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Title:
APPARATUS FOR TREATING SOFT TISSUE INJURIES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2008/131307
Kind Code:
A3
Abstract:
An apparatus and method is provided for treating injured muscles before, during, and/or after physical activity. Practicing the method involves pressing a plurality of pressure applicators against the skin proximate to a muscle for a sustained period of time. The pressure applicators pressed against the body can be either pins, support members, and/or any combination thereof. The support members may be secured to the therapeutic surface of a therapeutic body as to create a muscle support apparatus. In such an apparatus, the base of pressure applicator is secured to the therapeutic surface such that the distal end of the pressure applicator extends away from the therapeutic surface.

Inventors:
EILAZ, Babaev (4583 Wilson Street, Minnetonka, MN, 55345, US)
Application Number:
US2008/060941
Publication Date:
December 24, 2008
Filing Date:
April 18, 2008
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
EILAZ, Babaev (4583 Wilson Street, Minnetonka, MN, 55345, US)
International Classes:
A61H39/04; A61H39/06; A61H39/08
Domestic Patent References:
WO1999029236A11999-06-17
WO2007046990A22007-04-26
Foreign References:
US20040055076A12004-03-25
US5848981A1998-12-15
US5250067A1993-10-05
CH683822A51994-05-31
US5445647A1995-08-29
US5774424A1998-06-30
DE29913307U11999-12-16
US6361549B12002-03-26
US6007508A1999-12-28
US5449379A1995-09-12
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BACOUSTICS, LLC. (5929 Baker Road, Suite 470Minnetonka, MN, 55345, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:

CLAIMS

I claim:

1. A muscle support apparatus comprising: a. a therapeutic body; b. a therapeutic surface on one side of the therapeutic body; c. a plurality of pressure applicators each comprising: i. a base secured to the therapeutic surface; and ii. a distal end extending away from the therapeutic surface; and d. a strap secured to the therapeutic body; e. wherein the pressure applicators are selected from the group consisting of support members having an arced cross section on at least on axis transecting the support member and pins arranged on the therapeutic surface in a density

2 2 between 3 pins/cm and 1,000 pins/ cm .

2. The apparatus of Claim 1, wherein at least one of the support members is domed. 3. The apparatus of Claim 1, wherein at least one of the support members is vaulted.

4. The apparatus of Claim 1, wherein the distal end of at least one of the pins is pointed.

5. The apparatus of Claim 1, wherein the distal end of at least one of the pins is rounded.

6. The apparatus of Claim 1, wherein the therapeutic body is compliant.

7. The apparatus of Claim 1, further comprising a bladder secured to the therapeutic body opposite the therapeutic surface.

8. The apparatus of Claim 7, further comprising a substance within the bladder.

9. The apparatus of Claim 8, wherein thermal energy is transferred between a substance in the bladder and a muscle.

10. A method of providing therapy to muscles comprising the steps of: a. pressing a plurality of pressure applicators against the skin proximate to a muscle for a sustained period of time; b. wherein the pressure applicators are selected from the group consisting of support members having an arced cross section on at least on axis transecting the support member and pins arranged on the therapeutic surface in a density

2 2 between 3 pins/ cm and 1,000 pins/ cm .

11. The method of Claim 10, wherein support members are pressed against the skin proximate to an injured muscle during physical activity.

12. The method of Claim 10, wherein pins are pressed against the skin proximate to an

injured muscle subsequent to physical activity.

13. The method of Claim 10, further comprising the step of securing the pressure applicators against the skin with a device selected from the group consisting of a strap, sling, brace, bandage, and tape. 14. The method of Claim 10, wherein pins comprising a pointed distal end are pressed against the body for a period of approximately 15 minutes or less.

15. The method of Claim 10, wherein pins comprising a pointed distal end are pressed against the skin proximate to a muscle experiencing acute pain.

16. The method of Claim 10, wherein pins comprising a rounded distal end are pressed against the skin for a period of approximately 60 minutes or less.

17. The method of Claim 10, wherein pins comprising a rounded distal end are pressed against the skin proximate to a tense muscle.

18. The method of Claim 10, wherein pins comprising a rounded distal end are pressed against the skin proximate to a muscle experiencing prolonged pain. 19. The method of Claim 10, wherein support members comprising an arc extruded along an axis are pressed against the skin proximate to a muscle experiencing pain. 20. The method of Claim 10, wherein support members comprising an arc revolved along one axis are pressed against the skin proximate to a muscle from which a shooting pain originates.

Description:

APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR TREATING SOFT TISSUE INJURIES

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The present invention relates to orthopedic devices and treatment methods. More particularly, the present invention relates to orthopedic devices and methods utilizing a plurality of discrete pressure points.

