Title:
Method for spinal adjustment
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention discloses a method for spinal adjustment. More specifically, the present invention discloses a method for spinal adjustment for assisting a user thereof to adjust the user's spine, and with such adjustment being realized via commonly available secondary use means.



Inventors:
Hurd, Neal Russell (Portage, WI, US)
Application Number:
11/528061
Publication Date:
01/25/2007
Filing Date:
09/27/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
602/32
International Classes:
A61F5/00; A61F5/01; A61H1/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BAKER, LORI LYNN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NEAL R HURD (N8401 KLAPPSTEIN RD., PORTAGE, WI, 53901, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A spinal adjustment method for assisting a user thereof to adjust the user's cervical spine, said method comprising the steps of: a user, whose primary body weight is basically fully supported in either a supine or related lateral position on a horizontal plane substantially rigid surface, providing an arched form defining a substantially convex substantially rigid surface featuring a radius of about 3 inches, and a length upon which the user transversely positions and supports either a dorsal neck region or a lateral neck region such that the head of the user is at the opposite side of the arched form and unsupported, at which time the user dictates a suitable movement of rotation to the head, whereby, under the influence of gravity acting on the unsupported head region of the user, the arched form provides extensively reducing resistance and path to the unsupported side such that adjacent vertebrae of the user's spine are directed radially and extensively along the neck region so divergently supported, thus effecting cervical adjustment.

2. A spinal adjustment method for assisting a user thereof to adjust the user's thoracic and/or cervical/thoracic spine, said method comprising the steps of: a user providing commonly available secondary use means to pressure said thoracic and/or cervical/thoracic spine; wherein said commonly available secondary use means are selected from the group consisting of rubber pet toys, cylinders, boards and closed cell foam; and said commonly available secondary use means are user-arranged such that adjustment of the thoracic spine is linear and along a transverse process; wherein the user positions the means between the user's back and a horizontal plane substantially rigid surface; and the user pressures the thoracic spine along the user-arranged commonly available means from just above a lumbar/thoracic transition region toward said cervical/thoracic region; whereby the user's spine is urged into a position of alignment.

3. A spinal adjustment method as set forth in claim 2 wherein said pressure is applied to the transverse process of said thoracic spine asymmetrically.

4. A spinal adjustment method as set forth in claim 2 wherein said commonly available secondary use means are user-arranged such that the cervical/thoracic spine is compressed via partial weight of the user.

5. A spinal adjustment method as set forth in claim 2 wherein said commonly available secondary use means are user-arranged such that the cervical/thoracic spine is manually decompressed.

6. A spinal adjustment method for assisting a user thereof to adjust the user's lumbar spine, said method comprising the steps of: a user providing a commonly available secondary use means to adjust said lumbar spine; wherein said commonly available secondary use means is a common U.S. Postal rural-type mailbox; whereby the user transversely suspends by the abdomen and relaxes over the convex surface of said mailbox, for an interval of about 5 seconds, thereby effecting lumbar adjustment.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This is a divisional application of Ser. No. 10/041,445, filed Jan. 8, 2002. Further, it is a continuation-in-part of said divisional application.

The present invention relates to a method for spinal adjustment. More specifically, the present invention relates to a method for spinal adjustment for assisting a user thereof to adjust the user's spine, with such adjustment including lumbar and/or cervical and/or thoracic regions of the spine, and with such adjustment being realized via commonly available means.

Humans have long dealt with the aggravation and loss of productivity arising from back and neck disorders and injuries. Problems can stem from accidents or day to day lifting and twisting movements and compressive or hyper-extensive jolts associated with normal physical activities. The relative ease with which injuries to the spine and supporting musculature are incurred, as well as the debilitating effects of even slight misalignments, merely adds to the overall severity of the problem. The usual treatment is the cessation or severe curtailment of almost all physical activities likely to give rise to torsional or compressional stresses to the affected regions of the spine.

