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The M.A.D.O.I.C.A.T., R.S.P.

(Method And Devices Of Inflammation Control And Therapy,

Relief System Project)

Combating Inflammation



It's not rocket science, ... ________________________________________________________________... It's just BLS.

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BACKGROUND-FIELD OF INVENTION

This invention relates to a method and devices that provide an improved way to reduce inflammation, and a simpler way to administer therapy, by combining some known concepts into more effective devices.

BACKGROUND-DESCRIPTION OF PRIOR ART

A need exists for an improved method and device for the immobilization of an injured person, controlling inflammation after traumatic injury, for externally controlling blood circulation and for the encouragement of muscle relaxation during stabilization and recovery. After an individual has received a traumatic neck or spinal injury, often there is more damage caused by the resulting inflammation and tightening of the muscles than was caused by the initial injury itself. Countless individuals have survived the initial impacts causing their injury, only to succumb to the inability of their health care providers to manage the inflammation and tightening of muscles, which irreparably damages the spinal chord. Medications have been developed which attempt to combat these conditions. However, these are not effective enough, and it has been found that the side effects of these could be causing as much harm as good. Often as conditions begin to get out of hand, in an effort to do something, surgeons are called upon to relieve the pressure on the spine by surgically cutting strategic pressure points. Often this can cause further inflammation as the body attempts to combat the invasive procedure. If the individual does survive, they are faced with recovery from the initial injury, the resultant inflammation, and the invasive procedure. Studies have shown that the application of cold temperatures does help to reduce the onset of this inflammation. Ideally, as the application of cold temperatures should be a simple, basic operation, and as early application enhances its effectiveness, it should begin in the field prior to arrival at the medical facility.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,183,501 has attempted to provide a solution to this problem. It is of a design similar to fairly common C-collars, however this one provides cavities that can contain temperature controlling substances. It falls short though, in two ways. First, it's design of larger pieces would make it more difficult to custom shape the device to contact the user's skin in areas that would be most beneficial to user. Secondly, being made of material other than copper, the temperature distribution would not be as even. This and the distance from the skin reduce its effectiveness. U.S. Pat. No. 6,030,412 also attempts to remedy these temperature applications considerations in a device that can be used in the field, but this also has a distance between critical areas that would require much lower temperatures to be effective. Neither of these devices provides the benefits of copper, as expanded upon below, which include encouragement of the muscles to relax, that the devices used in this method provide. Neither provides the type of beneficial ergonomic adjustable support the devices used in this method provide.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,913,885 is also designed to combat this inflammation problem using cold temperatures. However, this device does not allow for as much flexibility in the neck region, and does not include the benefits of copper.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,908,655 is also designed to combat this inflammation problem using cold temperatures, but this relies on air to carry the temperature, is much bulkier so it would be difficult to move around, more costly to produce, and it also does not include the benefits of copper.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,691,762 uses a portable temperature control system, part of which would work well in combinations with the present invention. This patent describes a personal temperature control system that is designed more for environmental comfort of the user in the form of a garment. This would work for certain medical conditions requiring temperature control. In one form, it simply circulates coolant fluid through a temperature exchange coil that is submerged in ice water, then back through the garment. But the garments do not include the advantages of copper or provide support. U.S. Pat. No. 2,930,594 shows a temperature exchange device that simply uses a standard water faucet as a source of temperature transporting substance. The temperature can be changed by changing the faucet settings, while the small amount of returning water simply goes down the drain. This has been found to be very adequate in conjunction with the present invention as long as the water is either cold or warm enough depending on the type of treatment. U.S. Pat. No. 5,372,608 uses the bodies own temperature to circulate the fluid. However none of these provide the type of support nor benefits of copper the present invention provides.