BACKGROUND ART [0002] Strained, fatigued, or otherwise injured muscles are generally treated by the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) prior to, after, or during physical activities. [0003] External support devices, such as bandages, slings, or braces, are also often used to treat injured muscles prior to, after, or during physical activities. The aforementioned devices typically elicit a therapeutic benefit on injured muscles by providing support, inhibiting the massive movement of extensor and flexor muscles, and absorbing shock. Support devices may also elicit a therapeutic benefit by warming or cooling injured muscles.

[0004] Chinese acupuncture, well known and recognized worldwide, but not full appreciated, can also be used for treating injured muscles. During acupuncture therapy, needles are inserted into the body at defined bioactive points. The needles usually remain in the body for a defined period of time. The administration of acupuncture therapy requires a skilled, and in some localities a certified, practitioner.

[0005] Acupressure is a derivation of acupuncture therapy. During acupressure therapy, a skilled practitioner applies mechanical pressure to specific bioactive points, while being careful to not apply a harmful amount of pressure.

DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The present invention is directed towards an apparatus and method for the providing therapy to injured muscles before, during, and/or after physical activity. Capable of self- administration by the user, the present invention avoids the need of skilled and/or certified practitioners. Not requiring the insertion of needles and/or similar devices into the body, the present invention avoids the risk of infection associated with acupuncture therapy. Providing therapeutic pressure simultaneously along multiple points and/or in different directions, such as, but not limited to, radial, longitudinal, and/or any combination thereof, the present invention may elicit superior a therapeutic effect than conventional tension bandages. In addition to the previously enumerated advantages over the short comings of the existing

devices and methods, the present invention may also provide additional advantages and improvements that will be recognizes by people of ordinary skill in the art upon review of the present disclosure.

[0007] The method of the present invention comprises the steps of pressing a plurality of pressure applicators against the skin proximate to and/or over a muscle for a sustained period of time. The pressure applicators pressed against the body can be either pins, support members, and/or any combination thereof. A muscle support apparatus in accordance with the present invention comprises a therapeutic body, a therapeutic surface on one side of the therapeutic body, and a plurality of pressure applicators. The pressure applicators comprise a base secured to the therapeutic surface and a distal end extending away from the therapeutic surface. The pressure applicators may apply a generally directed pressure radially and longitudinally to the muscle being treated. The pressure applicators may also absorb shock. [0008] When the plurality of pressure applicators comprises in whole or in part a plurality

2 of pins, the density of the pins on the therapeutic surface should be between 3 pins/cm and

2 1,000 pins/cm . Each pin is defined as an ordinary pin or similar protrusion providing

2 pressure at a localized region. A plurality of pins with a density between 3 pins/ cm and

2

1,000 pins/cm may concentrate pressure at multiple locations over the muscle being treated. The use of a plurality pins will typically distribute the force applied to the skin surface by each pin, thereby preventing the insertion, or penetration, of the pins into the skin. The use of multiple pins may also stimulate dendrites beneath the area of the skin to which the pins are pressed. Contacting the skin at various orientations with the respect to skin surface, the use of multiple pins may stretch the skin surface as to open pores within the skin. [0009] The pins utilized with the present invention may have a pointed, conical, spherical, or curvilinear distal end. Different configurations of the distal ends of the pins may be useful for different therapeutic purposes. For instance, pins with pointed distal ends may be utilized to relieve acute muscle pain. Pins with spherical or rounded distal ends may be utilized relieve prolonged pain and/or muscle tension.

[0010] When the plurality of pressure applicators comprises in whole or in part support members, the support members chosen should have an arced cross section on at least one axis transecting the support member, with the apex of the arc extending away from the therapeutic surface. Before, during, and/or after physical activity, the support members are placed in contact with the skin proximate to and/or over an injured muscle. A pressure is then applied

to the support members as a whole. The applied pressure is distributed amongst the support members contacting the skin. Translating the pressure applied to the support member into a compressive stress, the arched cross-sections of the support members provide a supportive pressure to muscles. [0011] The support members may elicit a therapeutic effect on a muscle proximate to and/or over which they are pressed through a variety of mechanisms of action. Providing supportive pressure, the support members may bring about pain relief in a manner similar to that of acupressure therapy. Supporting the muscle, the support members may absorb shock. Distributing the supportive pressure across the support members may cause the skin over the muscle to stretch as to open pores in the skin surface. The opening of pores in the skin surface may increase absorption of oxygen through the skin. Distributing supportive pressure across the support members may also cause stretching of the muscle beneath and/or proximate to the support members. Other therapeutic benefits and/or mechanisms of actions, in addition to those listed, may be elicited by the support members.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] The present invention will be shown and described with reference to the drawings of preferred embodiments and clearly understood in detail. Like elements of the various embodiments depicted within the figures are equivalently numbered. [0013] Figure 1 depicts four embodiments of a muscle support apparatus in accordance with the present invention.

