Title:
Lumber Distraction Chair
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Lumbar distraction is an effective treatment for back pain. However the discomfort and morbidities associated with vertical inversion has limited its use. The Lumbar Distraction Chair delivers a gentler lumbar distraction without the discomfort of being suspended vertically. The device is a modified office swivel chair with inward folding arm rests that secure the patient's legs on the chair seat. The patient positions him/herself onto the device with their back lying on the floor with hips and knees flexed. The arm rests of the chair fold inwards and hold the patient's legs securely onto the seat. A pneumatic telescopic stand elevates the seat, which also lifts the patient's legs hips and lower back off the ground by several centimeters. This provides lumbar distraction to the lower back. In this position, pain and inflammation is alleviated. This permits the muscle cell relaxation, recuperation and repair.



Inventors:
Chi, Paul Inhwan (Damascus, OR, US)
Gee, Esmond (Loma Linda, CA, US)
Gee, Michael (Loma Linda, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/711069
Publication Date:
08/28/2008
Filing Date:
02/27/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C7/54
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MCPARTLIN, SARAH BURNHAM
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Esmond Gee (Loma Linda, CA, US)
Claims:
1. The preferred embodiment of the device is a modified office swivel chair. The arm rests of the chair fold inwards and arm pads flip 180 degrees, downwards to securely lock the patient's legs onto the seat.

2. In reference to claim #1, the preferred embodiment of the device is a modified office swivel chair that converts into a gravitational lumbar distraction device. A patient mounts the device by lying face-up on the ground; with his/her back resting on the floor. The patient's hips and knees are flexed, allowing the seat of the chair to fit underneath his/her legs. His/her legs will be secured onto the seat by the inwards folding and locking arm rests. The seat height is elevated by a pneumatic telescopic stand, which also lifts the patient's legs hips and lower back off the ground two to three cm. This provides lumbar distraction to the lower back.

3. In reference to claim #2, while using the preferred embodiment in the said position, the patient will maintain effective lumbar gravitational distraction, alleviating pain and inflammation. This permits the muscle cell recuperation and repair.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

The Lumbar Distraction Chair (hereinafter “Device”) provides relief for back pain through gravitational lumbar distraction. The constant wear and tear of the lumbar muscles leads to myofascial inflammation. This inflammation over time causes back pain. The Device provides gravitational lumbar distraction that stretches the back muscles causing them to fatigue and rest. This allows rest and recuperation of the cells. The inflammation subsides and pain is alleviated.

Initial conservative treatment includes postural improvement, physical therapy and medications. Gravity lumbar distraction is a more aggressive approach and has good results. Khalil et al. described significant improvement of pain when adding this to the treatment to physical rehabilitation. Lumbar distracters counteract gravitational effects on the back muscles. This allows for stretch, relaxation and recuperation of muscle cells.

Numerous devices that apply gravitational lumbar distraction have been manufactured and patented. Tables that have been patented include: U.S. Pat. No. 4,103,681 to Shanley in 1976, a tilting table apparatus with straps. U.S. Pat. No. 4,466,427 to Granberg in 1984, a portable table with hip and chin straps. U.S. Pat. No. 4,608,969 to Hamlin in 1986, a ratcheted table with hip and chin straps. U.S. Pat. No. 6,547,809 to Cuccia in 2003, a rotatable, portable table with straps. U.S. Pat. No. 6,592,501 to Mayes in 2003, a table with variable weights for lumbar distraction.

Patents have also been issued to vertical inversion gravitational lumbar distraction devices. Unfortunately these uncomfortable positions are not well tolerated because of headaches, joint pains, conjunctival petechial hemorrhages: U.S. Pat. No. 3,353,532 to Ellis in 1967. These morbidities may actually negate the therapeutic effect of the lumbar distraction. Our Device differs from the aforementioned devices because its major supportive framework is a chair rather than a table. It also provides the therapeutic gravitational lumbar distraction without the discomfort of being suspended completely vertical. With our Device, the lower half of the body is elevated by the chair while the upper half of the body is supported by the ground. This position is better tolerated.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

Lower back pain is caused by repeated injury of muscle cells releasing local inflammatory mediators. The inability of these muscles to rest propagates the local inflammation. The Lumbar Distraction Chair breaks the cycle by placing the body in a relaxed position and allows the paraspinal muscles to rest and recuperate. While using the device, the back muscles are gently stretched by the gravitational pull of the body's weight. The muscles fatigue and are allowed to rest. Relaxation interrupts the inflammatory process, which causes immediate relief and initiates the healing process.