The human spinal column is a major component of the skeletal system, with thirty-three bones comprising, top to bottom, seven cervical, twelve thoracic, and five lumbar vertebrae, the latter merging endwardly into the five fused sacral and the four fused coccyx vertebrae. The individual vertebrae are connected and supported by various cartilages, muscles and ligaments which allow flexibility for bending and twisting of the torso. Between each vertebra is an intervertebral disc which functions to cushion and separate the vertebra and prevent compression of the peripheral spinal nerves branching from the spinal cord, housed within the spinal column.

When subject to stresses or typical aging, the spinal column may lose it's normal contour and the interior structure of the disc can degenerate and/or rupture leading to a displacement of the intra-disc cushioning material and a resulting bulging of the outer disc surface. This bulging can impinge on nerve structures causing inflammation and aggravation of the neurological anatomy involved. Such neurological involvement is invariably accompanied by pain, loss of muscle strength or decrease range of motion of the spine and/or peripheral anatomy. In some cases, the outer surface of the disc can rupture completely leading to an extrusion of the viscous intra-disc material, a condition which may require invasive treatment.

Due to natural mechanics, the majority of back ailments experienced by the human being occur either in the lumbar region or in the cervical vertebrae. The stabilizing effect of the attached/protective rib cage per the thoracic vertebrae tend to stabilize these segments some, but not entirely. In those instances where pain is the result of neuro-impingement, the pressure exerted against the nerves may be reduced by re-establishing normal contour of column, resulting in reduction or elimination of pain and natural healing. A clinical approach to reduce this neuro-impingement and re-establish contour may involve use of traction: applying force in line with the spinal column to draw the vertebra apart. Traction, either generated mechanically or by gravity, has been demonstrated to be therapeutically effective in promoting healing of the affected anatomy with accompanying reduction of symptoms. A further approach may involve massage devices in some form.

Back and neck disorders are a costly health problem for industry, as measured in terms of lost productivity. Some estimates place the total cost of back injuries to industry in the United States at approximately fifty billion dollars per year. It is estimated that each year nearly half a million workers are permanently sidelined by back injuries.

Needless to say, numerous approaches to “back problems” have been developed. As stated, bed rest or at least secession of physical activities is often recommended. Manipulation, massage and physical therapy or exercise are also common approaches. These may have their usefulness but often provide limited, temporary relief and can involve considerable expense, in some cases, or at least discipline on the part of the back pain sufferer. There has been much activity on the part of inventors to come up with a method or device that would be a solution of practical and effective utility in this regard.

A device invented by David M. Vitko, U.S. Pat. No. 5,352,188, Oct. 4, 1994, provides a horizontal support structure on which the user reclines. The problem with this device is that the remedy is effected with the spinal column being manipulated simply in a linear fashion. This fails to utilize either any arch effect and/or transverse, i.e. offset adjustment, since any method has to overcome both the natural curvature of the spinal column and the rib-locking of the thoracic spine, to effect relief at any particular point. In addition, the device relies on considerable hardware/manufacture.

J. A. Weaver, U.S. Pat. No. 1,533,528, issued on Apr. 14, 1925, discloses a somewhat mechanical back massage apparatus designed to be applied via handgrips by the user. The problem here is the desired decompression effect is to be achieved solely by arm pressure to the torso, again in a straight line fashion, without benefit either the upper body weight or any arching effect and/or asymmetric action on the spine. Also, by virtue of the fact that the user's shoulder muscles are contracted, any therapeutic realignment necessary in the cervical vertebrae or upper body skeletal system is constrained.

D. K. Shui, U.S. Pat. No. 3,750,654, dated Aug. 7, 1973, involves a physiotherapeutic device and method that can be applied to the spine by the user in a prone, horizontal position. The device is also designed to effect itself by the urging of the upper body in straight linear fashion. The problems with this device/approach are similar to those above, in that the effort is taught along a straight, equally balanced line and, tho quite simple, the necessarily manufactured device may or may not be readily available for one's procurement and use.

