US 3364926 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Jan. 23, 1968 J ALDERSON 3,364,926
I CERVICAL TRACTION COLLAR Filed March 20, 1967 //V VEA/TOE JOHN M ALDERSQA/ United States Patent 3,364,926 CERVICAL TRACTION CGLLAR John M. Alderson, 9082 Savoy St., Riverside, Calif. 92503 Continuation-impart of application Ser. No. 390,401, Aug. 18, 1964. This application Mar. 20, 1967, Ser. No. 624,425
Claims. (Cl. 128-75) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A lightweight cervical traction collar which serves also as a protective shield for the neck of its wearer. The collar is made in three sections, two of which are in rotatably slidable contact and another two of which are held in spaced apart relationship by compression springs connected therebetween. This construction permits the collar wearer to either move his head from side to side or nod it, to a limited extent, while his neck remains in traction.
Cross reference to related application This application is a continuation-in-part of my copending US. application Serial No. 390,401, filed August 18, 1964 now abandoned.
Background of the invention This invention relates generally to cervical traction devices, and more particularly to a cervical traction collar uniquely designed to permit substantially greater versatility of head movement by its wearer than any presently known cervical traction brace, or other device, of which I am aware.
Presently known cervical braces, or splints, as they are sometimes called, often comprise a massive harness, with elaborate strap fastenings, designed to fit the wearers shoulders; a neck-straining chin support sling; and a plurality of struts joining the harness and chin support sling all of which cooperate to lock the wearers head in fairly rigid confinement. While it is true that certain of these braces permit head movement to a limited degree (see, for example, U.S. 2,474,200 to McBee, which discloses such a brace designed to permit turning head movement and US. 2,807,260 to Teufel, directed to a brace with a plurality of shock absorbing springs to cushion accidents, shock or accidental movement effects), no brace of which I am aware permits freedom of head movement in both turning and nodding directions. Consequent- 3,364,926 Patented Jan. 23, 1968 ICC , movement by the patient but have no built-in means for cushioning his head and neck against physical shock resulting from an accident or the like.
Summary of the invention Briefly, the cervical traction collar of this invention is a simplified traction device consisting of three lightweight collar members, preferably molded from Plexiglas or other suitable (and preferably transparent) plastic material, which fit, in alignment, around a wearers neck and serve as a splint, while, at the same time, providing a well ventilated protective shield, therefor. As a result of its lightness of weight and simplicity of construction, the collar is much more comfortable to wear, and is less con- .spicuous, and considerably more attractive, than a conventional cervical brace or splint of the bulky harness and strut type described above.
The collar members are constructed to fit together in alignment with the rims of two of them adjacent and rotatably movable relative to one another, so that one of the ly, all such braces are heavy and extremely uncomfortable to wear, not only because of their weight but the manner in which they force their wearers heads into awkward positions and rigidly hold them there, the resulting discomfort being only partly relieved in some cases by limited movement such as indicated above. Furthermore, such braces are conspicuous when Worn and unattractive in appearance.
It is common, in treating a patient with a fractured vertebra to immobilize the vertebra for proper healing effect by supporting the patients head with a relatively immovable supporting brace, or splint. The head of the patient is thus maintained in a fixed position of support relative to his body, with the result that his neck muscles are immobilized and become weakened from lack of exercise and reduced circulation. In addition to depriving him of neck muscle exercise, this rigid confinement of the patients head results, over a period of time, in great discomfort to him. Moreover, where the patients head is thus immobilized, it is necessary for him to turn his whole body to see objects not in his direct line of vision, thus two members can easily turn, or twist, while remaining properly aligned with the other, and a separate two (of which one is, of course, common to the first two) members being held in spaced apart relationship by resiliently compressible means, such as compression springs, which provide sufficient tension to maintain the necessary traction on a collar wearers neck yet yield to a sufficient extent to permit him (the wearer) a limited amount of upand-down, or nodding, head movement. As a result of these details of construction and assembly of its parts, the collar of this invention permits the wearer greater freedom of head movement than does any presently known cervical traction device of which I am aware. The principal advantages of such freedom of head movement, as will be clear from the foregoing, manifest themselves in a minimization of physical discomfort to patients undergoing neck traction and concomitant conditioning of the neck muscles of such patients through exercise, as well as minimization of the possibility of discomfort, or injury, to patients eyes as a result of straining on their (the patients) part to see things just outside their lateral ranges of vision. Additionally, the resiliently compressible means by which the collar permits up-and-down head movement by its wearer serves as a cushion to absorb shocks to which he might be accidentally, or otherwise, subjected, thereby preventing, or minimizing the possibility of, additional injury to his neck while it is in traction.
