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Publication numberUS3359976 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 26, 1967
Filing dateFeb 23, 1965
Priority dateFeb 23, 1965
Publication numberUS 3359976 A, US 3359976A, US-A-3359976, US3359976 A, US3359976A
InventorsLaval Jr Claude C
Original AssigneeLaval Jr Claude C
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Portable device for maintaining the back of a vertebral body in traction
US 3359976 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

PORTABLE DEVICE FOR MAINTAINING THE BACK OF A VERTEBRAL BODY IN TRACTION Filed Feb 23, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet l CLAUDE C. LAl/AL,J,R. UVVENTOR 'ATFQQNEKS Dem 1967 c. c. LAVAL. JR

I PORTABLE DEVICE FOR MAINTAINING THE BACK OF A VERTEBPAL BODY IN TRACTION Filed Feb. 23, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 CLAUDE C. LAVAL. JR.

- I v wmv 709 M 7%! United States Patent 3,359,976 PORTABLE DEVICE FOR MAINTAINING THE BACK OF A VERTEBRAL BODY IN TRACTION Claude C. Laval, Jr., 2444 Farris Ave., Fresno, Calif. 93705 Filed Feb. 23, 1965, Ser. No. 434,501 6 Claims. (Cl. 128-75) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A device for maintaining the back of'a vertebral body of a patient having a head in traction providing a frame mounted on the patients back and having an overhead tubular member containing a spring means extended outwardly from an end of the tubular member forwardly of the patients head and being connected to a traction halter for applying traction in an upward forward direction to the verterbral body of the patient.

The present invention relates to a portable device for maintaining the back or spine of a vertebral body in traction and more particularly to a device which is mounted on the trunk of such a body permitting ambulation while drawing the back of the head of the body endwardly of the spine and forwardly under a predetermined tension thereby to cause predetermined traction in the back of the body in all permitted positions of the head and body.

The present invention is adapted for use with any vertebral body having a head and trunk as, for instance, the body of a primatal mammal or an anthropoid. However, it is especially suitable for use with human beings and, therefore, will be described in such an operational environment for illustrative convenience.

In the correction or curing of osteal deformities of the neck and spinal regions or weakness or disease of the spinal column and occiput, it has been known to use various orthopedic apparatus in order to effect traction in the upper portion of the body. Examples of such devices are described in United States Patent No. 2,642,864, issued June 23, 1953, to T. C. Ward, United States Patent No. 954,005, issued Apr. 5, 1910, to Luis Roth, and United States Patent No. 2,665,685, issued Jan. 12, 1954, to M. Kaufman. However, in practical usage and in view of current trends in medical science such prior devices have limitations which the present invention seeks to overcome. They are often not adapted to be carried by the patient while in use, thus restricting the patient to limited range of movement, as with Kaufmans device. Devices developed to allow use by ambulatory patients are cumbersome, uncomfortable and tend excessively to restrict the movement of the head, jaw and mouth, thus making it extremely difficult if not impossible to talk, eat or generally to engage in natural movement. In addition, when the chin is drawn upwardly to an excessive degree, the traction effect on the rear of the back or the spine tends to be nullified. Furthermore, such devices are often complex and require great skill and patience in order to obtain proper adjustment.

Modern medical experience has shown that in the correction of spinal diificulties, it is frequently most important to maintain traction in the spinal column itself, without necessarily causing muscular tension and stresses in the remainder of the trunk. Therefore, any extension of the spine is best effected longitudinally thereof and not solely in upward extension of the whole trunk and neck. Furthermore, it is now commonly accepted that a patient will more rapidly recover if he is enabled to move freely about so that his body processes are allowed to function in a normal manner to maintain a healthy condition conducive to recuperation.

In concentrating attention on the maintenance of traction in the spinal column itself rather than in the whole trunk, it has been found that it is especially effective to draw the head of the body forwardly and upwardly in longitudinal extension of the spinal vertebrae rather than directly vertically as has been the practice heretofore and as is evidenced by the above mentioned patents. In order to impart a horizontal component to the tensional force needed to cause traction, it is necessary that the supporting structure be counter-balanced so as to provide a base of resistance to a horizontal force. This important feature has not been taught in the prior art.

Therefore, it is an object of the present invention to provide a portable device for maintaining the back of a vertebral body in traction.

Another object is to provide such a device which draws the head upwardly and forwardly in longitudinal extension of the spinal column and neck.

Another object is to provide such a device which causes traction in the spinal column by acting through the back of the head so as to allow free movement of the mouth, jaw and front of the head.

Another object is to provide such a device which causes traction in the spinal column without the opposing effect of drawing the chin upwardly.

