US 3540439 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 3,108,587 10/1963 Das 128/75  Inventor m l tmwfihm 1,332,883 3/1920 Breslaw 2/172 pp No. 7 75 1,529,300 3/1925 C00k..... 2/172 9 1 1 2,885,683 5/1959 Lrpkm 2/172  Filed M1316, 1968 I 45 Patented Nov. 17,1970 3,358,292 12/1967 Bonk et al 2 172 Assifilee Mdicl' u a llic- Primary Examiner- Richard A. Gaudet m Clmunl Assistant Examiner-J. Yasko 8 P1101150! n Attorney-Parrott, Belll, Seltzer, Park and Gibson  gaz ABSTRACT: A cervical traction device comprising a head strap adapted to fit around a patients head across the ears and  U.S. 128/75 forehead and provided'with a rear concavo-convex pocket 1 1/02 which will engage the patient's head both above and below the 71, external occipital protuberance so that action force can be 75.25; 272/803/172 applied with minimum discomfort and without immobilizing the lower jaw. Also, a pull strap means is attached to and ex-  Refuum Cited tends upwardly from opposite sides of the head strap adjacent UNITED STATES PATENTS the helices of the patients cars such that the upward pull is 1,374,115 4/1921 Roemer 128/71 centered directly over the spinal column so the patients head 1,747,174 2/1930 Knowles.. 128/71 is not forced to extend angularly with respect to the means 1,837,153 12/1931 Ettinger 128/75 longitudinal plane of the spinal column.
Patented Nov. 17, 1970 ATTORNEYS CERVICAL TRACTION DEVICE usein applying cervical traction to a patient whose spinal.
column or neck has been injured.
As is well know, cervical traction devices are employed for stabilizing the vertebrae of the spine, removing nerve pressure andrelaxing muscle spasms. Various types of cervical traction devices have been proposed heretofore, .among which are forms of head halters having chin straps. Such head halters are uncomfortable to the patient since the traction force is directed primarily against the lower jaw and prevents the patient from talking, eating or using his lower jaw in any way while in traction.
Another type of cervical traction device proposed heretofore comprises a head strap extending above the patients ears, across the forehead and below the occipital protuberance with a pull strap connected to the head strap at opposite sidesof the patientshead. This prior art head strap has the advantage over head halters of the type described above, since it does not immobilize the patients lower jaw. However, the nature of such. head strap is such that most of the traction force at the back of the patients head would be effective below the occipital protuberance, thus causing the upper edge of the rear portion of the head strap to form a depression in the back of thepatients head which could become very uncomfortable within a short period of time after the head strap is applied. Also, such strap had the pull straps. connected thereto forwardly of the patients ears so as to provide a forward pull to the strap to ensure that the rear portion of thestrap would not slip'over the occipital protuberance but would firmly engage the patients head. Because of the forward pull exerted on the Referring more specifically to the drawings, the traction device of the present invention comprises a head strap broadly designated -at I0 which includes an elongate strap body' 11 preferably woven from suitable textile material. Strap body 11 'may be of substantially the same width; e.g., about 2 inches wide, along its length. It is preferred, however, that one end portion of strap'body II is provided with a relatively small up wardly projecting pull tab portion l2'integral therewith to facilitate positioning the head strap about the patients head, and removing the head strap therefrom.
Preferably, a substantial length of the medial portion of strap body 11 is curved longitudinally substantially as shown in FIGS. Sand 4 so that, whenth'e'head strap 10 is being worn substantially. as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the forward overlapping portions of the strap body I'l'may extend generally parallel to the patients forehead, and the rear portion of strap body 11 may curve downwardly at a slight angle so as to fit properly over the upper portion of the patients occiput.
In order to form a pocket in the head strap 10 to accommodate the occiput of the patients head, an elongate gusset 13, which is ofsubstantially lesser length than strap body 1 l,-is connected to and extends substantially parallel with the medial lower portion, or rear portion, of strap body 11. In its preferred embodiment, the gusset 13 should be of a length about to percent of the total length of strap'body 11, depending of course, on the amount that the end portions of the strap body 11 will overlap when the cervical traction device is being used. Stated otherwise, the length of gusset 13 should be such that opposed terminal end portions thereof are located adjacent to or slightly forward'of the patients ears when the head strap is being worn. For this reason, even though the I strap is adjustable to fit about a patients head, different sizes patients head by such arrangement of the pull straps, the head would be tilted forwardly under'traction, causing the cervical vertebrae to pinch nerves therebetween at their forward portions.
It is therefore an object of this invention to provide an improved cervical traction device which substantially eliminates the aforementioned and other problems which havebeen inherent in prior art head-halter and head-strap types of traction devices.
A further object of this invention is to provide a head strap which fits around the upper part of the head ofthe patient and wherein the'head strap includes a concavo-convex rear portion so formed as to snugly engage the patients occiput both above and below the external occipital protuberance such that the pressure ofthe strap at the occiput is distributed thereover thereby minimizing discomfort to the patient when a pulling force is applied to the head strap.
