Westfield-made device shaping up

WESTFIELD – For millions of Americans, everyday tasks become tedious, life’s little joys become arduous, and something as simple as getting out of bed proves difficult.
The cause of this widespread suffering is back pain.
According to the American Chiropractic Association, 80% of the American population will suffer from back pain at some point in their life, a number that is far too high for Dr. Roland Berthiaume, a Springfield native who has developed a device that is looking to change the game plan in America’s battle with back pain: the Lo Bak Trax.
A 1996 graduate of the National College of Chiropractic in Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Berthiaume returned to Western Massachusetts to begin his practice. As a back pain sufferer, he made an immediate impact in the Springfield area, as he understands the plight of his patients.
“I myself have an abnormally shaped vertebrae in my back,” the good doctor said in a recent interview. “I have been a chronic back pain sufferer my whole life. So I decided to begin working on an instrument to fix that.”
Thus, the revolutionary device was born. Shaped like the handlebars of a bicycle, the Lo Bak Trax is designed to loosen up the lower back muscles through increased traction on the thighs, pushing the device up the legs to ease muscle tension.
Lo Bak Trax is being advertised as an easy to store, easy to use, instrument that will take the place of larger, cumbersome devices such as inversion tables, a known commodity amongst back pain sufferers nationwide, who spend $50 billion a year on the most basic of back pain remedies, according to the ACA.
“Physical therapists are loving it.  Retailers have begun carrying it,” Dr. Berthiaume says, “It’s also being used in facilities in Springfield and West Springfield. We’ve also gotten some stars endorsing it, too,” he said, in reference to former Red Sox infielder Kevin Millar, who headlines an endorsement team that includes professional wrestlers and dancers for major pop music acts.
Since applying for a patent in 2010, Dr. Berthiaume and his partners are anticipating receiving the patent in December of this year. They couldn’t be more excited.
Folks in Westfield are excited as well, as the Columbia Manufacturing Company has been given the contract to produce the device.
“AG Miller designed our first prototypes, but we decided we needed a bigger manufacturer when we realized what we had,” Dr. Berthiaume said, “We had investors who wanted to manufacture it in China, but we stood our ground. We want Western Massachusetts to produce this product.”
The pads for the device are produced in Holyoke, while the instructional DVD was produced in Agawam.
Due to it’s American manufacturing, the device comes at a $160 price tag, but Berthiaume believes it is worth every penny, if you suffer from back pain.
“I would rather have it made here (in America) and have a rugged, quality product, then something made in China with cheap metals and lead paint that will break.” Dr. Berthiaume said.
As the Lo Bak Trax becomes a major player in the national marketplace, Dr. Roland Berthiaume is hoping to keep focused on two things: keeping people working in Western Massachusetts and keeping back pain at bay nationwide.

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