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New Pittsburgh Product Offers On-The-Go Back Pain Relief

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Is there a person alive who has never experienced back pain of some sort?

"My lower back," says Russ Paul, of Steubenville. "I think it hurts every day when I get out of bed."

Back pain can especially hit older folks.

"The back hurts, particularly in cold weather," says Lou Schohn, of Kennedy.

But, it can also affect the young as well.

"Even as a young kid. I've definitely had it since I was 3," says Ty Kunzelman, of West Mifflin.

Sometimes it's related to child-bearing, says Brooke Hazel of Robinson.

"I have when I was pregnant. All three times," she says.

For many, the pain is sports-related.

"It's probably mostly due to playing contact sports," says Sean Thompson, of Columbus.

Until now, the remedy has always been the same.

"If it's really bad, I lay down with a heating pad," says Thompson.

"I kind of have to take a break on the weekends and ice it, or even lie down to retroact the pain," says Kunzelman.

But, that immobilizes you on a bed, couch, or chair.

So, wanting to remain active, Highland Park resident Helen Volkov Behn, with the help of local designer Jen Rocket, has developed a simple but revolutionary way to control back pain.

The solution is a vest that holds ice or heat packs close to your back while you go about your business.

"I started to develop prototypes and versions for myself so I could wash the dishes, or walk the dogs, or do some computer work at the same time," Behn told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.

She calls her special vest the Revive Tank.

Delano: "The ice packs, the heating pads, where do they go?"

Behn: "I'm going to show you on the female model. They actually go in the back, and the low back and the mid-back are the target areas. And you can get from the sacral joint, S-2, all the way up to T-6 because it's adjustable."

The heat pads or ice packs slide into inside pockets of the vest.

The product has been two years in the making.

"There's a series of tests," says Rocket. "How's it going to work with the stitching? What machines do we have to get the best stitch out of that material?"

"We do wash tests. We do fusing tests. And just trying to figure out what's going to work better with what in terms of sewing them together, and strength, versatility, and that sort of thing -- and look, of course."

Although it's an undergarment, look is important.

"I loved it, loved it," says Brendan Bagin, a personal trainer who tested the vest.

"It just takes too long to have an ice pack and wrap it around, then it's sliding around. You have to be on your back to get good pressure on it. This has solved all those problems," says Bagin.

But, potential customers still have questions.

"I'd have to see it to see if it would be too bulky on," says Thompson.

The designer says it actually makes you thinner.

"By this coming in at an angle, it is flattering to the figure," says Rocket.

"I don't know," says Paul. "I would have to see how comfortable it is. At my job, I am constantly walking around."

"We want people to be happy wearing this," says Rocket, "To feel a boost of confidence and to feel comfortable."

If all goes according to plan, production of this Pittsburgh-based product will begin in mid-March with delivery to your home a month later.

Here's another benefit, says Behn. It's all made in America.

Behn: "We actually partnered with a manufacturing company out of Virginia and are very happy with their partnership."

Delano: "So, this is clearly a made in the USA product?"

Behn: "Absolutely."

Delano: "And you're going to keep it that way?"

Behn: "Yes, I will."

It won't be long before this young Pittsburgh businesswoman learns if she joins the ranks of successful entrepreneurs.

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