Another object is to provide a head strap of the character last. described which includes pull strap means connected thereto at points adjacent the helices of the patients cars so that adjacent cervical vertebrae will be properly aligned to obviate undue nerve pressure. Such arrangement of the pull strap means is facilitated by the'concavo'convex configuration ofthe rear portion ofthe head strap.
Some of the objects of the invention having beenstated, other objects will appear as the description proceeds when taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. I is a perspective view showing the traction device of the present invention positioned on the head .of a patient in traction;
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the patient and traction device shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is an outside elevational view of the traction device showing the head strap in open condition removed from the patients head;
FIG. 4 is an inside elevational view of the traction device looking at the opposite side of the head strap from that shown in FIG. 3;.
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the head strap removed from thepatients head; and
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view taken substantially along line 6-6 in FIG. 4.
of head straps would be desirable to ensure that the ends of gusset 13 will extend over the particular patients ears.
Gusset 13 is preferably shaped substantially in the form of two interconnected parabolas whose vertexes are located at the middle of the gusset 13. In other words, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the upper and lower edges of gusset 13 are convexly curved and converge away'from the middle of the gusset and may form pointed or slightly rounded distal ends on'the gusset. The upper edge of gusset 13 may be of a curvature corresponding substantially to the concave curvature of the areaate lower edge of the rear portion of strap body II, with a row of stitching 14 securing the upper portion of gusset 13 to the lower portion of strap body 11. Although the lower edge of gusset 13 may be of somewhat different shape than the upper edge thereof, it is preferred that the lower edge of gusset I3 also is of substantially the'same arcuate configuration as the with the lower edge of the strap body 11 is less than the linear length of that portion of the arcuate lower edge of strap body 11 extending between the points at which the lower edge of gusset 13 intersects with the lower edge of strap body II. In other words, although the lower concave arcuate edge of body 11 and the upper convex arcuate edge of gusset 13 may be of substantially the same shape, when stitching these two edges together, the opposed end portions 13b of gusset l3 are caused to overlap body 11 so the effective length of gusset 13 between junction points X is less than the corresponding length ofstrapbody II. p
In order to minimize slippage between the patients head and head strap I0 when the head strap has been positioned on the head of the patient and a traction force is applied thereto, while also rendering the head strap more comfortable to the patient the inner surfaces of head strap body 11 and gusset 13 are provided with a layer ofa soft or yieldable, spongelike fricgusset 13 are respectively designated at llaand 13a in FIGS. 3, 4 and 5. Suchfacing materials-l la, 13a are preferably in the form of polyurethane foam material which may be fused to, adhesively secured to, or secured in any other suitable manner, to the inner surfaces ofstrap body 11 and gusset 13.
Any suitable means may be provided for fastening together opposite end portions of strap body 11 to snugly secure the head strap about the patients head as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. It is preferred that a so-called Velcro" type of fastening means is employed in which a short strip of textile pile material is secured to one of the end portions of strap body, and wherein a hook strip 21 is suitably attached to the other or opposite end portion of strap body ll. As preferred, the strip of pile material 20 is secured, by suitable stitching, to the outer surface of strap body 1 l adjacent that end ofstrap body 11 having the pull tab 12 thereon. Hook strip 21 is secured, as by suitable stitching. to the inside surface of strap body ll (or to the facing material lla thereof) adjacent that end of strap body ll remote from pull tab 12. Hook strip 21 may be of a type such as is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 2,7l7,437, issued Sept. I3, 1955, wherein the hook strip is provided with tiny hook elements extending outwardly from one side of a backing material and which will become embedded in and will cling to a soft fibrous material when pressed thereagainst. Usually the material against which such hook strips are pressed to form a fastening means is a napped textile material. Since the fastening means described herein and embodied in the pile strip 20 and the hook strip 21 is fully disclosed in said U.S. Pat. No. 2,717,437, a further description thereof is deemed unnecessary. In fact, it is to be understood that other fastening means, suchas snap fasteners, may be employed without departing from the invention.
One reason why one fastening element (either the pile strip 20 or the hook strip 21) is located on the outside surface of that end portion of strap body ll having the pull tab thereon, while the other fastening element is located on the inner surface of the other end portion of strap body ll, is that, while the head strap is being placed about a patients head, only one end portion of the head strap is exposed, because it overlaps the other end portion. However, the person placing the head strap on the patients head can grasp the pull tab 12 to hold that end of the head strap against the patient's forehead while the other end of the head strap is being lapped over and fastened against the end portion having the tab 12 thereon, thus ensuring that the head strap may be tightly fitted about the patients head.
A suitable cloth binder strip 22 is preferably folded over and stitched to the head strap over the entire perimeter of strap body I1 and gusset 13.
Pull strap means'is attached tospaced portions of head strap body 11 for connecting the head strap 10 to a suitable device for applying a pulling force thereto. Such pull strap means may be. in the form of two straps or, as shown, the pull strap means may take the form of a single pull strap 23 whose opposite end portions are secured, as by suitable stitching 24, to the upper outer surface portions of head strap body 11. It is important to note that opposite end portions of pull strap 23 are spaced apart from each other and are so positioned with respect to strap Ibody II that they are substantially aligned with or are immediately forwardly of the helices of the patient's ears when head strap 10 is properly positioned on the head ofthe patient, as best shown in FIG. 2.