It is desirable to provide a spinal column decompression and alignment method that overcomes the aforementioned shortcomings of the prior art. The invention disclosed in this case is based on the concept of employing gravity to curve and stretch the human spinal column perpendicularly positioned over a simple horizontal convex support and/or also via a linear, yet asymmetric, adjustment approach as needed. By utilizing a convex member of a diameter approximately proportional to that part of the human anatomy directly adjacent to that which we want to realign and decompress, and by disposing said anatomy between the support and the spinal column, a gentle and effective leverage is realized to accomplish the desired effect. This leveraged movement tends to urge each member of the spinal structure to a position of maximum separation relative to that on either side. This stretching action is carried over to the skeletal members adjacent to the adjusted structure; for example the head, neck, shoulders and ribcage are allowed into a natural alignment relative to each other.

These self-adjustments can be practiced in various forms, utilizing common existing goods, thereby simplifying the overall availability, and thus effectiveness, of the present method. With millions around the world suffering from back pain, such simplified approach is needed. Therefore the present invention teaches low cost, commonly available means which can be used by someone suffering from back pain of the aforementioned type so that relief from such pain can be effectively obtained without necessarily having to employ much in the way of either specialized assistance or apparatus.

It is then a primary feature of the present invention to provide a spinal adjustment method that overcomes the problems associated with prior art arrangements.

Another feature of the present invention is the provision of a spinal adjustment method that enables a user to effectively make needed adjustments to the user's spine.

A further feature of the present invention is the provision of a spinal adjustment method of relatively low, or even no cost.

Another feature of the present invention is the provision of a spinal adjustment method that enables a user thereof to conveniently effect spinal adjustments.

Other features and advantages of the present invention will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art by a consideration of the detailed description of the present invention contained herein.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a method of spinal adjustment for assisting a user thereof to adjust the user's spine. The means of such adjustment method include various commonly available existing goods, such goods possessing a secondary use. The common means are arranged such that the user supports and/or pressures the lumbar and/or cervical and/or thoracic region so that the common means exert a spine adjusting force such that the user's spine is urged radially and/or asymmetrically for relieving pressure between adjacent spinal discs.

In one embodiment, the present invention relies on any suitable rigid arched form, properly deployed.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the means is any suitable roller, such roller being otherwise a rubber pet amusement good.

In a further mode of the present invention, the means is any such suitable roller, or combination thereof, combined with such suitable arched form.

In a further embodiment of the present invention, the means further includes a resilient covering of the rigid arched surface for providing a suitable profile to effect adjustment.

In a further embodiment of the present invention, the means of adjustment is a common U.S. Postal rural-type mailbox.

Many modifications and variations of the present invention will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art by a consideration of the detailed description contained hereinafter, taken in conjunction with the annexed drawings. However, such modifications and variations fall within the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1A, 1B and 1C are views of cervical spine adjustment according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a view of cervical adjustment mode 2;

FIG. 3 is a view of cervical adjustment mode 3;

FIG. 4 is a view of asymmetric thoracic adjustment and roller to accomplish same;

FIG. 5 is a view of a human vertebra;

FIGS. 6A and 6B are views of an adjustable thoracic roller in use for symmetric and/or asymmetric adjustment according to the present method;

FIGS. 7A and 7B is a view of several commonly available rollers and their range of use;

FIGS. 8A, 8B and 8C depict thoracic adjustment in which the user is the roller;

FIGS. 9A and 9B show cervical compression according to the present invention;

FIG. 10 is a view of cervical decompression according to the present invention;

FIGS. 11A and 11B depict a commonly available lumbar adjustment means and its use.