[0014] Figure 2 depicts cross sectional views of four embodiments depicted in Figure 1. [0015] Figure 3 depicts a three-dimensional view an embodiment of a muscle support apparatus in accordance with the present invention secured to a strap. [0016] Figure 4 depicts an embodiment of the of a muscle support apparatus in accordance with the present invention comprising a bladder.

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

[0017] Figure 1 depicts four embodiments of a muscle support apparatus in accordance with the present invention. Figure 2 depicts cross sectional views of four embodiments depicted in Figure 1. Figure 2a is a cross-sectional view common to both of the embodiments depicted in Figure Ia and Figure Ib. The depicted muscle support apparatus comprise a therapeutic body 101, a therapeutic surface 102 on one side of the therapeutic body 101, and a plurality of pressure applicators 103, 104, 107, and 108. Each of pressure applicator 103,

104, 107, and 108 comprises a base 105 secured to the therapeutic surface 102, and a distal end 109 extending away from therapeutic surface 102.

[0018] The pressure applicators may be support members 103 and 104, as depicted in Figures Ia, Ib, and 2a. Support members, such as those depicted in Figure Ia, Ib, and 2a, comprise an arc 201 spanning the base 105 along at least one axis. As depicted in Figure Ia, arc 201 may be extruded along a second axis forming vaults 103. The arc 201 may also be revolved along one axis forming domes 104, as depicted in Figure Ib. Other support member configurations are possible and in accordance with the present invention, so long as there is an arc spanning at least one axis of the base. [0019] The pressure applicators may be pointed pins 107, as depicted in Figures Ic and 2b, and/or rounded pins 108, as depicted in Figures Id and 2c. When the pressure applicators are pins, the density of the pins on the therapeutic surface should be between density between 3

2 2 pins/cm and 1,000 pins/cm . In preferred embodiments, the pins density is between 10 pins/

2 2 2 cm and 200 pins/cm . A density of 100 pins/cm is suggested. Pins utilized as pressure applicators may have a sharp distal end 202 (Figures Ic and 2b) or a rounded distal end 203 (Figures Id and 2c).

[0020] The pressure applicators may be made from plastic and/or a polymer. The pressure applicators may also be made from a variety of materials readily recognizable by those skilled in the art. Precious metals such as, but not limited to, gold, silver, and/or platinum, may be used in constructing the support members.

[0021] Therapeutic body 101 may be made from a compliant or rigid material. If a rigid material is used, it may be desirable to segment therapeutic body 101 as to enable therapeutic body 101 to conform to the wearer's body. [0022] Before, during, and/or after physical activity, such as, but not limited to, exercise, playing sports, and/or manual labor, the pressure members are pressed against the skin, with therapeutic surface 102 facing the body. Preferably, the muscle support apparatus is pressed proximate to and/or over an injured muscle. The apparatus may be pressed against the skin and/or secured in place with the use of a strap 301, depicted in Figure 3. Strap 301 may be fastened around a portion of the body such as, but not limited to, a limb, a shoulder, the trunk, and/or the head by tying ends 302 and 303 together. Alternatively, Velcro attached to end 302 may be used to secure strap 301 to a portion of the body. Strap 301 may also be secured by the use of snaps, a buckle, buttons, and/or numerous other means readily recognizable to a person of ordinary skill in the art. The muscle support apparatus may also be secured in place