The principal objects of my invention are therefore to provide a well ventilated cervical traction collar which serves, additionally, as a protective shield for the wearers injured neck and which, by virtue of lightness of weight and simplicity of construction, is relatively comfortable to wear and relatively inconspicuous and attractive in appearance; and to provide such a collar which permits its wearer limited head movement in any direction, while maintaining his neck under adequate traction, to thereby lessen his discomfort, affort him neck muscle exercise, and minimize the possibility of eye strain or injury to him. Another object of the invention is to provide a means of maintaining cervical traction on a patient in need of same with far less hindrance to his freedom of head movement and interference with his normal daily routine than those traction means heretofore known have occasioned. Other objects, features and advantages of the invention will appear in the light of disclosures to follow herein.
Brief description of the drawing FIGURE 1 is a side elevation of a preferred embodiment of a cervical traction collar in accordance with this invention in position around the neck of a wearer, the
wearers neck and portions of his head and upper torsobeing shown in phantom lines.
FIGURE 2 is a plan view of the collar in its FIG- URE 1 position, the wearers head and body being omitted to provide a clearer view for purposes of illustration.
FIGURE 3 is a fragmentary sectional view showing Description of the preferred embodiment Considering now the drawing in greater detail, there is shown at C a preferred embodiment of a cervical traction collar in accordance with this invention, FIGURE 1 showing the collar in position around the neck of a wearer, the neck and portions of the wearers head and upper body being shown in phantom lines. Collar C is made up of three members 10, 12 and 14, each generally round configuration, which fit together in axial alignment, in the manner illustrated in FIGURE 1, when assembled for wear. Collar member is in an upper, collar member 12 in a middle and collar member 14 in a lower position in the collar when so assembled, and those members will, accordingly, be hereinafter identified as upper collar member 10, middle collar member 12 and lower collar member 14, respectively. When assembled and installed for neck traction use, the collar members are arranged so that the middle and lower ones are in adjacent rim contact and the middle and upper ones are held in spaced apart relationship by means of four spiral compression springs 32 harnessed and positioned for this purpose by cooperating means hereinafter to be described. This manner of assembly results in encirclement of a major portion of the wearers neck by the aligned collar members which consequently serve as a protective shield therearound. The shield, as FIG- UR-E 1 shows, has an annular gap between the upper and middle collar members, where they are held apart by the springs 32, which gap serves the purpose of a ventilating space to provide good air circulation around the collar wearers neck. The collar members are made of a lightweight transparent plastic material, such as Plexiglas, to make the collar more comfortable for wearing purposes and permit the wearers neck to be observed at allrtimes while he is undergoing cervical traction treatment. The collar is not, however, limited to Plexiglas, or other transparent plastic, construction, and can be made of any material generally suitable for the purpose.
Middle collar member 12, as FIGURES 1 and 2 show, is of hoop-like configuration, having a fiat upper edge or rim 12a and an equally fiat lower edge or rim 12b, the latter having a sufiiciently smooth surface to permit it to slide readily in contact with an upper edge of rim 14a of the lower collar member so that the former member can easily turn, or twist, relative to the latter when their adjacent edges are in contact. As will be apparent, the upper rim 14a of the lower collar member is substantially equivalent to the lower rim 12b of the middle collar member in size, shape and surface slickness to permit turning of the middle collar member in contact therewith in the above-indicated fashion. As FIGURES 1 and 2 show, the bottom portion of the lower collar member is contoured to fit snugly against the shoulders, upper chest and upper back of the collar and thereby assure a good foundation for the collar when positioned for use while, at the same time, minimizing the discomfort of the collar wearer.