An office swivel chair provides the convenient dual usage as both a chair and a therapeutic device. The major modification to the office swivel chair is the inwards folding arm rests. Proper positioning on the device for therapeutic purposes involves two steps. First the patient lies on the ground, with his/her back resting on the floor. The patient's hips and knees are flexed, allowing the seat of the chair to fit underneath his/her legs. Next the arm rests have adjustable and lockable hinges that allow the arm pads to folded inwards and inverted to secure the patient's legs onto the seat (hereinafter “Secured Position.”)

The next step provides the lumbar distraction to the patient. The height of the seat will be elevated by the chair's height-adjustable pneumatic, telescopic stand. As a result, the patient's legs, hips and lower back will be raised two to three centimeters off the ground, applying gravitational distraction to the lumbar and sacral spine, (hereinafter “Therapeutic Position.”) While suspended, the back muscles maintain a gentle gravitational stretch which aids in relaxing the back muscles and counteracts inflammation. The patient experiences immediate relief and muscle cells begin their recovery. The lumbar distraction also lengthens the spinal canal, alleviating pain caused by a herniated nucleus pulposus. The patient will be in this position for 20 minutes, three times per day. Dismounting can be done by unlocking the arm rests from the legs and sliding the legs off the seat.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a frontal view schematic drawing of the preferred embodiment.

FIG. 2A is a right side view. FIG. 2B is a right, posterior view.

FIG. 3A to C are diagrams of the preferred embodiment with the inwards folding arm rests. FIG. 3A is a left, frontal view. FIG. 3B is a left side view. FIG. 3C is a side view.

FIGS. 4A and B are schematic diagrams of a patient mounting the device attaining the Secured Position.

FIG. 5 is a schematic diagram of a patient moving from the Secured Position to the Therapeutic Position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of the preferred embodiment. An office swivel chair has a major structural modification of inwards folding arm rests (number 1 to 8). The said arm rests function to secure the patient's legs onto the seat of the chair while in the Secured Position. The seat elevates and provides lumbar distraction to the patient. Therefore the modified arm rests enable the chair to convert into a therapeutic device for low back pain.

In reference to FIG. 1, the chair's components include modified arm rests (number 1 to 8), back support (numbers 13 and 14), seat (number 12), telescopic stand (number 10) and five-pronged, wheeled, supportive stand (number 11). The metal base plate (number 9) is a supportive, structural component to which numbers 7, 10, 12 and 13 are attached. Each component will be described in detail.

In reference to FIG. 1, the arm rest (numbers 1 to 8) represent the major structural and functional modification to the office swivel chair. The materials used to construct the arm rest are stainless steel metal bars, foam arm pads, plastic housing for the arm pads and lockable hinges. The preferred hinges are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,689,999, which is hereby incorporated by reference, and is commercially available under the VARILOC trademark. The framework of the armrest (number 7) connects to the office chair at the metal base plate (number 9). The connection is positioned on the lateral side of number 9 and is an immovable, permanently positioned, welded connection. Number 7 is a 15×2.5×1 inch stainless steel bar that is bent in 2 places (number 6 and 8) to position hinge number 5. Number 6 is bent at a 120 degree angle, and is 7 inches distal from the junction of number 7 and 9. Number 8 is bent at a 140 degree angle, and is 12 inches distal from the said junction of number 7 and 9. The first VARILOC hinge (number 5) interpositions the two stainless steel metal bars (numbers 4 and 7). This is a lockable, adjustable hinge that allows for inwards mobility of the arm rest (number 1 to 4). Therefore the angle between number 4 and number 7 is variable. Number 4 measures 4×2.5×1 inches. During the sitting position, hinge number 5 maintains an obtuse angle, allowing the arm rests to support the patient's arms. During the Secured Position, the angle of hinge number 5 maintains an acute angle to allow inwards mobility of the arm rests to hold the patient's leg firmly onto the seat. The second lockable, adjustable, VARILOC hinge (number 3) connects the padded arm rest cushion (numbers land 2) to number 4. Number 3 allows the arm pad to be flipped 180 degrees. With hinge number 3 in the upright position, the arm pad may be used to support the arms during sitting. While in the flipped, downward position, the arm pad holds the patient's legs onto the seat in the Secured Position. Number 1 measures 9×3×2 inches and is made of foam with a cloth covering. Number 2 is a plastic housing that connects number 1 to number 3.

