Title:
Equipment to assist the carrying out of flexion exercises of the cervical zone of the spinal column
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An equipment comprising a body (1) that defines a seating (2) intended to encircle the head of the user, within said body there being provided an annular channel (5) that runs around the seating (2) and accommodates at least one cursor (6) arranged in a fully mobile manner, so that to a rotatory movement of the user's head around the axis of the spinal column there corresponds a motion of said cursor (6) along said channel (5) and the user, perceiving the vibrations and/or the noise produced by said motion, receives indications regarding the symmetry and uniformity of the rotatory movement of his head.



Inventors:
Carbone, Giuseppe (Florence, IT)
Application Number:
10/155558
Publication Date:
11/28/2002
Filing Date:
05/24/2002
Assignee:
CARBONE GIUSEPPE
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/93
International Classes:
A63B23/025; A63B21/06; A63B21/22; (IPC1-7): A63B23/025; A63B21/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MATHEW, FENN C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Cozen O'Connor (277 PARK AVENUE 20th Floor, NEW YORK, NY, 10172, US)
Claims:
1. An equipment comprising: a body; a seating defined by said body, said seating being intended to fit onto the upper part of the head of a user; an annular channel formed within said body, said channel running around said seating; and cursor means arranged in a fully mobile manner in said channel, whereby to a rotatory movement of the user's head around the axis of the spinal column there corresponds a motion of said cursor means along said channel and the user, perceiving the vibrations and/or the noise produced by said motion, receives indications regarding the symmetry and uniformity of the rotatory movement of his head.

2. An equipment according to claim 1, wherein the surface of the channel and/or that of the cursor means is at least partially roughened, so as to increase the noise produced by the motion, the uniformity of which will be perceived by the user as a function of the symmetry and uniformity of the rotatory movement of his head.

3. An equipment according to claim 1 or claim 2, wherein said cursor means are constituted by at least one rolling element that rolls along the channel.

4. An equipment according to claim 3, wherein said channel is defined by a tube of circular cross section that is bent into a ring, said at least one rolling element being ball-shaped.

5. An equipment according to claim 4, wherein said tube is corrugated.

6. An equipment according to claim 4, wherein said tube is wrapped in a lining made of soft material, such as foam rubber.

7. An equipment according to claim 3, wherein said tube comprises means for regulating the length of its circumference.

8. An equipment according to claim 1, wherein said cursor means have a weight such as to increase the muscle-strengthening effect associated with the rotatory movement of the user's head, in proportion to said weight increase.

9. An equipment according to claim 1, wherein the position of said body on the user's head is rendered more stable and secure by at least one strap that extends diametrically within said seating and can be adjusted in length so as to fit tightly around the user's head.

10. An equipment according to claim 9, wherein said body comprises a plurality of rings evenly spaced around the circumference of said seating and suitable for permitting the attachment of said at least one strap.

11. An equipment according to claim 1, wherein said cursor means are magnetized.

12. An equipment according to claim 1, comprising also ear-protecting means attached to said annular body in such a way as to fit against the ears of the user in order to amplify said vibrations and/or noise.

13. An equipment according to claim 12, wherein said ear-protecting means are part of an anti-noise headset, a semicircular element linking the ear-protecting means being attached to said body and extending diametrically above said seating.

14. An equipment according to claim 1 or claim 2, wherein said cursor means are constituted by a mass of grains or pellets capable of producing a noise of shaken sand.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention concerns the field of fitness equipments. More particularly, the invention has as its object an equipment for carrying out exercises involving the muscles and the articulations of the cervical zone of the spinal column.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART

[0002] By far the greater part of the pathologies of the cervical zone of the spinal column are connected with phenomena of arthrosis. Apart from being the cause of painful disorders that are extremely troublesome or even invalidating, these pathologies can have serious repercussions of a neurological character.

[0003] As far as physiotherapy is concerned, be it for preventive or therapeutic purposes, interventions regarding these pathologies include also exercises in which—due to the effect of a rotation of the head about the axis of the spinal column—there is produced a flexion of the affected cervical zone. Exercises of this kind may make it possible to increase the mobility of the articulations and to correct the states of hypotonia and muscular asymmetry that underlie the origin of the pathologies in question. Nevertheless, such exercises will prove effective only if the rotation is substantially symmetrical with respect to the axis of the spinal column and is also carried out with a substantially uniform motion. In fact, an unbalanced action and the stressing of the musculature deriving therefrom will result in the risk of enhancing the muscular asymmetry rather than reducing it.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] There has now surprisingly been discovered a new equipment that, though having an extremely simple configuration and occupying only a rather small space, is capable of providing a solution for the problematics that have just been explained, namely assuring a proper balance and therefore correctness and effectiveness of the rotatory motion of the head in flexion exercises involving the cervical zone of the spinal column.

[0005] The equipment according to the present invention comprises a body defining a seating intended to fit onto the upper part of the head of a user. Within said body there is formed an annular channel that runs around the seating, and within this channel there is movably arranged at least one cursor, so that a rotatory movement of the user's head around the axis of the spinal column will cause said cursor to move along the channel, and the user, by virtue of the vibrations and/or the noise produced by this motion, will thus receive indications regarding the symmetry and the uniformity of the rotation movement of his head.

[0006] Preferably the surface of the channel and/or the surface of the at least one cursor will be at least partly roughened, thus increasing the noise made by the movement of the cursor, the uniformity of which will be perceived by the user as indication of the symmetry and uniformity of the rotatory movement of his own head.

