So how do we do this?? How can a device be developed that acts almost as a cytoskeleton or feedback device for the spine and body?

Everyone is a different, size, weight, and has different tight and unstable areas in their bodies, so how can 1 device be created that can work with everyone??? We cant customize each device!!!

So what is important in this device?

Comfort: Its really important. It needs to be soft and comfortable. To relax and stretch tight areas of the spine, the user needs to be relaxed and comfortable. If its hard and unyielding, they wont be able to relax to release their muscles. If someone is in pain, they are usually stressed and their sympathetic nervous system up regulated. Something that patients can lie on and relax is important!

Supportive: The spine is a series of curves. It would make sense that we would then lie on something that is not flat, but has curves in it to support our natural curvature. Supporting these curves allows for a more functional starting position for the spine. So as they relax, their spine is supported in a more anatomical position.

Flexible: it needs to move!!! A static device just doesn’t cut it. Our spine is able to move in all three planes, so must the device to mimmick this movement.?It also needs to be flexible to fit to the user. This is a way to get the device to mould itself to the user, customizing itself every time you lie down, but it must return back to its original position, and not take on the users patterns or posture. So it needs also to have a memory!!!!!! See next!

Dynamic: If something is normally soft and comfortable and flexible, when you sit or lie on it, it normally flattens out. This won’t work, because as soon as you lie on something and it flattens out or stops moving, your intrinsic and stabilizing muscles no longer need to work. Also if it all flattens out evenly, then if a part of your spine is moving too much, then it will just keep moving. If your spine is really stiff, it will just compress the material even more!! It needs to be pressure sensitive!! Then, if there is not much weight on a part of the device, it will stay soft as in unstable or hyper-mobile area, but the more weight on it the harder it gets!!! Does such a material exist? The answer was no!

Unstable: Again, the device needs to move. To initiate the users own stabilisers, the device has to be unstable. The pelvis should be able to move in all 3 planes (as it does in standing). Unstable device training has become popular, almost fade like, however, most of these devices are used to stand on, not lie down on.? We don’t often walk or lift from moving ground, but our spine is constantly moving and compensating for our movement. The idea of lying on an unstable device, is to activate the musculature from the inside out…….

Proprioceptive: Again, another popular catch phrase in rehabilitation in recent years, however the awareness of where our body is in space and activating the cerebellum is extremely important in rehabilitation. Self awareness of which parts of the body are unstable, and which parts restricted, and how these areas correlate to areas of pain are invaluable to help change postural and movement patterns in individuals.

So to sum this up, the Oov had to be:-

  • SUPPORTIVE
  • FLEXIBLE
  • DYNAMIC
  • UNSTABLE
  • PROPRIOCEPTIVE

And the material had to be designed to compress to a point, roughly 50% ( for comfort and to accommodate different structures) but then to start pushing back against the user. The material had to be designed never to settle or rest, constantly challenging the nervous system.