Back aches due to regular load on the spine are becoming increasingly common among people across various professions, be it labour-intensive work or tiresome desk jobs. In India, 60% of the population has suffered from some form of lower back pain during their lifetime. While for some, the pain is a mild discomfort, in others, it can pose serious consequences such as chronic back pain, compressed spinal cord injury, or a slipped disk.
Ganesh Ram Jangir (32), then a student of Class XII, had been burdened by the same issue while working on his field in Newndra village in Rajasthan’s Nagaur district. He’d spend his time sowing seeds, plucking weeds and harvesting crops. But at the end of every day, he’d be left with a throbbing pain down his spine, and the discomfort would make it hard for him to fall asleep.
“My parents, and others who toiled on the fields, admitted they experienced similar pain. Some said they continued to work despite the ache, while others sought temporary solutions such as painkillers,” Ganesh says.
This incident prompted him to innovate a solution that would reduce load on the spinal cord. The device, named the Jaipur Belt, was launched in 2019, and is patented across eight countries, including India. Around 300 people are currently using this device, and 60 of them are farmers from Rajasthan and Maharashtra.
Reducing pressure exerted on the body by half
“The users include construction site workers, as well as factory workers in large companies such as Bosch and Maruti Suzuki. The device is also being used by office-goers who spend prolonged hours sitting or standing, and even people who have spinal cord injuries,” he says.
Ganesh decided to work on this solution to ease the back pain of labourers while pursuing his engineering degree at Jaipur Engineering College and Research Centre. As part of his research, he spoke to several farmers and construction workers in his village. “Whoever I spoke to agreed that body pain, especially back pain, was a regular occurrence. While most of them resorted to painkillers to ease their pain, others depended on alcohol. Some workers said that they needed to drink to get a good night’s sleep,” he says.
In 2008, Ganesh presented a design of a belt that would support a person’s back and reduce the load on the spine, as a final year project. According to his design, the belt was to be worn around the shoulders, and back-support would be provided by the padding on the shoulders, lower back, and thighs. The device also has cushioning to provide comfort.
“While wearing the belt, a person could do the same work as before, but only exert half the pressure on their body. This project was selected by the National Innovation Foundation, and they helped me perfect the model,” says Ganesh.
After graduation, Ganesh worked with a software company for a while, but in 2014, he quit and returned to his hometown to launch Newndra Innovations. With help from practicing doctors and mentors in the science community, Ganesh began working on developing the final prototype of the Jaipur Belt.
“The final prototype was a solution that works on the fundamentals of mechanics. The device reduces the pressure exerted on the spinal cord when doing a particular task. For example, if a person is lifting an object weighing 10 kilos, he would need to exert pressure of 10 kilos to lift it. However, while wearing the belt, he would exert only half of that pressure, because there would be tight support holding his upper body and evenly spreading the weight around his waist,” Ganesh says.
The Jaipur Belt has been made using thermoplastics, metal, plastic, and cushions. It is to be worn from the shoulders to the thighs, and is lightweight. Steel rods around the waist offer support, adjustable straps offer a snug fit.
The Jaipur Belt received its patents by 2019, and was then officially launched. It costs Rs 9,000 and comes in two size variations. To date, 300 people have purchased it, including farmers, construction workers, automobile manufacturers, office goers, retired army officers suffering from spinal cord conditions, and people with chronic back pain.
Colonel P K Vasudevan (61) a resident of Chennai, Tamil Nadu started using the Jaipur Belt five years ago. He was looking for a solution to ease his back pain, caused by a spinal cord injury during his time in the army.
He says, “The injury was caused by a bullet wound and I had trouble bending forward, standing or sitting for long hours, or moving furniture. Earlier, I would do yoga and other exercises to ease the pain. However, the Jaipur Belt proved to be life-changing. After I wore it, I could do intense activities including gardening and driving. I even walked up the Tirupati Hills wearing this belt. It is a novel device, and is suitable for any body shape, as it is adjustable.”
If you wish to purchase the Jaipur Belt, visit the official website.
Before placing the order, you must enter your height and weight to select the correct size. Once, the company has received it, they will call you to confirm the same.
Edited by Divya Sethu