How does a valuable medical innovation start?
In today’s entrepreneur-focused world, innovation driven by individuals touches even the medical world. Although traditional medical establishments offer us new guidelines and forms of treatments, it’s often up to solo creators to come up with devices that can help people stay healthy and safe in their day-to-day lives.
However, just because an invention is new doesn’t mean it’s effective. Can a car ride cushion effectively prevent kids from needing a chiropractor later in life? That’s what one new invention from a chiropractor named Dr Cormier claims to do.
In this article, we’ll take a look at whether or not these cushions stand a chance of combating back pain, neck pain, and other issues that can start in childhood. Keep reading to find out whether or not they’re a good investment for your family.
What is the Car Ride Cushion?
The name “car ride cushion” is vague, so the concept merits some explanation.
James Cormier, a chiropractor based in Massachusetts, was inspired by a photo to create the cushions. Two years ago, his sister-in-law snapped a picture of Cormier’s son, who was 7 at the time. The exhausted kid had fallen asleep in the car, hunched over against his seatbelt, as kids often do.
Although Cormier appreciated the picture, it also got him thinking ― specifically, about his son’s spine. As a chiropractor, he knew the slumped position was far from ideal. Yet kids who fell asleep in the car were almost always hunched over or reclined at an odd angle that put the spine out of alignment. What was the long-term toll of the hours spent in these positions?
Dr Cormier decided to develop his own solution to the potential problems this could cause. He came up with a set of cushions that attach to car seat anchors so they’re on each side of the child’s head. The process was fast ― he began designing prototypes in 2016 and had the invention patented and up for sale by 2017.
Cormier believes letting children sleep in unnatural positions can cause a whole host of problems with the spine and nervous system. Is he right? Let’s take a closer look at the science behind his claim.
The Importance of Good Posture in Youth
Anyone with a desk job ― and most people without one ― know the importance of good posture. Strain, pain, fatigue, and more serious issues can all come from hours spent hunched over at a desk or in front of the TV.
Parents with children have to monitor not just their own posture, but their child’s posture too. Heavier backpacks and more time spent in front of screens make combating poor posture in young children more difficult than it once was.
However, recognizing that good posture matters isn’t the same as recognizing why it matters. Good posture isn’t just a matter of etiquette: Research shows that it’s actually crucial to proper anatomical development.
What is Posture?
Posture specifically refers to the way the body is aligned and positioned to hold up against the constant pull of gravity. For example, gravity makes it tempting to let our heavy heads hang forward, while good posture fights against this pull to keep the spine aligned.
Gravity affects the body in all positions, including sitting, standing, and lying down; and it affects all parts of the body. When our posture is good, the bones can do the majority of the weight-supporting work, giving the muscles a much-needed break. This reduces potential muscular strain and injury, as well as damage to the ligaments and joints.
Proper posture requires the spine to be straight and the head and shoulders pulled back, with the ear aligned with the shoulder.
Poor posture can result in muscular dysfunction, spinal degeneration, and chronic pain. If poor posture starts in youth, there’s more time for issues like these to develop. Fostering good postural habits in youth also makes it easier for kids to keep their spines aligned when they become adults. If postural distortion starts at an early age, it’s much harder to break the pattern as an adult.
Childhood Posture Risk Factors
Many children start to develop bad postural habits around age 6, when they start going to school.
School-age children tend to spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, where they often slouch over without taking enough breaks to realign posture. When they get home, they may spend more time in the same position while doing homework. Add in the heavy backpacks and time spent playing video games or watching shows on a tablet, and there’s a recipe for poor posture throughout childhood.
Many schools have added postural analysis for their students to help fight this problem. Yearly analysis starting at age 6 can help catch postural distortion early, while it’s still easy to fix. It’s also important for teachers and parents to do their part to correct posture. This includes adding regular posture breaks for children to stand up and stretch.
However, parents often aren’t thinking about the posture issue when their child is asleep. A good mattress at home can help keep the spine properly aligned. But Dr Cormier and his customers believe posture cushions for the car will also make a difference in fighting childhood posture issues.
Will Car Ride Cushions Work?
The vast majority of childhood posture issues happen while the child is awake.
Hours spent at a school desk in a slumped position, combined with hours spent at home in the same position while doing homework or looking at a phone, add up to a potential posture disaster. Vigilant parents and teachers can help by instilling good posture habits from an early age.
Compared to all those high-risk posture hours at school and home, the time spent sleeping in a car is fairly minimal. Car ride cushions might help, but it depends on how often they’re really being used. For a family that doesn’t take many long car trips, there’s not much a car cushion can offer.
However, if your child does spend a significant amount of time asleep in the car, it might be worth the investment to keep their spine in alignment. The cushions will only work with children of a certain height, though, so they just offer a short-term solution until your child grows.
Cormier’s invention may not do much against the perils of bad posture at school and at home, and it won’t shake up the chiropractic industry in any significant way. However, it could become a valuable part of a good posture plan for some families. If you’d like to try it for yourself, you can look up car ride cushion on Amazon.
About the Author
Andrew is the head editor for eChiropractor.org. eChiropractor.org is your one-stop shop for chiropractic news and techniques. We offer current research, actionable advice, and balanced viewpoints ― if you check us out, make sure you read our article about disc desiccation.