[0007] According to a particularly advantageous solution, the body and the related channel are formed by a corrugated tube bent into a ring, and the at least one cursor is constituted by at least one rolling element, preferably spherical, rolling along the channel. This solution attains an excellent result in terms of inertia of the cursor motion and resonance of the noise associated with this motion.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] Other characteristics and advantages of the equipment assisting the carrying out of flexion exercises of the cervical zone of the spinal column according to the present invention will emerge more clearly from the description about to be given of a particular embodiment thereof, which is to be considered as an example and not limitative in any way, said description making reference to the attached drawings of which:

[0009] FIG. 1 shows a plan view of the equipment according to the invention, with a part shown in cutaway;

[0010] FIG. 2 shows a radial section through the equipment taken along lines II-II of FIG. 1;

[0011] FIG. 3 shows a cutaway view of a part of the equipment according to a different embodiment; and

[0012] FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of the equipment according to the invention associated with a ear protecting headset acting as sound amplifier.

DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0013] Referring to the above figures, the equipment according to the invention comprises an annular body 1 that defines a circular seating 2 intended to fit onto the upper part of the head of a user (not shown).

[0014] In the illustrated example body 1 has been formed by bending a corrugated tube 3 of a circular cross section that is wrapped in a lining 4 made of some soft material, simple foam rubber for example, so as to render the equipment more comfortable for the wearer and, within certain limits, also make it adaptable to heads of different sizes.

[0015] Corrugated tube 3 defines an annular channel 5 within which there are arranged cursor means, which in the illustrated example have the form of three balls 6 which, rolling on the internal surface of said channel 5, can move freely along the latter.

[0016] When in use, the equipment according to the invention, as already mentioned, is worn on the upper part of the user's head. In this condition, whenever the head is made to rotate about the axis of the spinal column with a complete movement of sufficient amplitude, as normally required by exercises for the treatment of disorders of the cervical zone, the balls 6 begin to roll along channel 5 and perform a motion of revolution around the centre of body 1, that is to say, of seating 2.

[0017] It will readily be appreciated that the more uniform and symmetrical the rotation of the head, the more regular will be the motion of balls 6. In particular, in response to a disharmonic rotation said balls 6 will alternate sudden accelerations with equally sudden decelerations, eventually coming to a stop. The characteristics of this motion, which the user will perceive in particular due to the vibrations and, above all, the noise that it produces, will thus provide him with indications regarding the uniformity with which he performs the exercise, so that he will be able to correct himself. When the motion of balls 6 becomes perfectly regular, the exercise may be considered as being performed with the maximum effectiveness.

[0018] The equipment according to the invention therefore constitutes a precious help in all cases in which the exercise aims at increasing the mobility of the articulations and improving the muscular tone and symmetry of the cervical zone. Since the user himself can check whether or not the exercise is being performed correctly, there will be no need for him to be assisted by a trainer. On the other hand, thanks to its simplicity and compactness, the equipment according to the invention is particularly suitable for home-fitness employment, but can be used also in the office, during work breaks, and can readily accompany the user during travel.

[0019] The provision of several balls 6 (especially two or three) rather than just one will prove advantageous, because it will increase not only the noise produced, but also the overall inertia, and will thus assist the attainment of a uniform motion. The balls 6 or, more generally, any other employed cursor means can also be magnetized, thus conferring magneto-therapeutic capabilities upon the equipment.

[0020] When the balls 6 are of a certain weight, which can be obtained also by increasing the section of channel 5 and thus permitting the insertion of larger balls, the muscle-strengthening effect associated with the rotation of the head can be enhanced. On the other hand, the balls can also be reduced in size and increased in number. In that case—as shown in FIG. 3—the cursor means will in practice consist of a mass 16 of grains or pellets capable of producing an evocative noise of shaken sand.

[0021] Referring to FIG. 4, the noise produced by the cursor means during the use of the equipment can be amplified—and thus perceived by the user even more effectively—by associating a pair of ear-protecting cups 7a with annular body 1, said cups contacting tube 3 so that the vibrations can be transmitted from the tube to the cups, and the latter can function as sound amplifiers.

[0022] Preferably cups 7a will form part of a conventional anti-noise headset 7, of which the semicircular element 7b linking the cups is attached to tube 3 and extends diametrically above it.

[0023] Although the illustrated example consists of a corrugated tube, it is obvious that a smooth tube could also be used, and that the rolling or, more generally speaking, sliding noise could possibly be increased by using one or more cursors with a roughened surface.

[0024] The position of annular body 1 on the head of the user can be rendered more secure by providing straps adjustable in length—by means of Velcro closures, for example—extending diametrically within seating 2, so that they can clutch the head. To this end annular body 1 can be provided with a certain number of rings for connecting these straps, said rings being typically four in number and evenly spaced around the circumference. Annular body 1 can also be designed in such a way as to permit its circumference being adjusted according to the size of the user's head. As such, the regulating devices used for this purpose can well be of a traditional and known type, for example, of the type employed with sunshades or protection helmets for building workers, or a system with a threaded sleeve arranged coaxially with the tube in such a way that a rotation of the sleeve will produce either a lengthening or a shortening of the tube.

[0025] More generally, channel 5 can be formed also within a body of different characteristics, always provided that it be such as to encircle a seating suitable for fitting the head of the user.

[0026] Other variants and/or modifications could be introduced into the equipment to assist the carrying out of flexion exercises of the cervical zone of the spinal column according to the present invention without for this reason going beyond the scope of protection of the invention as defined by the claims hereinbelow.