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Publication numberUS3420230 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 7, 1969
Filing dateDec 6, 1965
Priority dateDec 6, 1965
Publication numberUS 3420230 A, US 3420230A, US-A-3420230, US3420230 A, US3420230A
InventorsBallard Louis M
Original AssigneeBallard & Associates Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Back brace
US 3420230 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Jan. 7, 1969 L. M. BALLARD 3,420,230

BACK BRACE Filed Dec. 6, 1965 INVENTOR. LOU/5 M. BALLA/PD mat M- V ATTOPNE Y United States Patent 9 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A back brace including upper and lower C-shaped girdle sections conforming to upper and lower portions of the human body, the sections including relativelyrigid C-shaped cores interconnected by a torsion "bar of simple construction and attachment to the cores. Provision is made for adjustment of the torsion bar at a confined end thereof.

This invention relates enerally to human body braces, and more particularly concerns improvements in back brace assemblies.

In human body erect position large forces are brought to bear on the base of the spine (lumbosacral spine). In treating pathologic conditions of this region it becomes necessary to support the area by stabilizing the lumbosacral spine. To effect this stabilization it is necessary to control much of the upper or thoracic spine as well. Some conditions, as for example compression fractures, require hyperextension of the diseased region of the spine. Other conditions require a flexing type brace for conservative treatment of ruptured intervertebra disk, lurnbosacral sprain, spondylolisthesis, and the like. Still other conditions require immobilization in neutral position and/ or unweighting or unloading of the spine, or traction. Examples of the latter conditions are ankylosing spondylitis, dicitis, postspinal fusion, degenerative arthritis, osteoporosis, and pathologic fractures.

Quoting from Henry H. Jordans Orthopedic Appliances, The Principles and Practice of Brace Construction, p. 30, Daily experience reveals how few braces worn for the various disorders of the spine are efiicient and, at the same time, designed to permit the patient to participate fully in activities he should be able to enjoy. This underlies the urgent need for improvement in the manufacture of spinal braces. In this regard, most braces available are cumbersome, uncomfortable, and reduce the freedom of motion to an inordinate degree while obtaining relatively little immobilization. No brace of which I am aware is able to put the spine in the desired degree of traction afforded by the present invention. Most braces for low back problems do not attempt to control the upper spinal column (thoracic spine). It is this pendulum with much of the body weight on it that creates the tremendous load of the lumbar sacral spine via the high torque created through a relatively long lever arm, i.e., the entire upper and mid bony spine with its thoracic cage and contents. Braces designed for low back support take purchase just on the region of the lower thoracic lumbar spine and hips. Further, no one brace of which I am aware can be used to put the spine in both hypertension and fiexion. Most available braces permit movement only in one plane. The brace here proposed is unique in that it overcomes many of the problems cited.

Basically, the new body back brace assembly comprises body load transmitting upper and lower girdle sections shaped and spaced apart to conform substantially to upper and lower portions of a human torso, and means including a torsion bar interconnecting the sections to yieldably resist relative movement thereof while holding the sections in their spaced apart relation with the bar located 3,420,230 Patented Jan. 7, 1969 proximate the body spinal region. Typically, the sections are C-shaped to conform respectively to side and rear thoracic and pelvic regions of the body torso. As will be seen, the construction is such that body movement is permitted in all modes affecting the spine, i.e., flexion, extension, lateral bending and rotation, imparting a feeling of freedom, but against such resistance imposed by the brace as to yield a physiologically desirable degree of immobilization.

Further features of the invention include the provision of an adjustable connection operable to adjust the relative spacing of the sections; the provision for ready connection and disconnection of the girdle sections onto the body; and the provision for interchangeability of torsion bars of different configuration to accomplish different physiological functions.

These and other objects and advantages of the invention, as well as the details of illustrative embodiments, will be more fully understood from the following detailed description of the drawing, in which:

FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 are rear, front and side elevations showing one preferred form of the brace applied to a patient;

FIGS. 4 and 5 are horizontal sections taken on lines 4-4 and 5-5 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged vertical section showing the attachment of the FIG. 1-3 torsion bar to the girdle sections;

FIG. 7 is a perspective illustration of the upper girdle section of FIGS. 1-3;

FIGS. 8a, 8b, and 8c are sections through different type torsion bars; and

FIG. 9 is a section showing another modified torsion bar.

The illustrated back brace assembly 10 basically comprises body load transmitting upper and lower girdle sections 11 and 12 shaped and spaced apart to conform substantially to upper (thoracical) and lower (pelvic) portions of a human torso 13, together with means including a torsion bar 14 interconnecting the sections to yieldably resist their relative movement while holding the sections in their designated spaced apart relationship with the bar 14 located proximate the body spinal region 15.