Another object is to provide such a device which is carried on the trunk of the body and allows free movement thereof.

Another object is to provide such a device which is adapted to withstand horizontal components of force as well as vertical components while being carried on the trunk of the body.

Another object is to provide such a device which is comfortable for the user.

Another object is to provide such a device which is adjustable to accommodate users of different sizes and shapes.

Another object is to provide such a device which allows the user to move freely about while in traction, thereby to enhance his recuperation.

Another object is to provide such a device which is adjustable to provide varying degrees of traction in the spinal column.

Another object is to provide a device which firmly engages the trunk of the body for all amounts of traction in the spinal column.

Another object is to provide such a device which is lightweight, simple, economical and easily and readily adjustable.

These and other objects will become more fully apparent upon further reference to the following description in the specification and the drawings.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a side elevation of a portable traction device as mounted on a person undergoing treatment and which traction device embodies the principles of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a rear elevation of the device shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a perspective View of the device of FIG. 1 removed from the patient.

FIG. 4 is a somewhat enlarged fragmentary side elevation of the lower crosspiece of the present invention showing a slotted end thereof.

FIG. 5 is a somewhat enlarged fragmentary perspective view of the overhead support arm of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a transverse section of the support arm of FIG. 4, as viewed in a plane represented by line 66, and showing the detent arrangement for a tension cable and spring.

FIG. 7 is a side elevation of a modified form of the present invention.

Referring in greater detail to the drawings:

A carrying frame is indicated generally at mounted on the back of a patient 11 undergoing spinal treatment. The frame conveniently consists of an inverted U-shaped member 12 connected across its open lower end by a lower transverse member or crosspiece 13 attached thereto by means of rivets 14 or the like. The respective opposite ends 17 and 18 of the lower crosspiece are angled forwardly of the patient and provide slots 19 adapted to receive a belt 20, a strap 21 and hooks 22, to be described. While it will be apparent that the carrying frame may be constructed of a variety of materials, the applicant prefers to use aluminum or stainless steel members, according to the convenience of assembly, interconnected in the association described, as by riveting or the like.

The U-shaped member 12 provides an upper transverse member or crosspiece 25 and opposite side elements 26. The side elements may be shaped as by angling to conform to the configuration of the patients back, as shown in FIG. 1.

A central support post or red 27 is mounted centrally of the frame 10 by suitable means such as rivets 28 and a riveted clamp 29. The post extends cent-rally upwardly behind the patient with adequate spacing to avoid restriction of movement of the patients head. To allow varying the length of the post to accommodate patients of different sizes it is desirable to provide a conventional telescopictype connection 30. The connection is conveniently locked in the desired position of extension by means of a suitable detent such as a pin 31 disposed through matching bores 32.

A conventional bolted joint 33 may also be provided in the upper portion of the post 27 to allow accommodation of different patients. The joint may be adjusted as desired and then locked by means of a wing nut 34 or the like. The joint includes serrated bearing surfaces, not shown, for security of locking.

A11 overhead support arm 35 is integrally attached to the support post 27 and extends forwardly of the patients head at a predetermined height thereabove allowing free movement of the head. The support arm is preferably hollow to allow insertion therein of a tension spring 36 and a cable 37, to be described. The forward end 38 of the support arm is disposed above and forwardly of the patients head at a predetermined point substantially aligned with the patients spine, not shown, so as to assure a sufficient angle of forward disposition of the head incident to drawing the head forwardly and upwardly in longitudinal extension of the spine. A pair of downwardly projecting flanges 39 is provided at the forward end of the support arm and a rotatable pulley 40 is mounted therebetween. A rubber cushion cap 41 is preferably fitted to the forward end of the arm in order to protect surrounding surfaces, not shown, in case of abrasive contact therewith.

In the rearward portion of the support arm 35 an elongated aperture 42 is provided. The aperture is of a size to accommodate a cord or cable 43, to be described, and is notched along one side to provide a series of detent notches 44.

The frame 10 is secured to the patients trunk by a pair of identical shoulder straps 47A and B, respectively. These straps have conventional strap hooks 22 at their opposite ends and are preferably provided with buckles, not shown, to allow adjustment in length. As viewed in FIG. 2, it can be seen that strap 47A is secured to the slotted end 17 of the lower crosspiece 13 and proceeds diagonally upwardly at the rear of the trunk and passes over the upper crosspiece 25 on the opposite side of the frame, at 51. Thence, it passes over the corresponding shoulder and downwardly to the lower crosspiece where it is secured at the end 18. The other strap 47B is similarly attached, symmetrically of the strap 47A relative to a plane of reference, not shown, passing through the support post 27 and support arm 35. The two straps cross at 52, where they are preferably secured together by means of a rivet 53 or the like to allow ease of initial positioning of the device on the patient.