and/or pressed against the skin with the use of a sling, brace, bandage, tape, and/or numerous other devices readily recognizable to a person of ordinary skill in the art. [0023] Regardless of the device used to secure and/or press the pressure applicators the muscle support apparatus the skin, it is preferable that the muscle support apparatus secured to the device. Ideally, therapeutic body 101 is removably secured to strap 301 or a similar device. Therapeutic body 101 may be removably secured to strap 301 by including an eye or plurality of eyes on therapeutic body 101 through which strap 301 is threaded. Therapeutic body 101 may also be removably secured to strap 301 or a similar device by attaching a piece of Velcro on therapeutic body 101 opposite therapeutic surface 102 and a mating piece of Velcro on strap 301 or a similar device. As an alternative to Velcro, temporary adhesives, snaps, and/or numerous other means readily recognizable to person or ordinary skill in the art may be used to removably secure therapeutic body 101 to strap 301 or similar devices. [0024] Vaulted support members 103 may be desirable when the user is experiencing pain localized to a particular muscle or group of muscles during physical activity. In such a situation, vaulted support members 103 should be pressed against the skin proximate to and/or over the injured muscles until the pain subsists and/or physical activity is terminated. If a therapeutic body 101 with a therapeutic surface 102 measuring 5 cm by 6 cm is used, seven vaults with a length of 5 cm, a width of 6 mm, and a height of 3 mm may be positioned uniformly over therapeutic surface 102, as depicted in Figure Ia. Other vault dimensions and density are equally possible. Furthermore, therapeutic surface 102 may be larger or smaller than the size previously enumerated. When vaulted support members are used, the apparatus present invention should, but need not, be oriented such that vaulted support members 103 run with the thread of the muscle or muscles. [0025] Domed support members 104 may be desirable when the user is experiencing a shooting pain during physically activity. In such a situation, domed support members 104 should be pressed against the skin proximate to and/or over the injured muscles from which the shooting pain originates until the pain subsists and/or physical activity is terminated. If a therapeutic body 101 with a therapeutic surface 102 measuring 5 cm by 6 cm is used, 42 domes with a base diameter of 6 mm and a height of 3 mm may be positioned uniformly over therapeutic surface 102, as depicted in Figure Ib. Other dome dimensions and density are equally possible. Furthermore, therapeutic surface 102 may be larger or smaller than the size previously enumerated.

[0026] Sharp pins 107 may be desirable when the user is experiencing an acute pain following and/or prior to physical activity. In such a situation, sharp pins 107 should be

pressed against the skin proximate to and/or over the injured muscle until the pain subsists and/or for a period of approximately 15 minutes or less. Longer periods of treatment with sharp pins 107 may also be utilized.

[0027] Rounded pins 108 may be desirable when the user is experience a prolonged pain and/or muscle tension following and/or prior to physical activity. One example of a prolonged pain may be a dull lingering pain in the muscle. Other types of prolonged pain may also be treated with rounded pins 108. In such a situation, rounded pins 108 should be pressed against the skin proximate to and/or over the injured muscled until the pain and/or tension subsists and/or for a period of approximately 60 minutes of less. Longer periods of treatment with rounded pin 108 may also be utilized.

[0028] It should be appreciated that vaulted support members 103, domed support members 104, sharp pins 107, and rounded pins 108 may be utilized in combination or isolation. [0029] Regardless of the configuration, size, or density chosen, the pressure applicators may be secured to the therapeutic surface 102 in a variety patterns. Possible patterns of the pressure applicators on the therapeutic surface 102 include, but are not limited to, linear, sinusoidal, triangular, rectangular, circular, spiral, and/or any combination thereof. In some situations, it may be preferable to select a pressure applicator pattern that approximates and/or resembles the configuration, shape, and/or thread of the injured muscle. Therapeutic body 101 and/or therapeutic surface 102 may be configured to match the pressure applicator pattern utilized.

[0030] As depicted in Figure 4, a bladder 401 may be secured to therapeutic body 101 opposite therapeutic surface 102. The bladder may be filled with a substance 402 hotter or colder than the body such as, but not limited, a gas, a solid, a fluid and/or a gel. Substance 402 within the bladder may contain chemicals that react exothermically or endothermically. Such chemicals are readily recognizable to a people of ordinary skill in the art. When bladder 401 is filled with a substance 402 hotter than the body and/or chemicals reacting exothermically, heat from bladder 401 will be transferred to muscles in contact with and/or proximate to the muscle support apparatus. Conversely, when bladder 401 is filled with a substance 402 colder than the body and/or chemicals reacting endothermically, heat will be transferred from muscles in contact with and/or proximate to the support apparatus to bladder 401. Transferring heat from bladder 401 to injured muscles may elicit several therapeutic benefits such as, but not limited to, increasing blood flow to the muscles, and/or relaxing the muscles. Transferring heat from injured muscles to bladder 401 may elicit several

therapeutic benefits such as, but not limited to, decreasing swelling, decreasing inflammation, and/or dulling pain.

[0031] Arc as used herein refers to a segment of a differentiable curve. [0032] It should be appreciated that elements described with singular articles such as "a", "an", and "the" or otherwise described singularly may be used in plurality. It should also be appreciated that elements described in plurality may be used singularly. [0033] Although specific embodiments of apparatus and methods have been illustrated and described herein, it will be appreciated by people of ordinary skill in the art that any arrangement, combination, and/or sequence that is calculated to achieve the same purpose may be substituted for the specific embodiments shown. It is to be understood that above description is intended to be illustrative and not restrictive. Combinations of the above embodiments and other embodiments as wells as combinations and sequences of the above methods and other methods of use will be apparent to individuals possessing skill in the art upon review of the present disclosure. The scope of the present invention should be determined with reference to the appended claims, along with the full scope of equivalents to which such claims are entitled.