Similar reference characters refer to similar parts throughout the various modes of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIGS. 1A, 1B and 1C are views of a method of cervical adjustment according to the present invention, specifically C.A. mode #1. User 1 is supine on a horizontal plane substantially rigid support surface 32 with substantially convex substantially rigid common means arched form 24, in this case an unopened 39 ounce coffee can cylinder, such being about six inches in diameter; or alternatively, per the above parent application, fabricated unit 31; supported on surface 32, disposed transversely beneath the user's dorsal neck. Lift padding 30 provides, as needed, elevation so that the user is about horizontal while the user's head 22 is unsupported at gap 23. So disposed, due the influence of gravity (G) leverage (L) and the arch (A) working to generate extensively reducing resistance and path, the user may direct an amount of appropriate gentle back and forth rotation (R) to the head to effect a cervical spine adjustment. Such rotation is limited to about 3 inches either way based on the nose. The time involved in cervical adjustment is about 4 minutes.

FIG. 2 is a view of another mode of adjustment of the cervical vertebrae of the present invention, specifically C.A. mode #2. User 1 is positioned on one side such that a lateral region of neck is supported on the arched form, in this case fabricated unit 31. The user's hand is only resting on head 22, with elbow disposed above. No pressure is being applied, as the unsupported weight of the user, which in this case includes the resting weight of hand and arm, is sufficient, based on gap 23, to effect adjustment. It is understood that a similar move to the opposite side is necessary for balanced cervical adjustment. Furthermore, asymmetric adjustment can be realized by dispensing with any such balancing move.

FIG. 3 is a view and variation of the method of cervical adjustment as defined by the present invention, specifically asymmetric C.A. mode #3. As in FIGS. 1A thru 1C of cervical adjustment, the apparatus and user are supported on plane surface 32. However, the apparatus, in this view fabricated unit 31, which in mode #1 of cervical adjustment was equally tight to both shoulders of the user, is in this mode of adjustment angled to a side to facilitate a further rotation (R) of the head 22 toward that one side. It is understood that a similar move toward the opposite side may serve to balance the adjustment. Such adjustment can serve to increase flexibility.

The first and most basic mode 1, and somewhat mode 3, is best for routine practice, with mode 2, being more radical, available to address kinks at the side of the neck. In such cases, the problem should be approach from the opposite side, whereby the offending kink is away from the arched form. Based on the combined effect of G, L, and A, the time interval of cervical adjustment according to the present invention is about 1 minute per each side move, with an at most once daily routine suitable for effecting improved cervical fitness and flexibility over a period of a few weeks. Also, repositioning the users legs, similar to FIG. 2 may allow some further variation of adjustment in the cervical vertebrae; and the user should anyway thereafter be somewhat careful of abrupt moves initially, as the neck is a bit destabilized due to decompression; until the discs catch up via, one assumes, rehydration. Furthermore, since this is all a user initiated and practiced method, the user is responsible for monitoring and determining the suitability of any and all adjustments here present. No doctors were consulted concerning the method of spinal adjustment depending on Gravity, Leverage and the Arch.

FIG. 4 is a view of asymmetric thoracic adjustment and commonly available roller 12, it being strictly an asymmetric roller. Positioned and rolled along between the center of the back of user 1 and underlying plane support 32, it pressures the spinal column unevenly, based on its inherent shape. Roller 12 is composed of two pet, primarily canine, amusement toys, a small rubber tennis-ball type donut chew toy 7 slipped onto the small end of a jumbo hard rubber asymmetric bounce toy 9, both being common to pet stores. Rollers such as 12 may also be applied to the back of the user off-center, or acentrally to the spine, for more radical asymmetric adjustment.

FIG. 5 shows a human vertebra 2 with spineous process 3 and left transverse process 4 numbered. Asymmetric, or transverse thoracic adjustment is possible due the lateral nature of the transverse process, as roller 12 (above) puts increased pressure to either side, as needed, to correct issues of thoracic vertebra. The goal in all cases is urging vertebrae toward the side or direction of greatest applied pressure, to take out the “high” side. The asymmetric structure of the roller 12 in FIG. 4 concentrates pressure, due the weight of the user, onto the roller's narrower/higher side.