Upper collar member 10 has a flat lower edge or rim 10a but is beaded and contoured around its upper part to provide chin rest and neck rest portions, shown at 10b and 100, respectively, in FIGURES l and 2, for more comfortable support of the chin and back of the head of the collar wearer. To provide additional comfort for the wearer, padding can be employed at these two pressure points on the upper collar member (where it supports the chin and back of the head) if desired. As FIGURE 1 shows particularly well, collar C is of compact construction and designed to imprison little more than the neck of the wearer, as a result of which it bears on his shoulders, upper chest and upper back in relatively close proximity to the base of his neck, unlike the manner in which many conventional cervical braces bear against and bind large areas of a wearers shoulders, upper chest and back in a tightly encasing body harness.
Each of collar members 10, 12 and 14 consists of two semicircular halves hinged together at one side of the collar wearers neck (when the collar is positioned for use) by means of a hinge 16, and fitted with hook fastening hardware consisting of a flat hook member 18 having a hooked configuration at one end and pivotally fastened on a suitable rivet 20 at its other end outboard of the collar member, and a short screw 22 turned far enough into the collar member to anchor it in place yet leave a portion of its shank exposed to serve as a latch bar for latching cooperation with the hooked end of the member 18. The hook fastening hardware is attached to the semicircular halves of the collar member at their unhin-ged ends in such fashion as to permit those ends of the member to be hooked together. in the manner indicated at y in FIGURE 1, whereby the collar can be quickly and easily installed around the neck of a wearer, or as readily removed therefrom, by a simple hooking or unhooking operation which even a child can perform. The three collar members have their hinges 16 so positioned as to fall into vertical alignment when the collar is installed for use around a wearers neck, and he is facing straight ahead. The same thing is true with respect to the hook fastening means, all as illustrated in FIGURES 1 and 2 of the drawing.
Those portions of the upper and lower collar members which flare outwardly as a result of the top and lower bead and contour configurations of the collar are appropriately notched about the vertical line of disposition of the hinge 16 joints to permit unhindered opening of those members. The resulting notch cuts can be seen in FIG- URE 2, that in the lower collar member being defined by the two slanting cuts x in the two halves of the collar member and being more prominent than the notch in the upper collar member because of the greater flare configuration involved.
The ease with which the lower rim of the middle collar member 12 slides in contact with the upper rim of the lower collar member 14 permits the collar wearer to turn his head from side to side and contributes to the versatility of head movement permitted the wearer as a characterizing feature of the cervical traction collar of this invention. To assure that the middle and lower collar members remain in alignment at all times, and prevent jumping of the track, so to speak, by the middle collar member as it turns in contact with the lower member, six pairs of guide tabs 24 are so sized and aflixed at their upper ends to the wall surfaces of the middle collar member that their lower ends extend downwardly below the lower rim of that member., The pairs of guide tabs are equiangularly spaced around the circumference of the middle collar member, and the two tabs in each pair are of equal size, disposed with their axes on the same collar member radius and secured on opposite sides of the collar member wall so that their bottom ends depend the same distance below the lower rim of said member, all as illustrated in the drawing, and particularly FIGURE 3. To prevent any possibility of the wall of the lower collar member binding in the space between the depending portions of the guide tabs 24, the facing surfaces of the guide tabs below the level of the bottom rim of the middle collar member are offset slight distances from the wall surfaces of the latter (middle collar member) to leave enough clearance between the tabs and Wall surfaces of the lower collar member to obviate the possibility of such binding, this feature of the collar structure being illustrated in FIGURE 3.
Upper collar member and middle collar member 12, are as indicated above, maintained in spaced apart relationship by means of the four compression springs 32. These springs are spaced equiangularly around the outer side of the collar, as shown in FIGURE 2, the springs being maintained in these positions by captivating means hereinafter to be described. More specifically, each of the springs is held at its ends in two thick-bottomed sockets, one afiixed to upper collar member 10 and the other to middle collar member 12 so as to be in substantially vertical alignment when the collar is positioned for use, as illustrated in FIGURES 1 and 2. The two collar members are prevented from twisting, or turning, one with respect to the other, as the middle collar member turns on the lower one, by four spring retaining rods 30 of round cross section which pass respectively through the hollow centers of the springs. The four sockets 26 in which the upper ends of the springs 32 are held, or fit, comprise four equivalently shaped pieces of molded plastic, each having a loosely mating hole for one of the spring ends bored partly therethrough. The sockets are glued, or otherwise fixedly secured, in properly spaced relationship, to the outer wall of the upper collar member so as not to extend below the lower rim of that member and with the mouth of its spring receiving hole facing downwardly and the hole extending substantially vertically upwardly therefrom. Sockets 26, similarly to the collar members, are made of a transparent plastic, such as Plexiglas, although they can, as in the case of said collar members, be made of any other suitable material of construction, if desired.
