patient worked by torso, shoulder and hip manipulation or by individual-vertebra manipulation as previously described. I have found that highly satisfactory results are obtained when the dislocated members are manipulated with the aid of a roller provided at its outer extremities with handles gripped by the practitioner and adapted to be thrust against the back of the patient while he is suspended from the apparatus. The roller may be formed with a circumferential recess at an intermediate location so as to concentrate its pressure laterally of the spinal column and gradually work dislocated members back into place. The roller may be smooth-surfaced or may be provided with projections as required. This has been found to provide considerable relief for pinched nerves and pressures arising from dislocations in a substantially painless manner and without placing the pinched portions under mechanical stress by squeezing or rubbing. The patient may, moreover, by placed in any desired position and can be pulled downwardly to provide a slight traction. After treatment, the patient may be returned to his bed or placed upon a table by lowering of the arm 5 by use of the valve 8d to drain the hydraulic-jack cylinder. The system may be used as described earlier and is illustrated in FIG. 4, with a roller arrangement upon which the patient may lie abdomen downward or a cradle or sling engageable with the head and general area to stretch the neck.

In FIG. 4, I show a modification of the system of FIGS. 1 - 3 wherein the legs 103a, 103b are provided not only with the wheels 103d and 103e, but also with friction members 103d' and 103e' similar to door stops to lock the carriage 103 against movement on the floor when the apparatus is placed in the proper position. The pedestal 103c is likewise provided with a pair of friction devices 103f' and 103g' as well as with the wheels 103f and 103g. Along the carriage, I may mount an inverted-U bar 120, e.g. via sleeves 121 having locking pins 122 which may be withdrawn to release the bar 120 or position it at various heights. The bar 120 may serve as an anchor for the legs of the patient when the patient is placed abdomen downwardly on a roller 123 suspended by chains 124 and 125 from the ends of the traverse bar 110. For this purpose, the traverse bar 110 may be provided with an eye 126 at each end as best seen in FIG. 5.

In FIG. 4, the stiffening tubes 4 of FIGS. 1 - 3 have been eliminated although hoops 104a and 104b are provided on opposite sides of the post 102 to permit the apparatus 101 to be maneuvered into position readily.

The hydraulic jack 107 is here shown to be provided with a pump plunger 108c which is reciprocable about an axis lying in the plane of the post 102 by the arm 108 while a valve handle 108d permits draining of the jack to lower the arm 105. The arm 105 carries the swivelable shaft 112a, connecting sleeve 112 and traverse 110 as previously described. The knee-engaging saddles 111 are here shown to be provided with the straps 111a while an eye 127 is provided at the center of the traverse to receive the upper block of a block-and-tackle arrangement 128, the lower block 129 of which carries a pin and head sling 130. When the patient is seated beneath the arm 105, the sling may be placed about his head and beneath his chin and raised and lowered manually by the block-and-tackle arrangement 128 or hydraulically by the jack arrangement 107, 108. The clamp 114a is here shown to be actuated by an arm 114 which, to avoid interference with the practitioner, extends along the arm and has a handle 114b located close to the post.

Frequently it is desirable to swing the patient about a vertical axis and I may provide a handle 131 directly on the traverse 110 to lock the latter at a desired position about the vertical axis. The handle 131 may here be provided with a shaft 132 whose thread 133 enables axial displacement of the shaft 132 to bring a shoe 134 into engagement with the shaft 112a which is here freely rotatable in the sleeve 112 but prevented from moving axially thereon by a head 135. Release of the screw 132 permits rotation of the traverse 110 about the vertical axis. A similar handle may be provided to permit angular orientation of the shaft 110 about a horizontal axis with respect to the sleeve 112.

In FIG. 6, I show an alternative drive for the arm 205 which is here coupled with a sector gear 240, driven by a worm 241, the latter being operated by a motor (hydraulic or electric) 242 in the post 202. The apparatus of FIGS. 4 - 6 is operated, of course, in the manner described with respect to FIGS. 1 - 3.

The improvement described and illustrated is believed to admit of many modifications within the ability of persons skilled in the art, all such modifications being considered within the spirit and scope of the invention except as limited by the appended claims.