Cervical collars are most often used to support and protect the neck and spinal cord; they are a short-term tool for the most part. Collars come in a soft foam material and hard plastic adjustable materials. I will focus on the foam products in this posting. Hard plastic and inflatable traction cervical collars will be discussed at a later time.
Soft cervical collars are recommended for the treatment of moderate pain and for short term therapy. It is recommended that your doctor be contacted if you think you need one or will be wearing one for longer than one week. Soft collars are designed for short term use, not for any long term physical therapy unless the therapist evaluates the need on a regular basis.
FITTING THE COLLAR
Soft foam collars come in various widths to comfortably fit necks while supporting the average 12-pound head. You will find them available in 2”, 3”, and 4” wide sizes with hook n loop straps to adjust for length. The 2” and small sizes will fit most youth.
The collar should fit tight but not so much to cause you to be uncomfortable. Wearing one too loose can result in skin irritation plus not holding your head secure to be of any benefit.
It is best to let the head rest on the collar rather then trying to hold the head above it. Let your chin rest on the foam to reduce side to side movement. This keeps your head in a neutral position.
Many people will sleep wearing the collar, it is a personal choice which many find easy to do. The collar is designed to help with neck pain so it is recommended wearers do not take part in impact activities such as jumping, jogging, or lifting heavy objects.
Avoid sitting in low or very soft chairs as those may not keep your spine in a good position. Driving a vehicle while wearing a cervical collar is not recommended as this limits the turning of the head so that could/would restirct your side to side vision. We all can enjoy having someone else drive for us now and then, right?
One tip is to keep in motion rather than sitting for long periods as walking helps with good posture. This will help keep your neck and back in shape.
With any condition if the pain persits, gets worse or changes in nature it is best to contact your doctor or physical therapist for advice. Information presented in our blogs are general in nature and not meant to be medical advice.
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