US 3574397 A
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United States Patent  Inventor ,Ian Norriss 4002 E. Fort Lowell, Tucson, Ariz. 85716  Appl. No. 759,126
 Filed Sept. 11, 1968  Patented Apr. 13, 1971  ORTHOPEDIC PILLOW 4 Claims, 8 Drawing Figs.
 US. Cl 297/391, 5/338  Int. Cl A47c 7/38 (50] Field otSearch 297/391, 395; 5/337, 338
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,835,905 5/1958 Tomasson 5/338 2,940,088 6/1960 Boos 3,151,911 10/1964 Eichorst Primary Examiner-David .l. Williamowski Assistant Examiner-Wayne L. Shedd Attorney-Gregory J Nelson PATENTEUAPRIBIQYI 3,574,897
JAN NOR RISS.
ORTHOPEDIC PILLOW The present invention relates to a new and novel pillow. More specifically, the present invention relates to a pillow for comfortably supporting the head and neck of the user for orthopedic use.
Conventional pillows for supporting the head are usually filled with a cushioning material of cotton, feathers, or, in some cases, sponge rubber. Such pillows are usually too soft, allowing the users head to form uncomfortable depressions in the pillow. Often conventional pillows are too thick and consequently the head of the user is displaced in an unnatural position causing strained neck and shoulder muscles.
In an attempt to overcome the deficiencies of the conventional pillows, a number of therapeutic or posture pillows have been suggested. For example, it is known to provide a pillow of a resilient material having a contoured head receiving cavity that accommodates the back of the user's head. Most of these prior art pillows have the disadvantage that the user must sleep in one position, not being able to turn his head and gain the advantages of the pillow in various positions of sleep. Further, these pillows do not allow for comfortable use by persons having different size heads and physical dimensions.
It becomes apparent that there exists a need for a pillow of simplified design readily adaptable for optimum accommodation of the various physical requirements of the users.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a scientifically designed pillow for orthopedic and general use.
It is a broad object of'this invention to provide a pillow for use for rest and sleeping which reduces cervical strain and pressures and induces a relaxed physical state.
Another object of this invention is to provide an orthopedic pillow composed of a soft, resilient material with communicating contour cavities for receiving the neck and head of the user.
Another object is to provide a pillow of a unique configuration which eliminates pressure on the users ears as well as being adaptable to any size head.
A more specific object is to provide an orthopedic pillow having a central cavity from which extends head and neck receiving recesses adapted to relieve muscular strain and tenson.
A specific object of the invention is to provide an orthopedic headrest for use in connection with an automobile seat.
Other objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following specification and drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the pillow of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a plan view of the pillow in FIG. 1; FIG. 3 is a transverse section taken along lines 3-3 of FIG.
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view along lines 4-4 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view along lines 5-5 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 6 shows the pillow being used;
FIG. 7 shows a cross-sectional view of a pillow constructed in accordance with the present invention and adapted for use in an automobile; and
FIG. 8 shows in detail the mounting bracket of the FIG. 7 embodiment.
Referring now to the drawings, particularly FIGS. 1 to 5 inclusive, the numeral 10 designates the pillow as a whole. The pillow is shown as having a generally circular shape for convenience and to minimize the size. The outer configuration could easily be rectangular, oval, square, or any other suitable shape as the outer shape is not important to the novel configurations provided in the pillow itself. The pillow is shown as being molded of flexible polyurethane foam or sponge rubber and, again, any uniformly compressible material could serve well. Polyurethane is particularly suited as it is fire resistant, nonallergenic, and may be autoclaved.
The upper surface, against which the user's head lies is designated as 11 and the base of the pillow is shown as I2. The
base is relatively flat so that the pillow will be relatively even on a horizontal surface.
The upper surface 11 of the pillow is contoured in a novel way to support the user's head, neck, and shoulder area and may be used in several positions of rest to relieve muscular and nerve stress. I
A central, relatively deep concave depression 15 is provided in surface 11 to receive the center portion of the users head. The depth of the depression is such that if the user choses to sleep on his side, freedom from uncomfortable pressure on the ears is afforded. At the rear of the pillow a head receiving cavity 16 extends peripherally outward from the center cavity 15. Cavity 16, shown as being generally U-shaped, is for receiving the upper portion of the user's head and preferably increases in width progressively toward the outer edge of the pillow. The bottom of cavity 16 may be flat but is preferably inclined downwardly slightly toward the outer edge from the center cavity.