Often after an injury, the vertebrae in the neck begin to straighten into a line as seen from the victim's side. The neck is supposed to have a curve as seen from the side. As the neck straightens, nerves in between the vertebrae are pinched, and the patient experiences any of many different kinds of discomfort. For many years, Chiropractors have encouraged the use of a towel roll while laying down to help the neck relax in, retain, or return to this curved posture. This has been found to provide much relief. However, at times, due to the patient's condition and extent of injury, they may not at first be able to tolerate very much curving support from the towel roll. In these cases, the towel roll is simply unrolled to a smaller size until a little extra support is achieved. Then over a period of time as the patient heals and becomes accustom to this smaller roll, the towel is slowly rolled up further and further to increase the curve in the neck until it reaches normal. The towel roll is great for the shape, but often a cold surface adds further relief. The use of a towel roll, covered with a gel ice pack can help provide both, but this stays cool only a short while, and often the gel is pushed out of the most supported areas and the cooling effect doesn't last as long in those areas. U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,887,326, 5,697,961, 5,344,437, use a pouch that can contain the ice or heated fluid. However these do not provide a continuos cold temperature for an extend time as is desirable with sever injuries, are harder to regulate the shape of, and do not include the benefits of copper, thus making them less effective.

Medical people have, for many years, known the benefits that the muscles can receive from the alternating of hot and cold. As described below, the devices the present invention uses for implementation, one is able to easily have hot and cold treatments administered while they are relaxing comfortably with out the hassle of changing ice packs to other types of heated articles. The ability to have the temperature automatically changed from hot to cold is a great benefit for therapy purposes. Studies indicate that people having trouble with swollen disc shouldn't use heat. Though providing temporary relief, the heat only causes the discs to swell further, additional aggravating the discomfort in the long run. However, it is also commonly accepted that the muscles that are injured benefit from having hot and cold treatments. A dilemma arises when both are experiencing trouble in the same area. When this occurs, the need to change temperatures quickly becomes apparent. The present invention performs this quick change faster and more effectively than prior art. Devices that hold their temperature, by relying on the volume of the material at desire treatment temperature, have to be changed. Devices that circulate a temperature carrying substance, but are constructed out of material other that copper, do not relay the change in temperature as quickly.

Research has shown that after a limb such as a leg is injured, if the injured area is quickly cooled and maintained in this cool condition, the recovery takes place quicker. However, with many of the commonly used splints, the limb is first immobilized with some type of stiff material such as hard plastic, stiff cardboard, or a flexible wire mesh. Then this immobilizing material and the limb are wrapped with a cloth material of varying consistencies, to keep them in place over the immobilizing material. Cold ice packs can be administered over the wrapping material, however this material greatly reduces the amount of cool temperature that actually reaches the injured area of the limb. U.S. Pat. No. 4,329,997 does apply cold to the injured limb; however, it is bulky and would greatly complicate the transfer of the patient from one gurney to another, or from a gurney to a hospital bed. If the water were to be let out of the device for this transfer, immobilization of the limb would be lost. This device also fails to provide the benefits of copper.

Copper is a great conductor of thermal energy; it has tremendous benefits as an anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant and also conducts electricity very effectively. When copper is next to the skin, the skin absorbs a small amount of the copper. Copper is a natural mineral that our bodies need. Wearing copper bracelets has become popular with golfers that have experienced trouble with their wrists. Many claim that they have had relief in other areas of the bodies as well. A number of researchers have been studying the benefits of copper. U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,680,309, 6,171,606 discuss some of these benefits as do studies such as one preformed by the Vitamin Research Products, Inc. "Copper: The Maligned Mineral" is an article that first appeared in the April-July/August, 1994 issues of the magazine VRP's Newsletter. This and other studies show that the copper is drawn to the area of the inflammation by the body to help combat the inflammation. They point out that the introduction of a small amount of copper into the body actually reduces the chances of arthritis setting in. As well as conducting temperature, copper also is good at conducting electricity. By being in contact with the skin, it helps to route and balance the electric flow of the body. Muscles that are too tight are receiving too much electric energy. The copper bridging the nerve endings on the skin helps to reroute the electric energy in the body reducing the amount sent to muscles that are over tightened thus helpings them to relax further aiding in the stabilization, recovery and healing process. U.S. Pat. No. 4,680,309, does introduce the copper to the skin in or near the location of the discomfort. However, it does not include the added benefits of temperature treatments, therapeutic adjustable ergonomic shaping, or injury immobilization.

