VerteBar was created from the stories of everyday people suffering from muscle and joint issues. Pain is limiting and may have a negative effect on overall health and quality of life. Long-term solutions have yet to be discovered.
I have taught pain-free exercise in physical therapy (PT) and fitness for over 12 years. In fitness settings, there was no real concern for posture or mechanics, while in PT, the focus was on optimizing mechanics in small ranges of motion. Working in as an exercise aide in PT for 6 years, it seemed as though no matter what the injury was, the goal with prescribing therapeutic exercise was to bring the body back to neutral and master the hip hinge mechanism. Weakened hip extensors, especially the glute max, and inability to find or maintain a neutral spine increases risk of aches, pain, and decreasing mobility.
Physical therapy exercise aides spend one on one time with patients, multiple times per week for several weeks at a time. I have heard main providers of households fearful of letting their families down, unable to work, and afraid they won’t be able to return to their labor-intensive job. I’ve heard of mothers unable to lift their infant children due to debilitating back pain. I have heard of geriatric patients afraid of falling because they are unable to get up off the ground. The less we move, the less we are able to move.
In physical therapy school at USC, I had the privilege of working on cadavers (bodies of the deceased) for a year. This is where I discovered what the joints and muscles look like up close and in-depth. Seeing the structural damage done on the skeletal system as a result of poor posture made me realize I wanted to focus on preventing this damage.Holding a dowel, or stick, along one’s back is a common modality used in PT to teach optimal spinal alignment and hip hinge mechanics. Using this method with myself and my clients, I realized many of us have tightness in our shoulders, backs, and hips that make holding a dowel on our own backs very difficult in standing, let alone moving. The hands-free version could allow for posture and hinge focus without twisting tight shoulders. Freeing up the hands also allows for strength training with neutral spine guidance. I began working on the VerteBar concept. Using PVC pipe and straps cut from a diving suit, I conducted a pilot study in my Masters program at University of the Pacific. I concluded that the concept worked but the device as it was, was not going to work. The PVC kept sliding off the center of the spine, reducing effectiveness for user. The design came to me in a dream but did not make sense until after the study concluded. I pursued the creation of the posture device, attempting 3 collapsible versions first.
I realized I needed to start with the basic bar and movement system. Learning new movement patterns can be frustrating and difficult. Vertebar is here to make the process easier so you can live successfully without pain for life. Vertebar will provide adjustable and more portable options in the near future, along with add-on sensors for an enhanced feedback experience. I hope I can make at least a 1% decrease in incidents of back pain. Join me in fighting against aches, pains, and lost mobility.
Thank you for your time, consideration, and support!
Sheena Nadeau, Fitness Expert, CEO