Lumbar Lower-Back Support Device

Millions of people suffer from chronic lower back pain. There are many different causes and conditions involved, but a fairly simple device can eliminate or greatly reduce the pain, without drugs!

Most people with this pain find that the pain is greatly reduced when lying down. The reason for this is that the weight of the upper part of the body acts to compress the vertebrae together when standing or sitting, but that effect of compression disappears when prone.

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The upper body weight does not compress the vertebrae themselves, because they are bone, but the cushioning disks between the vertebrae are subject to that compression. There are a multitude of nerve endings in those areas, and when a disk becomes inflamed or injured, it can therefore expand laterally to press against those many nerve endings, which is the actual cause of the pain sensations.


The upper part of a person's body is generally more than 1/3 of the entire body weight. The way a person is arranged, that weight is NOT distributed throughout the waist area, but is concentrated in the very small area of the spine itself. If a person's upper body weighs 70 pounds, and that weight is supported on a stack of vertebrae and disks that have an effective area of 1/2 square inch, that means that the continuous pressure on a disk is around 140 pounds per square inch! It gets even higher if the person carries anything.

If the upper body weight could be partially supported, there would be reduced compression pressure on those disks. Any disks that were inflamed or otherwise injured, would not be squeezed so severely. This has TWO good effects.

Long-Established Proof

Quite an assortment of "Medical Traction" devices have been developed and used for several decades. It is a well-proven, commonly used treatment technique, particularly after spinal operations. The patient is generally rather immobile in such apparatus, and is essentially "stretched" by the equipment.

The New Device

A "Portable Traction" device is presented. Several different versions of it are practical. The one described here is for lower back (lumbar) pain. Another version could be used at a knee joint, to support the body's weight both before and after an ACL or MCL knee injury. Yet another could be used for sprained ankles and after ankle surgery.

Virtually normal movement (and appearance) is available when using this device. There is not the "rigid" structure like that of conventional traction equipment, and it follows the body contours fairly well.

I am interested in discussing the possibilities of manufacturing and marketing these devices with interested companies. It is appropriate that the construction details only be presented after an NDA is exchanged. Please contact me by the e-mail link below.

This presentation was first placed on the Internet in November 2002.

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C Johnson, Theoretical Physicist, Physics Degree from Univ of Chicago