SUMMARY

The present invention combines the useful concepts described above into one more effective method of achieving relief from inflammation, tight muscles, and pain. Thus, by using the combinations of temperature treatments, the benefits of copper and the ability to adjust the shape of the supporting device, the present invention provides a complete and superior treatment for patients.

Objects and Advantages

Accordingly, several objects and advantages are: (a) Extreme temperatures are not as important. Therefore less energy is required to operate devices of this method. The use of cold water, or conversely very warm water, is adequate for most treatments. As the copper conducts thermal energy so well and when used in the optimal position directly in contact with the skin, extremely cold fluid or gasses are not as essential as with some of the prior art. This transfer of thermal energy is so effective that when used for hot treatment while a regular household's water tap is supplying the thermal energy source, care must be taken not to burn the skin. With prior art devices that use less conductive material in contact with the skin, these materials act as insulation requiring more energy to provide treatment through it to the skin. The ability of the devices of this method to conserve energy enables them to be operated less expensively, and more portably. As one skilled in the art would see, the devices the present invention uses to fulfill its objectives could easily be adapted to work in combination with and improve upon many different temperature exchange systems to fulfill its purposes. (b) The ability to adjust the shape of the devices of this method provides improved means of treatment. As with the changing of the size of the towel roll, as mention above, the ability to more easily change the ergonomic shape of the devices of this method provide a all around more effective treatment by making the devices of this method more custom fit. This custom fit that is more suited to the patients condition is less apt to aggravate the patient's condition by attempting to shape the injury in an undesirable way. But rather aids the patient by encouraging the correct shape while making changes in a more acceptable way. While some of the prior art would require re-machining, or multiple devices to accomplish this, the devices of this method can simply be adjusted as needed. As one skilled in the art can see, an adjustable device that supports and helps the neck maintain, or return to the natural curve that it is suppose to have has many advantages (c) By being more easily changed from cold to hot, the devices of this method provide an improved means of performing temperature treatments to areas where swollen joints are in the same proximity as injured muscles. When injured muscles are in the same area as swollen joints, a dilemma arises because swollen joint are best treated with cold only, and muscles are best benefited by a combination of hot and cold. The answer improved upon by the present invention lies in applying cold to the area in this condition, for a long enough time that the cold treatment has time to reach deep into the disc to reduce swelling there. Then hot should be applied for a brief time, only long enough to draw blood into the muscles, but not into the discs. Cold should be once again applied, for longer than the heat, then once again the heat and so on finishing with cold at the end of the treatment. With the devices of this method, one could easily have the treatment while laying back in a recliner. So the circulated liquid cooling and heating advantage becomes obvious. With the devices of this method, the copper helps to transmit the temperature from the fluid to the skin. Therefore, as one skilled in the art would see, the present invention is of further aid by working in combination with, and improving upon systems with automatic controls that would be suited to these temperature control requirements. (d) The ergonomic shape of the copper while in contact with the skin helps relax muscles, and reduce swelling. This ergonomic shape allows more of the skin to be contacted, thereby allowing more nerve endings to be in contact with the copper. This contact of the nerve endings with the copper allows the electrical energy in the body to more easily stabilize, thereby helping to relax muscles that are receiving to much energy. The contact with the skin also allows the skin to absorb small amounts of copper, which in turn aid in the reduction of inflammation.

By combining the temperature control ability with the benefits of copper and the adjustable ergonomic shape of the devices of this method, the present invention provides a better therapy than is received by using anyone of the treatments alone.