FIGS. 6A and 6B depicts a roller assembled of (4) six inch hard rubber rings 5, common to pet stores, that adjustably well fit onto (2) four inch inside diameter “schedule 40” plastic pipe couplings 8, these being glued together onto a four inch sewer pipe coupling; such piping all being commonly available at building supply stores. This roller is thereby adjustable, suitable, when positioned between the back of user 1 and plane support 32, for both common “back massage” and also asymmetric thoracic adjustment, according to the present invention.

FIGS. 7A and 7B shows an array of rollers of various types fashioned from items having secondary use available either in the home or at small cost elsewhere, primarily building supply and pet stores; and some use by user 1. Roller 13 is (2) “schedule 40” four inch plastic pipe couplings 8, glued together onto a lightweight four inch sewer pipe coupling 35—combined with (4) six inch rubber rings 5 measuring about 4.625″ inside. They are perfect for this size/type pipe fitting, which themselves offer neat appearance and factory-radiused edges, and thereby all suitable, depending how rings are positioned, for both massage and thoracic adjustment according to the present invention.

Roller 14 is the same 3-part base pipe as roller 13 but with ½″ to ¾″ thick closed cell “sleeping pad” foam 18 applied over carpet tape and covered with duct tape, as needed, to produce this basic grooved 27 massager.

Roller 15 is a standard 15 oz. spray paint can 19 and two 2.25″ inside×4.625″ outside diameter tennis ball-type chew “donuts” 7 combined with carpet tape/closed cell foam 18 enclosing the spray can and its attached cap, as needed. These donuts have a rubber seam that runs along the inside edge which keeps them pretty much where they are put, once on the can.

Roller(s) 16 are rubber canine teeth-cleaner chew toys 20, with core fillers 21 made of plastic pipe fittings or wooden dowels. The larger of the two, a big 3″×6″, takes a 1.25″ outside diameter (0.75″×1.0″ standard plastic) pipe adapter at each end attached to ˜6.5″ of 0.75″ white plastic water pipe, glued and inserted into the dog toy. On the smaller 2½″×5″ one, 6.5″ of full 1″ wood dowel, with the ends thoroughly rounded off, fills the core.

Roller 17 is the same spray-can base 19 combined with four rings 7; and will both massage and transversely adjust. The cap extends off to the side, which is glued and covered with heavy tape or thin padding or rubber sealant, to be safe of bumping into a firmer surface.

Roller 12 is same as in FIG. 4.

FIG. 7B shows the approximate range of safe and effective, weight-controlled thoracic adjustment per such rollers, as problems can arise from pressuring the lumbar/thoracic transition zone 36. The movement from this position is linear as the semi-supine body rolls down (goes away from) roller 13 as the roller proceeds toward the cervical region 37.

FIGS. 8A, 8B and 8C depict the user being the roller, along a groove 27 provided by two well sanded/wrapped boards 26, the wrap 28 both padding and fixing their position during use. If needed, one may be able to apply transverse adjustment here too, by widening the groove and having just one board pressure nearby the spine, while the other rides the opposite broad of the back, similar to FIG. 6B. From position 8C the user returns 29 to the starting position, 8B.

FIGS. 9A and 9B depict cervical/thoracic compression, which may serve due possible whiplash/hyper-extensions. User 1, using a firm yet pliable cylindrical arch form 10, wide enough to clear the jaw line and about 2.25 inches in diameter, typically a plastic pill bottle, positioned at the inner base of the neck/jaw, and a tooth/bite protector 11, typically a leather strap, both working to prevent problems from pressure that results during this brief partial-weight lean into a large rubber tennis-ball type donut chew toy 6 placed as padding against vertical surface 33.

FIG. 10 is a view of cervical/thoracic 38 manual decompression using leverage and a firm cylindrical arch form 10, positioned at the inner base of the neck/jaw. Tooth/bite protector 11, prevents problems from pressure that results during this brief self-effected maneuver.

FIGS. 11A and 11B depict a commonly available means 34 of lumbar adjustment, and its use in suspending the user on the abdomen, as detailed in the parent application here cited.