The SpinalQ-Rx capitalizes on Alignmed’s 14-years of developing the science of neurobands—a clinically proven science of incorporating variable stretch bands on form fitting garments to stimulate the body’s own natural restorative properties while adding structure, support, and increased comfort in totally unique and customizable configurations. The flexibility of the materials involved allows the body to properly settle and to live in a more suitable environment for greatly improved outcomes. There have been a number of noteworthy cases experienced by patients, which have surprised even their most eminent surgeons.
Barbara M. is a retired flight attendant, previously with United. Unfortunately, she has had several surgeries during her time. Upon trying the SpinalQ-Rx, Barbara stated the technology would be amazing for all United employees. She explained that employees were instructed by chiropractors about better body mechanics.
Kathy B. is 62-years-old and credits the SpinalQ with saving her life. Due to the device, Kathy has been able to return to riding horses at shows, as well as water skiing. She performs both while wearing the SpinalQ. Kathy suffers from compression fractures, which were too close to her heart so injections were not an option. She is thankful to have found this device option.
Another SpinalQ user, a middle-aged woman with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, said “Alignmed gave me back my life, just when I was giving up on it.” She added, “Muscle mass has returned to me even though I’m sedentary.”
A 55-year-old man lived through multiple cervical spine surgeries and then contracted a full spine staph infection. He was suicidal and declining physically and psychologically. Seeking a solution, he tried technologies from Alignmed and began a near immediate healing process. His condition is significantly improved, and has stated, “I owe my life to Alignmed.”
A Boise, Idaho-based man was crushed in a car accident on an icy highway while trying to be a Good Samaritan by lending aid to a stranded family. He broke 23 ribs and nearly all his major joints. Doctors were able to save his life, but he struggled to heal. Fortunately, his doctors had heard of the SpinalQ and secured one for him to support his wobbly, Jello-like body. Once supported, he not only felt immediate pain relief, but the necessary support realigned his torso to enable it to heal. Doctors predicted a return to normalcy would take approximately two years. After only seven months with the help of the SpinalQ, the man was able to return to his favorite activity—roping cows in rodeos.
Greater Insight into the Technology
The patients stories certainly paint a compelling picture of Alignmed’s offerings. As such, Bill Schultz, the company’s founder and CEO, spent some time to address additional questions about his firm and technology.
Sean Fenske: Can you please explain what the SpinalQ-Rx is?
Bill Schultz: The SpinalQ-Rx is a dynamic elastic TLSO [thoracic lumbar sacral orthosis] brace for pain management, recovery, and postural re-education. The elastic bands within the brace stimulate a muscular contraction, resulting in pain relief and load dispersion.
Fenske: Is the SpinalQ-Rx an adjustable product?
Schultz: Adjustable and comfortable. Modular Neurobands allow you to adjust for control of force over important muscle groups.
Fenske: Is the SpinalQ-Rx a rigid spine brace?
Schultz: It is designed with a rigid lower back component that can be removed depending on the treatment needs of the user. For example, a spinal fusion may initially require a more rigid restriction after the procedure, and a more dynamic non-rigid function during the physical therapy recovery period. Someone who suffers chronic pain may be more likely to use the SpinalQ-Rx to support and activate spinal muscles without using the rigid component.
Fenske: What’s the difference between the SpinalQ-Rx and a brace?
Schultz: Braces, by their very definition, are designed to restrict natural movement. The SpinalQ-Rx is designed to restrict and/or enforce natural movement, depending on the state of the individual’s injury and recovery.
Fenske: Is the SpinalQ-Rx eligible for prescription reimbursement? If so, who is eligible?
Schultz: The product is reimbursable by Medicare and most private healthcare insurers. There is a cash-pay option as well.
Fenske: When is it best used?
Schultz: It can be used to support and retrain spinal alignment preoperatively and post operatively. Since the product is designed to improve upper body posture, it’s a good idea to wear it at any time of day, for as long as it is comfortable. It is always important, however, to follow the advice of your caregiver. Some of our users wear it one to four hours a day, while some wear it all day, even when they sleep. An important time to consider wearing the SpinalQ is when you have to sit for prolonged periods of time at work, during travel, or at home.
Fenske: Can the device be used as an alternative to surgery or prescription pain killers?
Schultz: The SpinalQ is best used as a helpful adjunct to whatever therapy treatment the physician prescribes. It does represent a conservative, first-line approach to many serious injuries or diseases.
Fenske: Can the product be prescribed as a treatment for back pain?
Schultz: Yes. Using the SpinalQ as an alternative or adjunctive treatment for neck, shoulder, and lower back pain is the fastest growing use for the product.
Fenske: Does the technology work for other parts of the body?
Schultz: Yes, because of the product’s ability to dynamically influence improvements in posture. It is well established in medical science that an individual’s posture is a primary factor in the body’s ability to perform and heal. The SpinalQ allows anyone to take an active role in reversing, or slowing down dysfunctional adaptations muscles and joints take on with time and injury. We call this Postural Fitness and we are in various stages of development for Postural Fitness products for the whole body.
Fenske: Will the products cause muscle atrophy or muscle addiction?
Schultz: All Alignmed products are built with dynamic elastic resistance, placed in a kinetic sequence, to influence the sensory information sent to and from the spinal cord and brain. Thus, a normalization of function is achieved by reversing or slowing down dysfunctional adaptions muscles and joints take on with time, injury, or athletic activity. Built-in dynamic tensile resistance and tactile touch prevents muscle atrophy by actively enforcing natural movement and neutral anatomy. In this manner, the products do not force the body to do anything it doesn’t want to do. Think of it as a workout you wear.
Fenske: Is the “secret sauce” of the SpinalQ in the textile or the design?
Schultz: A combination of both. The technological breakthrough is an anatomic design using variable elasticity—not compression—to interact with the movements of the user to retrain overused and underused muscles. We only use sophisticated, high quality fabrics, but without a bio-ergonomic fit, the function falls short.
Fenske: Why are these products so highly desired by doctors who have run out of options for their patients?
Schultz: There are basically two categories for treating patients—active therapy and passive therapy. Active therapy involves any kind of treatment that requires conscious discipline and physical participation from the individual. Examples include exercise programs, diets, and manual therapy. Passive therapy does not require conscious or physical involvement by the individual. Examples include pharmacology and the application of ultrasound, electrical current, or heat and cold. A unique distinction of the SpinalQ-Rx and all Alignmed products is they perform active and passive therapies as it allows the user to take an active role in their health and fitness, with no conscious discipline or physical behavior required.
Fenske: How was this product conceived? What was the inspiration?
Schultz: I personally suffered from chronic pain and wanted to find an alternative to surgery. I spent more than 20 years in surgical device sales and my clinician and I decided surgery was a route I did not want to travel.
Fenske: What was the void in the marketplace you perceived and how did you go about filling it?
Schultz: We wanted to provide people with an alternative, wearable solution to their musculoskeletal issues. This is a one-of-a-kind style brace that is multifunctional for a wider variety of conditions than normal TLSO braces.
Fenske: What were the challenges in bringing the SpinalQ-Rx to the market?
Schultz: Our biggest challenge was being a small company with a limited marketing budget, but one with a huge idea. In order to make our presence felt, it had to be something new and unprecedented.