Sockets 28, into whichthe lower ends of the springs 32 fit, are of essentially the same construction as sockets 26 and are fastened around the outer wall of the middle collar member 12 similarly to the way the sockets 26 are fastened to the outer wall of the upper collar member except that here, for obvious reasons, the openings of the spring receiving holes in the sockets face upwardly. The sockets 26 and 28 are, as previously indicated, so positioned on the collar members 10 and 12 as to assure vertical alignment of the spring receiving holes of each pair adapted to hold one of the springs 32 in position. Each of the spring retaining rods 30 passes through the hollow center of a separate one of the compression springs 32 and is anchored at its upper end in a tight fitting recess 26a extending upwardly into the body of the plastic molding from which socket 26 is formed from a concentric opening in the bottom of the spring receiving hole in that socket. The rods 30 are secured in place in recesses 26a of sockets 26 by gluing, or other suitable means. These rods are, preferably, made of the same plastic from which the collar members and sockets are made, although, as in the case of the latter parts, they can be constructed of any other suitable material within the scope of this invention. The same thing is true, incidentally, with respect to guide tabs 24, previously discussed, which serve to hold the middle and lower collar members in alignment during usage of collar C.
The spring retaining rods 30 are of equivalent length, and each extends downwardly from its anchor point in a recess 26a of one of the sockets 26 to termination somewhere below the bottom of the socket 28 through which it passes. As previously indicated, and the drawing, particularly FIGURE 4, illustrates, the bottoms of the sockets 23 are relatively thick. To permit a spring retaining rod 30 to pass through its bottom, as the rod obviously must do to terminate therebelow in accordance with present teachings, each of the sockets 28 has a passageway 28a sized to admit the rod in loosely sliding relationship running through its bottom coaxially with the spring receiving hole in the socket, as illustrated in FIGURE 4.
The compression springs 32 are somewhat compressed when the collar C is installed around the neck of a wearer. In this connection, each of the spring retaining rods 30 has an annular groove near its bottom end to receive a lock ring 34 which acts as a stop, or abutment, to prevent escape of the rod from its containing socket passageway 28a thereby helping to hold the collar members 10 and 11 together and minimize the possibility of parts loss when the collar is not in use. The above-mentioned compression to which springs 32 are subjected when the collar is fitted around the neck of a wearer is evidenced in FIGURES 1 and 4 of the drawing where it can be seen that all of the visible lock rings 34 on the spring retaining rods 30 are disposed below, and out of contact with, the bottom of the sockets 28 through which the rods carrying them pass and with which they would be in contact were the springs not under such compression. The reason for the partial spring compression is, of course, to provide optimal traction conditions for the neck of the collar wearer. It will be appreciated that collar C is so constructed that springs of varying tension can be interchanged in the spaces occupied by springs 32 in accordance with the recommendations of orthopedists or other medical specialists.
This invention has been described in considerable detail in order to comply with the applicable patent law requirements by providing a full public disclosure of at least one of its forms. Such detailed disclosure is not, however, intended to in any way limit the broad features or principles of the invention, nor the scope of patent monopoly sought to be granted. Accordingly, while the invention has been herein illustrated and described in what is conceived to be a preferred and practical form, it is emphasized that departures may be made therefrom within the scope of this invention. Certain of these departures have already been mentioned, and others will occur to those skilled in the art in the light of present teachings. Exemplary of the latter are noncritical variations of the collar features; the use of substitute materials of construction; the elimination of certain structural, or other, features of the collar not critically essential to its proper use and functioning; the addition of useful, but noncritical accessories to the collar; etc.