In reference to FIG. 1, the arm rests are attached to the basic framework of a routine office swivel chair. Numbers 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 are commercially available under Gobal Co., Hon Co. and Raynor Co., manufacturers of office swivel chairs. The most dependant portion of the chair is a five-pronged, wheeled, supportive stand (number 11.) This is connected to a height adjustable, pneumatic, telescopic stand (number 10.) Examples of patents describing number 10 are by Tornero et al. (1988) in U.S. Pat. No. 4,720,068 and Stumpf et al. (2002) in U.S. Pat. No. 6,386,634. The stand is powered by a pneumatic system which enables the seat to be adjusted to a desired height. A metal base plate (number 9) sits atop of number 10. Number 9 is a central supportive structure that interconnects the major components of the chair. It supports the seat (number 12), connects the arm rests (number 7) and the back support (number 13) to the frame of the chair. It is a metal plate that measures 6×6×1.5 inches in dimension and is housed in plastic.

In reference to FIG. 1, the back rest (number 14) is composed of a 17×14×2.5 inch pad that is clothed anterior and supported posterior by plastic housing of the same dimension. Number 14 is connected to the frame of the chair (number 9), by a stainless steel post number 13. The connection between 9 and 13 is located on the posterior side of number 9 and is an immovable, permanently positioned, welded connection. Number 13 measures 17×3×2 inches and is bent 100 degrees 5 inches distal to the junction between 9 and 13.

In reference to FIG. 1, the seat (number 12) is composed of a 17×17×2.5 inch cloth covered cushion encased inferiorly by plastic. It is fastened on top of the metal base plate number 9. It supports the patient's legs in the Secured Position.

FIG. 2 is a 3-Dimensional view of the preferred embodiment. The arm rests are upright for use as an office chair. FIG. 2A is a right side view. FIG. 2B is a posterior, right view.

FIG. 3 represents the preferred embodiment with the arm rest folded inwards. FIG. 3A is a frontal view of the chair. The arm rests (numbers 1 to 5) are folded inwards to hold the patient's legs onto the chair in the Secured Position. The VARILOC hinge number 5 sets an acute angle and allows for the inward mobility of the arm rest (numbers 1 to 4). The VARILOC hinge number 3 allows for the arm pad (numbers 1 and 2) to be flipped 180 degrees. In the downward position, the arm pads hold the patient's legs firmly on the seat. FIGS. 3B and C are side views of the chair with the arm rests folded inwards and flipped downwards.

FIG. 4 is a frontal schematic drawing of a patient utilizing the preferred embodiment to attain the Secured Position. FIG. 4A shows the patient mounting the device. The patient is lying on his/her back, face up, with hips and knees flexed. The patient's legs are resting comfortably in the seat of the chair. In FIG. 4B the arm rests are folded inwards and the arm pads are flipped 180 degrees by the VARILOC hinges to secure the patient's legs onto the seat. The patient is now in the Secured Position. The patient may need assistance from another individual to adjust the VARILOC hinges that fold the arm rest inwards and flip the arm pads downwards.

FIG. 5 is a side view, schematic diagram of the preferred embodiment utilized for the Therapeutic Position. In FIG. 5A the patient attains the said Secured Position. The inwards folding of the arm rests secure the legs onto the seat. With the patient in the Secured Position, an assistant triggers the pneumatic, telescopic stand to elevate its height. The seat elevates along with the patient's attached legs, hip and lower back. The assistant may also manually lift the seat to the desired height. Once the lower back is lifted off the ground 2 to 3 cm, the assistant locks the telescopic stand at that specific height. The patient is now in the Therapeutic Position (FIG. 5B). The gravitational pull will stretch the paraspinal muscles and apply gentle lumbar distraction allowing muscle relaxation. Relaxation will stop the paraspinal muscle spasm and myofascial inflammation, and will aid in recuperation.

Contraindications to using this device are hip and knee instability, vertebral instability from trauma, recent spinal instrumentation without consent from the surgeon, new onset radiculopathy and nerve damage.