An adjustable cushion strap 21 is disposed through the slots 19 between the angled ends 17 and 18 of the lower crosspiece 13 and provides a comfortable resilient bearing surface for contact with the small of the patients back. A buckle 54 allows adjustability of the cushion strap. A conventional belt 20 may be utilized if desired to afford the patient a sense of additional security, although it has been found that the shoulder straps 47 are fully adequate to secure the frame 10 on the patient. The conventional belt is conveniently looped through through the slots 19.

A coil spring 36 is slidably enclosed within the hollow support arm 35. The spring has forward and rearward ends 58A and B, respectively, and is preferably of a tensile strength sufficient to provide a tensile force of at least eight-and-one-half pounds.

The cable 37 is attached to the forward end 58A of the spring 36 and extends through the forward end 38 of the support arm 35 in rolling engagement with the pulley 40. A hook 60 is attached to the free end of the cable. A transverse yoke 61 is releasably secured to the hook 611 and includes a hook 64 at each end.

The patients head is gripped or secured by a conventional orthopedic sling 65 consisting of a chin strap 66 and a occiputal strap 67 disposed at the back of the head, the straps being joined on each side of the head at a common apex 68. An adjustable strap 71 connects the sling straps on each side of the head. Attached to each of the opposite apices is a shackle ring 72 which is releasably secured to the corresponding yoke hook 64 for tensioned support of the head.

Any suitable means may be utilized to secure the spring 36 to the arm 35 and to allow adjustment of the spring tension. In the described embodiment the adjusting or locking cord 43 is attached to the rearward end 58B of the spring and is provided with a knot 73 or any other type of stop or lock means adapted to engage the detent notches and to lock the cable 37, the spring and the cord in selected tensioned positions. The frame 10 is adapted to be used with patients of various sizes and the locking cord allows adjustment of the spring and cable to accommodate different patients. In general, there is no set tension force required for effective traction in the spinal column, however, it is often prescribed that the tension should be at least eight-and-one-half pounds. The tension in the spring may be measured and visually determined by any suitable means such as a conventional Hookes scale or the like, not shown. The adjustable locking cord allows changing of the position of the spring in relation to the patients head and thereby effects the various amounts of tension desired.

Second form In a second form of the present invention, shown in FIG. 7, a support post 27A is provided which is shaped to conform more closely to the patients back and to allow the wearing of a garment, not shown, over the frame. Also shown in FIG. 7, is a telescopic support arm 35A. By providing the overhead arm with a telescopic connection 74 and locking pin 75, the arm is rendered adjustable in length to allow changing the position of the forward end 33 of the arm relative to the head of the patient, thereby to accommodate patients of different sizes. This feature also affords another means of adjusting the tension in the spring 36, if desired. All other elements of the second form are substantially identical to those of the first form and are correspondingly identically numbered in FIG. 7.

With either form of the device in position on the patients back and with the patients head secured in the sling 65, as described, the principal pressure points are found generally to be on the back of the head at 77, at the pulley 40, at the front of the shoulders or upper portion of the trunk at 78, on the upper crosspiece 25 of the frame 10 and at the lower portion or small of the back at 79 where the cushion strap 21 contacts the trunk. It should be obvious from a study of these pressure points that by increasing the pull on the cable 37, through appropriate adjustment of the locking cord 43, the frame is thereby more securely positioned on the back incident to selftightening of the shoulder straps 47 relative to the shoulder pressure points and the frame. As viewed in FIG. 1, it is evident from the position of the shoulder straps that the only possible movement of the frame is downward and toward the patients back. In fact, by pulling down on the forward end 38 of the overhead support arm 35 in a direction longitudinally aligned with the tensioned cable 37, it has been found that the cushion strap and lower portion of the frame seat more firmly against the small of the back at 79 and the upper portion of the frame, cushioned by the shoulder straps, fits more snugly against the upper portion of the back at 80. This downward pull is, of course, balanced by a corresponding upward and forward pull on the back of the patients head at 77.

When the device is in position on the patients back and the proper tension is effected in the cable 37 the principal pull on the head is through the occiputal strap 67 at the rear of the head which is held in position on the head by its purchase on the occiput, supplemented by its connection to the chin strap 66. However, the chin strap is not subjected to stress and, consequently, the patient is able freely to move his head and the forward part of his chin. This allows him comfortably to eat, talk and engage in other normal movements of the head without decreasing the amount of tension or interrupting the traction in his spine.

