FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the best way to support the neck while sleeping?
Unless your therapist recommends wearing an orthopedic neck brace 24/7, your best bet for supporting the neck and relieving neck pain at night is a good cervical support pillow. Whether you prefer to sleep on your side or back, the best pillow for neck support is usually shaped like a bowtie or a butterfly and it also helps reduce tension and headaches. If you need to sleep on the go, also consider getting a https://www.allegromedical.com/products/traveler-neck-pillow-each/travel neck pillow.
How can I make a neck brace more comfortable?
If you need to wear a rigid neck brace for long periods of time, keep in mind it should be tight enough to support your injury, yet comfortable enough to move. To protect your skin from abrasions, you can wear a soft scarf under your cervical collar. You must also keep it clean and your skin has to be completely dry before fitting it on. To make it easier on you, try to improve your posture throughout your day, avoid carrying too much weight, and ensure your neck aligns with your body while sleeping. Even though you may be tempted to rest and sit more while wearing a cervical collar, it is recommended to stay active and thus prevent neck muscles from stiffening up.
What are the different types of cervical collars?
- Classic foam collar — The most popular choice is a universal cervical collar that comes in different heights and does not require extensive neck measurements. Foam collars usually come with a soft cotton stockinette that you can easily remove and wash. They are comfortable and mildly firm, also suitable for wearing at night. Front-fastening designs are available for people with limited shoulder movement.
- Serpentine collar — Made of firm foam, the serpentine shape allows the chin to rest comfortably on the cervical collar. It can also come with an extension piece to accommodate larger sizes.
- Low-profile collar — Bulky foam can be replaced with a lightweight and attractive tubular design that is easy to fit and adjust by simply bending it. It reduces heat retention, making it ideal for hot days.
- Tracheotomy collar — This type of neck brace maintains the alignment of the cervical spine after neck injuries, while also allowing airway management, like emergency tracheotomies or monitoring the pulse of the carotid. It is also available as an adjustable collar set with six height settings and is suitable for extensive wear.
- Halo-vest — This is a type of neck brace that immobilizes and protects the cervical spine after accidents or surgeries. Quite uncomfortable, it is usually worn for 6-12 weeks and can only be fitted and removed in a clinic setting.
- SOMI neck brace — SOMI stands for Sternal Occipital Mandibular Immobilizer and offers more support than tracheotomy collars, but less than halo vests. It is adjustable, lightweight, and suitable for wearing for a long time.
What conditions require neck support?
Soft foam collars are generally used in case of neck sprains, whiplash, or chronic neck pain, while rigid neck braces are generally fitted after surgery, cervical fractures, or other severe traumas that take a long time to heal. A rigid cervical collar can also prove useful in treating cervical lordosis, also known as 'text neck' because of the prolonged forward head posture associated with the high usage of mobile devices.
What must you confirm before removing a cervical spine collar?
Cervical spine collars must be kept on until a radiologist confirms there is no acute neurologic, ligament-, or bone-related abnormality, including no cervical spine fracture, after performing a CT scan.
How do I measure for a cervical collar?
Many cervical collars have an adjustable circumference and you only need to consider the proper height. This is measured from the base of the shoulder to the chin. You can easily do that just by using your hand: look at the patient's neck from the side and place your outstretched hand on their shoulder, with the pinky finger down. Count the fingers from the shoulder to where the imaginary line of their chin meets your hand. If the measurement falls between two cervical collar heights, choose the smaller one. If you also need to measure the neck circumference, do so with a measuring tape just below the patient's Adam's apple.
What is cervical traction used for?
A brief 3-5 minute cervical traction session can relieve mild to moderately severe pain associated with cervical spondylosis and pinched nerves. Cervical traction can easily be performed at home several times a day if necessary.
MEDICAL ADVICE DISCLAIMER
The information, including but not limited to text, graphics, images, charts, and any other material on this site, is intended for informational purposes only and does not take the place of medical guidance provided by your physician. No information on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult a qualified medical professional about your condition or circumstances before undertaking a new healthcare regimen.