As illustrated, the sections 11 and 12 are generally C- shaped, the upper section having side and rear portions 16a and 17a conforming to side and rear thoracic regions 16]) and 17b, and the lower section having side and rear portions 18a and 19a conforming to side and rear pelvic sections 18b and 19bof the torso. More specifically, the upper section 11 may take purchase over the high mid thoracic spine and extends laterally to the lateral thoracic walls where it is form fitting, and the lower section 12 extends over a wide area including the region of the spine at the sacroiliac level, over the gluteal regions above both greater trochanters, up over the contour of the iliac crests, and encircling the interior superior iliac spines. The construction of the upper section 11, which is similar to that of the lower section 12, includes a generally C- shaped relatively rigid core sheet 20 made of molded glass fiber and resin, laminated plastic or any suitable synthetic material molded over a plaster of Paris or other positive mold of the patients back and pelvic region. The section has nonmetallic lining 21 at the inner side of the core 20, the lining for example consisting of horsehide or goat skin or any material suitable for the comfort of the patients skin. A similar outer lining 122 may be provided, and the section includes numerous small holes or through openings 22 better seen in FIG. 7 to allow for breathing or air circulation. Finally, the sections 11 and 12 each include a detachable strap connection adapted to extend at the front of the body torso. For example, section 11 has flexible straps 25 and 26 respectively connected at 27 and 28 with the section terminals, and buckles or other fasteners 29 allow adjustable interconnection of the straps. Likewise, section 12 has flexible straps 30 and 31 respectively connected at 32 and 33 with the section terminals, and buckles 34 for adjusting the strap interconnection.

The means interconnecting the upper and lower girdle sections 11 and 12 may include an adjustable connection operable to adjust the relative spacing of the sections. Such'a connection may include load transmitting membars on the torsion bar and on one of the sections, together with an adjustable screw for adjusting the relative vertical positions of the members, thereby to vary the traction loading exerted upon the patients spine. For example, FIG. 6 shows groove defining member 36 on the upper section 11 and tongue member 37 on the torsion bar at the upper terminal thereof, the tongue received in the groove for vertical adjustment therein while constrained against lateral displacement. A screw or screws 38 are threaded in part 36 to extend into the groove to bear upon the upper end of the tongue so that when the screw is advanced into the groove, the upper section 11 is lifted relative to the torsion bar and lower section 12, thereby to increase the traction loading upon the patients spine. Member 36 is typically attached rigidly to the core 20 as is clear from FIG. 6.

Similarly, the lower section 12 has a core 40 to which a groove defining member 41 is attached to receive the tongue 42 at the lower terminal of the torsion bar. If the patient bends forwardly, rearwardly or sidewardly, or rotates his torso, the torsion bar remains attached to the sections 11 and 12 as described, and yieldably resists their movement, so that the patient remains free to move but against yieldable constraint tending to hold his torso upright and immobile. Thus, the torsion bar acts as an auxiliary spine, relieving the patients spine of otherwise damaging loading, and the patient may simultaneously be held in traction.

The invention also enables ready replacement of the torsion bar, as with other types and cross sections of torsion bars as are illustrated in FIGS. 8 and 9. Thus, the bar may be a rod 47, flat 48 or tubular 49. If the patient is to be maintained in neutral position with respect to flexion and extension, then the bar will conform to the shape of the spine, as for example is provided by the curved strap 50 in FIG. 9 adjacent the spinal region 51. If the spine is to be unloaded (unweighted) or put in traction, then once the brace is put on the patient tension will be increased on the bar, and since the purchase on the pelvic region and thoracic region will be relatively immobile, the spine will be unloaded. If hyperextension is required, then the bar may be made with greater lumbar lordosis. If the spine is to be placed in relative fiexion, then the bar will be made with flattening of the normal lumbar curve. As the patients condition improves, tension may be removed from the rod either by adjustment or changing to a rod designed to meet require- 4 ments. Thus, the basic brace affords a high degree of versatilty and utility.

I claim:

1. A body back brace assembly, comprising body load transmitting upper and lower girdle sections shaped and spaced apart to conform substantially to upper and lower portions of a human torso, and means including a torsion bar interconnecting said sections to yieldably resist relative movement of said sections while holding the sections in their spaced apart relaton with the bar located proximate the body spinal region, said sections each being generally C-shaped to conform respectively to side and rear thoracic and pelvic regions, but not the front, of the body torso, each section including a generally C-shaped relatively rigid core, said cores being connected to opposite end portons of the torsion bar.

2. The assembly of claim 1, in which said last named means includes socket members carried by the cores and into which said opposite end portions of the torsion bars are closely received, and a device to adjust the position of one bar end portion in one socket member while said one portion remains confined therein.

3. The assembly of claim 1 including a flexible strap connection attached to each section and adapted to extend at the front of the body torso.

4. The assembly of claim 1, in which said last named means includes an adjustable connection operable to adjust the relative spacing of said sections, said bar being of one-piece construction between said sections.

5. The assembly of claim 4, in which said connection includes load transmitting members on the torsion bar and one of said sections, and an adjustment screw for adjusting the relative vertical positions of said members.

'6. The assembly of claim 2, in which each section includes a nonmetallic lining at the inner side of said core.

7. The assembly of claim 1, in which the torsion bar is tubular extending between said sections.

8. The assembly of claim 1, in which the torsion bar comprises a rod extending between said sections.

9. The assembly of claim 1, in which the torsion bar comprises a strap extending between said sections.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 124,473 3/1872 Banning 12878 664,250 12/ 1900 Fitzpatrick 128-78 1,650,650 11/1927 Pieper 128-78 FOREIGN PATENTS 1,640 1890 Great Britain.

0 L. W. TRAPP, Primary Examiner.

US. Cl. X.R. 12s 7s, s4

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
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Classifications
U.S. Classification602/36, 602/19
International ClassificationA61F5/02
Cooperative ClassificationA61F5/024
European ClassificationA61F5/02E