From the foregoing it is apparent that, the device of the present invention provides a portable means for maintaining the back of a patient in traction. It draws the back of the head upwardly and forwardly in longitudinal extension of the spinal column and neck and allows free movement of the mouth, jaw, and front of the head. Through use of this device the patient is enabled to move freely about and to engage in necessary toilet and other activities which help to expedite his recuperation. It is lightweight, simple, economical and easily and readily adjustable.

Although the invention has been herein shown and described in what is conceived to be the most practical and preferred embodiments, it is recognized that departures may be made therefrom within the scope of the invention, which is not to be limited to the details disclosed herein but is to be accorded the full scope of the claims so as to embrace any and all equivalent devices and apparatus.

Having described my invention, what I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:

1. A device for maintaining in traction the back of a vertical body having a head, shoulders and a trunk, comprising a frame having angularly related predetermined upper and lower ends adapted to be mounted on the back of the trunk of such a body; a substantially rigid support post mounted in substantially upstanding relation on the frame centrally of the back of the trunk and having an angularly bent lower portion, said frame and said lower portion of the post being disposed in substantially conforming relation to the back of the trunk, said support post including a substantially rigid integral upper arm disposed in a substantially horizontal attitude and having a predetermined forward end disposed a predetermined distance forwardly of the head; shoulder strap means on the frame for holding the upper end of the frame in predetermined spaced relation to said trunk; sling means borne by the head providing a grip against the back of the head; adjustable tension means disposed within said arm and having an end downwardly rearwardly extendible from the forward end of the arm for connection to said sling means in substantially longitudinally aligned relation to said vertebral body to impose a rectilinear pulling force thereagainst and to produce a reaction force through said arm and post to press the frame downwardly and more tightly against the back of the trunk.

2. A device for maintaining traction in the back of a vertebral body having a head and a trunk, comprising a rigid frame adapted to be mounted on the back of the trunk; strap means attached to the frame and releasably securing said frame to the back of the trunk; a support member mounted on the frame in substantially longitudinally disposed conforming relation to the back of the trunk and extending above the head rearwardly thereof; a tubular substantially horizontal overhead member rigidly mounted on said support member in spaced relation to the head and extending to a point disposed a predetermined distance forwardly of the head; sling means worn on the head providing a grip for upward and forward drawing of the back of the head; elongated resilient flexible tensioning means disposed in the overhead member; means adjustably connecting said tensioning means to the overhead member at selected points thereon thereby to adjust the effective tension of said means, said tensioning means extending downwardly from the forward point of said overhead member; and means connecting the tensioning means to the sling means to draw the back of the head upwardly and forwardly in substantially longitudinally aligned relation to the body and thereby to maintain the back of the body in traction in all positions of the head and body, the adjustment of the tensioning means permitting the application of a predetermined amount of traction on the back and a reaction force through said overhead member and said support member to press the frame firmly against the back of the trunk.

3. A device for maintaining traction in the back of a human body including a head, a shoulder, and an elongated trunk having an upper and lower portion, comprising a rigid frame adapted to be carried comfortably and securely on the back of the trunk, said frame having an upper transverse member and a lower portion, said upper member and lower portion being paced apart a predetermined distance; strap means engaged with the upper transverse member of the frame and passed around the upper portion of the trunk to secure said frame to the back of the trunk with the lower port-ion of the frame disposed in contact with the lower portion of the back of the trunk, said strap means and frame cooperating firmly to secure said frame to the back of the trunk; an elongated support rod mounted on the frame centrally of the back and extending upwardly thereof past the shoulder; an elongated hollow support arm mounted on said rod and extending forwardly thereof in spaced relation above the head, said arm terminating at a predetermined point above and forwardly of the head and providing a detent; a coil spring disposed within the arm in spaced relation to said point, the spring being movable along the length of said arm; stop means connected to the spring adapted to engage the detent in selected positions of the spring along the arm thereby to secure the spring to the arm; an elongated flexible cable having first and second respective ends, the first end being connected to the spring, said cable extending forwardly from said first end past the forward point of the arm and downwardly toward said head, said cable being resiliently extensible and retractable relative to the arm to dispose the second end in selected positions of overhead and forward juxtaposition relative to the head; pulley means mounted on the arm at said forward point and disposed in rolling engagement with said cable; a sling worn on the head providing a grip thereon for forward and upward drawing of the back of the head; and means connecting the sling to the second end of the cable, said cable when so connected drawing the back of the head under a selected force of tension upwardly and forwardly relative to the body and thereby maintaining a predetermined amount of traction in the back of the body in all positions of the head and body, said frame and strap means cooperating with the trunk to provide a foundation for the support arm and cable for all amounts of tension in the cable.