Specifically illustrative of the many permissible collar modifications of the above-noted types would be the reversal of the compression spring and guide tab positions on collar C in such a way as to render the upper and middle collar members rotatably slidable with respect to one another and the middle and lower collar members separated by compression springs; the substitution of a different arrangement of guide tabs to hold the middle and lower collar members in alignment as, for example, the use of tabs only on the inner surface of a collar member, only on the outer surface of a collar member, on both the middle and lower collar members, etc.; the substitution of a different type of guide system to hold r the middle and lower collar members together, such as,
for example, a tongue and groove system, for guide tabs 24; the substitution of a different angular spacing between hinges 16 and the hook fastening means on the collar members, as, for example, separating these by degrees, instead of ISO-degrees; the use of other fastening means for the collar members in lieu of the hook members 18 and accessory hardware; etc.
It is emphasized, in final summary, that the scope of my invention extends to all variant forms of its drawing illustrated embodiment encompassed by the language of the following claims.
1. A lightweight cervical traction collar adapted to serve, additionally, as a ventilated protective shield around the neck of its wearer comprising, in combination:
(a) an upper collar member shaped around its top to provide chin support and support for the back of the head of said wearer;
(b) a middle collar member; and
(c) a lower collar member contoured around its bottom to fit comfortably on the shoulders, upper chest and back of said wearer relatively closely adjacent the base of his neck;
(d) said collar having cooperating collar member characteristics and accessory means to permit its assembly around the neck of a wearer with the middle and one of the other of the collar members held in adjacent alignment in such a way that the upper one of these members is rotatably movable whereby the wearer is enabled to turn his head from side to side, and the middle and remaining collar members held in spaced apart relationship by compressible means adapted to yield resiliently to pressure and permit limited up and down, or nodding, head movement by the wearer.
2. The cervical collar of claim 1 in which the two collar members held in adjacent alignment in such a way that the upper one is rotatably movable are the middle and lower collar members and in which the lower rim of the middle and the upper rim of the lower member meet in slidable relationship to permit such rotatable movability of the former, and in which guide means are provided to maintain the two collar members in alignment when the collar is being worn.
3. The cervical traction collar of claim 2 in which said guide means comprises a plurality of guide tabs attached to at least one side of the middle collar member and extending downwardly below its bottom rim.
4. The cervical traction collar of claim 1 in which said compressible means comprises a plurality of equally sized spiral compression springs and cooperating means for captivating the spring ends in positions peripherally adjacent said middle and remaining collar members, and angularly spaced therearound, and for maintaining said springs in axially parallel relationship to said collar.
5. The cervical traction collar of claim 4 in which the means for captivating said spring ends in positions peripherally adjacent said middle and remaining collar members, and angularly spaced therearound, and for maintaining said springs in axially parallel relationship to said collar comprises four pairs of relatively thick-bottomed receptive sockets for the ends of said springs, each pair being fixedly secured to said middle and remaining collar members in aligned relationship, with their open ends facing each other, and four spring-retaining rods which pass freely through the respective hollows of the springs;
6. The cervical traction collar of claim 5 in which said receptive sockets and spring-retaining rods are oriented to hold the four spiral compression springs in proper position for resiliently holding the upper and middle collar members of said collar in spaced apart relationship, and in which said rods are each fixedly secured at one end to a socket connected to the upper collar member and provided with associated stop means at the other end to prevent its escape from the openingthrough which it passes in the bottom of the socket cooperating to this ef feet in accordance with the claim 5 teachings.
7. The cervical traction collar of claim 6 in which the four spring-retaining rods are of round cross section and the stop means to prevent escape of the rods from the openings through which they pass in the bottoms of the receptive sockets with which they are thusly associated comprise four lock rings seated in grooves running annularly around the four rods.
8. The cervical traction collar of claim 1 in which each of the recited collar members comprises half-sections hinged together at two ends and provided with temporary fastening means at the other two ends, and in which the hinged sides of the closed members coincide when the collar is worn to facilitate its fastening in place around the neck of a wearer and removal therefrom.
9. A cervical traction collar in accordance with claim 1 fabricated, at least for the most part, from a transparent plastic material.
10. A cervical traction collar in accordance with claim 8, fabricated, at least for the most part, from Plexiglas.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,474,200 10/1949 McBee 128-'-87 2,807,260 9/1957 Teufel 12887 RICHARD A. GAUDET, Primary Examiner.
J. W. HINEY, Assistant Examiner.