More importantly. opposed ends of pull strap 23 should be located across from or in vertical alignment with the distal end portions of gusset 13. Thus, when a traction force is being applied to pull strap 23, the tendency for the opposed side portions of the head strap body 11 to bow upwardly, transmits the pulling force to the ends ofgusset ll which, in turn, biases the gusset firmly into supporting position beneath the external occipital protuberance of the patient. Pull strap 23 may be made from any suitable textile webbing, and in order to attach the pull strap 23 to one end of a rope 26 or the like connected to the aforementioned device for applying a pulling force thereto, a. metal ring 27 loosely e ncircles pull strap 23 as shown in FIGS. 1,2, 3 and 4. I
Since thehead strap 10 must be fastened tightly about the patients head so that it will remain in place when a substantial pulling force is applied to pull strap 27 and thus to head strap 10, there may be instances in which it is desirable to provide additional cushioning protection for the patient's ears, since the head strap of this invention extends over the ears of the patient when in use. Accordingly, a pair of cushion members 30 is hingedly connected, as by stitching 31, to the upper portions of strap body ll adjacent the ends of pull strap 23. Cushion members 30 may be of any suitable construction and preferably each cushion member 30 comprises a small casing or bag 30a which may be made from any suitable textile material, such as jersey material, and which contains therein a suitable substantially rectangular block 30b of resilient material, such as foam rubber or polyurethane. The length and width of each cushion member 30 should be such that it will substantially cover the corresponding ear of the patient while depending from its stitching 31, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. Since.
there may be instances in which the patient or the attending physician does not wish to cover the patients ears with the cushion members 30 while the traction device is being used. it is apparent that in such instances, the cushion members 30 may simply be pivoted upwardly so that they will extend above the strap body '11, during which the cushion members 30 may be positioned between the patients head and the corresponding end portions of pull strap 23.
It is thus seen that l have provided an improved head strap for use as a cervical traction device which is so constructed that patients using the same may experience complete comfort even while being subjected to cervical traction of up to 20 pounds pull, or even more if medically desirable, and wherein the pocket formed in the rear portion of the head strap distributes the forces acting on the head strap over substantial areas of the patients head at the occiput and both above andbelow the external occipital protuberance. Also, by virtue of this pocket being formed in the head strap, the pull strap means 23 can be positioned in alignment with or closely adj'acent the helices of the patients cars so the pulling force can be centered directly in alignment with the spinal column.
In the drawings and specification there has been set forth a preferred embodiment of the invention and although specific terms are employed, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation, the scope of the invention being defined in the claims.
l. A cervical traction device adapted to apply a traction force with minimum discomfort and without immobilizing the lowerjaw, saiddevice comprising:
a head strap adapted to encircle a wearer's head and overlie the forehead, said head strapcomprising a medial portion adapted to be positioned adjacent and above the wearers external occipital protuberance and opposite end portions, detachable fastening means positioned on said end portions for retaining said head strap encircled about the wearer's head;
a gusset attached to and extending substantially parallel with said medial portion of said head strap, said gusset projecting downwardly and inwardly from said medial portion so as to snugly engage the wearers head below the external occipital protuberance; and
pull strap means connected to said head strap at spaced points along said medial portion and extending upwardly applying a traction force thereto.
2. The cervical traction device as defined in claim 1 wherein the upper edge of said gusset is attached to the lower edge of said medial portion with the ends of said gusset upper edge being positioned somewhat above the medial portion lower edgeto thereby cause the gusset to be drawn inwardly in relation to said medial portion.
3. A cervical traction device as defined in claim 1 wherein said head strap medial portion has a concave arcuate lower edge. and said gusset has a convex arcuate upper edge and a convex arcuatc lower edge intersecting at the distal ends thereof, said gusset upper edge generally conforming to the shape of the medial portion lower edge and being joined thereto with the distal ends of said gusset being positioned somewhat above the medial portion lower edge to thereby cause said gusset lower edge to be drawn inwardly in relation to said medial portion.
4. The cervical traction device as defined in claim 3 wherein said gusset distal ends are positioned adjacent the wearers ears when the head strap is positioned to encircle the head.
5. The cervical traction device as defined in claim 1 wherein said opposite end portions are adapted to be disposed in overlapping relationship when the head strap is positioned to encircle the wearers head, and wherein said detachable fastening means comprises cooperating Velcro units.
6. The cervical traction device as defined in claim 5 wherein one ofsaid opposite end portions includes an upwardly extending pull tab adjacent its free end which is adapted to project above the. other of said opposite end portions when said opposite end portions are disposed in said overlapping relationship.
7. The cervical traction device as defined in claim 1 wherein said head strap and gusset are provided with a spongelike inner friction facing. t
8; The cervical traction device as defined in claim 1 further comprising a pair of cushioned members attached for pivotal displacement to-the inner surface of said head strap adjacent its upper edge, said cushion members being spaced apart from each other such that they may engage the wearer's ears when the head strap is positioned to encircle the head.