With this configuration cavity 16 is adapted to comfortably cradle different-sized heads.
Neck-receiving depression 20 extends from the front edge of the pillow into central cavity 15 and is somewhat semicircular in cross section and may also be slightly inclined downwardly toward the edge of the pillow. The depth of both depressions l6 and 20 approximately correspond to the maximum depth of head recession 16 or may be slightly shallower.
For example, I have found about 2 inches to be a convenient maximum depth for these depressions for use by persons of average physical shape.
In use, a person can lie on his back with the back of his head cradled in depression 16 and cavity 15 and his neck supported along its length in depression 20. The height of the pillow promotes an overall horizontal body position without the neck and spine being uncomfortably raised. If additional height is desired, the pillow of the invention may be supported upon a conventional pillow. Further, the head and cervical areas are supportingly cradled for maximum support by the contour surface I] conforming naturally to these areas. Additionally, it will be noted that the shape of my unique pillow will accommodate a range of body and head sizes and shapes.
If the user wishes to lie on his side, as seen in FIG. 6, the pillow of the present invention serves equally well as a shallow, natural support. The head and neck are supported, respectively, by depressions I6 and 20, as discussed above, the central cavity I5 receives the ear without any pressure thereon due to its shape and depth and induces relaxing comfort.
FIGS. 7 and 8 illustrate another preferred embodiment of the present invention adapted for use with a seat or in an automobile to allow the driver or passenger a comfortable head and neck support. More important my unique pillow, when used as an automobile seat headrest, could serve to prevent serious neck whiplash injuries by cushioning the head and neck. In this embodiment, the pillow 10a is as shown in FIG. 1 but may be terminated at 23 along the central cavity providing segmented head cavity 15a and neck depression or channel 20a in surface 11a. The pillow is formed having an internal frame with two extending members 21 and 22 which are spaced apart and secured to the pillow. Members 21 and 22 are shown in FIG. 8 as being slightly angular to maintain natural neck and spinal alignment during use. Conventional receiving brackets (not shown) located on the back of the automobile seat behind the driver or passenger secure the pillow to the seat. While driving, the user can support his head in a natural, comfortable position, and should a rear end-collision occur, my novel pillow would cushion the rearward thrust of the head to possibly prevent severe injury.
It will, therefore, be appreciated that I have provided a new and novel orthopedic pillow construction which overcomes objections of the prior art devices. The pillow of the present invention is simple and easy to manufacture from a wide range of resilient materials. The pillow provides for a comfortable cradle support of the users head and cervical areas and allow the user to rest in various positions, all of which are easily accommodated by my design pillow. Further, my pillow may be modified for use as a headrest in an automobile.
Various other changes and modifications in the device herein chosen for purposes of illustration in the drawings will readily occur to persons having ordinary skill in the art' To the extent that such modifications and changes do not depart from the spirit of the invention, they are intended to be included in the scope thereof, which is not limited to the embodiment, specifically illustrated in the drawings, but rather only by ajust and fair interpretation of the claims.
Having fully described the invention in such manner as to enable those skilled in the art to understand and practice same.
1. An orthopedic pillow adapted to comfortably cradle the neck and head of the user, said pillow comprising a body portion of a resilient material having a contoured upper surface, said upper surface having a substantially central convex cavity therein, a neck-receiving channel extending from said central cavity toward the front edge of said pillow a head-receiving channel extending opposite said neck-receiving channel from said center cavity toward the rear edge of said pillow and adapted to support a portion of the users head, said center cavity being relatively deeper than said channels and being adapted to receive the area of the users head adjacent the ear thereby permitting the user to sleep on the side of his face nels are substantially U-shaped and said head-receiving channel is of greater cross-sectional area and greater depth than said neck-receiving cavity.
4. An orthopedic headrest for use with a seat having a cushion and back supporting member, said headrest comprising a body portion of a resilient material having a contoured upper surface including a substantially convex cavity therein, a neck-receiving channel extending from said central cavity to the front edge of the headrest, a head-receiving channel extending opposite said neck-receiving channel from said center cavity toward the rear edge of the headrest and adapted to receive a portion of the users head, said center cavity being relatively deeper than said channel and being adapted to receive the area of the user's head adjacent the ear thereby relieving undue pressure thereon when the user assumes a position with the side of his face against the pillow, and mounting means secured to said headrest and adapted for attachment to said seat.