4. The device of claim 3 wherein the strap means passes over the shoulder.

5. The device of claim 3 wherein the frame has opposite sides and the strap means comprises first and second elongated straps, said straps being adjustable in length and having opposite respective ends, one end of each of said straps being connected to the lower portion of one side of the frame and the opposite end of each of the straps being connected to the lower portion of the opposite side thereof, the first strap being looped over one side of the upper transverse member and over the corresponding shoulder, said first strap having a portion disposed rearwardly of the trunk transversely diagonally related thereto, the second strap being disposed around the frame and trunk substantially symmetrically oppositely of the first trap relative to an imaginary plane of reference passing through the support rod and the support arm.

8 6. The device of claim 5 wherein an auxiliary strap is connected across the lower portion of the frame and disposed in cushioning contact with the lower portion of the back of the trunk.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,809,049 10/1957 Graham 12875 2,813,527 11/1957 Cook 128-87 2,828,735 4/1958 Thompson 12875 2,949,152 8/1960 Hipps 12875 2,954,026 9/1960 Spinks 128-75 2,984,238 5/1961 Axtell et al 12875 3,030,109 4/1962 Albitz 272-78 3,118,443 1/1964 Dykinga 128-75 RICHARD A. GAUDET, Primary Examiner.

J. W. HINEY, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2809049 *Oct 1, 1956Oct 8, 1957Carlson Theodore FSteering gear idler arm assemblies
US2813527 *Apr 5, 1956Nov 19, 1957William CookNeck and spine traction device
US2828735 *Jun 19, 1956Apr 1, 1958Belton S ThompsonTraction device
US2949152 *May 28, 1956Aug 16, 1960Herbert E HippsChair brace
US2954026 *Apr 27, 1955Sep 27, 1960Joseph M SpinksPhysiological traction device
US2984238 *Jun 24, 1957May 16, 1961Harold B AxtellAdjustable head traction device
US3030109 *Sep 23, 1959Apr 17, 1962Albitz Benjamin FPunching bag exercising apparatus
US3118443 *Jan 11, 1962Jan 21, 1964Donald L DykingaHead halter
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3697065 *Jan 12, 1971Oct 10, 1972Thomas M Glassburner JrTraining aid for sprinters
US3795243 *Jan 29, 1973Mar 5, 1974Miller JAmbulatory traction device for cervical problems
US3871366 *Nov 6, 1973Mar 18, 1975Yves Paul Charles CotrelDevice for pulling the rachis
US3915161 *Jan 18, 1974Oct 28, 1975Shields Ralph JMobile traction apparatus
US4220147 *Dec 5, 1977Sep 2, 1980Allen Ralph SPartially disassemblable traction sling
US4539979 *Apr 27, 1983Sep 10, 1985Bremer Orthopedics, Inc.Temporary cervical traction maintenance
US4620530 *Mar 6, 1985Nov 4, 1986Camp International, Inc.Halo traction brace
US4653750 *Jan 17, 1986Mar 31, 1987Isotechnologies, Inc.Thoracic restraint for exercise apparatus
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US4951654 *Jul 24, 1989Aug 28, 1990Gambale Anthony GTraction table
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US5248293 *Oct 29, 1991Sep 28, 1993Biomechanical Design, Inc.Tethered medical restraint device
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US5451202 *Sep 22, 1993Sep 19, 1995Pacific Research Laboratories, Inc.Cervical traction device
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US8528978 *Nov 2, 2011Sep 10, 2013The Boeing CompanyTransport vehicle seat back with integrated upright sleep support system
US9241822 *Dec 31, 2012Jan 26, 2016King Abdulaziz UniversityPortable cervical traction device
US20080274859 *May 1, 2007Nov 6, 2008Brennan James CGiant trainer
US20130106163 *Nov 2, 2011May 2, 2013The Boeing CompanyTransport vehicle seat back with integrated upright sleep support system
US20140188027 *Dec 31, 2012Jul 3, 2014King Abdulaziz UniversityPortable cervical traction device
US20150107599 *Oct 18, 2013Apr 23, 2015Saint Louis UniversityPost vitrectomy position stabilizer
USD761968May 20, 2015Jul 19, 2016Larry W. TaylorHead and neck support
Classifications
U.S. Classification602/36, 602/17
International ClassificationA61F5/04, A61F5/055
Cooperative ClassificationA61F5/055
European ClassificationA61F5/055