Neck discomfort (sometimes known as cervical pain or simply 'cervical') is a widespread issue, affecting two-thirds of the population at some point in their lives. Neck pain affects around 5% of the population and is more common in women than in males. About half of the episodes resolve within a year, but the remaining individuals continue to suffer from pain and incapacity.
The use of cervical collars for neck pain is debatable. Collars play just a limited role in the studies available in this area. Depending on the diagnosis and aetiology of neck discomfort, the mechanism of damage, clinical symptoms, and response to bracing may differ. This review will look at the evidence for suggesting cervical collars depending on the many causes of neck pain.
Continue reading to learn more about the benefits of a cervical collar as well as the potential adverse effects, particularly if worn for an extended period of time. We also provide information on how to sleep and bathe while wearing a cervical collar.
What Exactly is a Cervical collar?
Cervical collars, often known as neck braces or C collars, are used to provide spinal cord and head support. These collars are commonly used to treat neck injuries, neck surgeries, and various cases of neck pain.
Cervical/neck collars are widely used to immobilise the neck in patients who have had cervical spine surgery. It's also utilized to treat neck discomfort that's caused by a traumatic injury or chronic pain. A neck collar can be used after a whiplash injury for both immobilisation and pain relief, while the benefit of the collar over early active mobilisations is debatable, as early mobilizations can result in higher improvement in cervical range of motion and pain relief. Neck collars are designed to restrict or reduce motion in the cervical spine. It also maintains correct cervical lordosis by keeping the head in a comfortable gravity aligned position.
What are the Uses of a Cervical Collar?
The main objective of a cervical collar is to strengthen the support for your spinal cord and neck.
Following are some of the conditions that may need the usage of a cervical collar:
Trauma and Whiplash- A cervical collar for neck pain may protect your neck and prevent future harm if you've been in a car accident or suffered another type of injury, such as a fall.
Surgery on the Neck- It limits rotation, as well as side-to-side and back-and-forth movements, which helps to prevent injury after surgery.
Spondylosis of the Cervical Spine- A neck pain collar can provide temporary relief from the pain of cervical spondylosis, which is an age-related disorder caused by wear and tear of the cartilage and bones in the neck.
Neck Stiffness or Pain in general- These collars might relieve some of the tension in your neck muscles.
How Long should a Cervical Collar be Worn?
The amount of time you'll need to wear a cervical collar is determined by your condition.
It's frequently recommended that you don't use a cervical collar for more than a week if you have significant neck pain that isn't triggered by a sudden injury. The usage of a collar for an extended period of time can cause your neck muscles to tighten and weaken.
Consult your doctor about how long you should wear a cervical collar if you have severe neck pain or a recent accident.
Do we have a Variety of Neck Pain Collars?
Soft and hard cervical collars are available. Materials used to make soft collars include felt, foam, and rubber. They sit below your mouth and fit snuggly around your neck. Some doctors may prescribe them to treat moderate neck pain temporarily. More significant neck injuries are unlikely to be helped by soft collars.
Plexiglass or plastic is commonly used for hard collars or adjustable rigid plastic cervical collars. More than softer collars, they restrict head rotation and side-to-side movement. They frequently include chin support to help your neck muscles rest.
For severe neck pain, spinal fractures, and trauma injuries, hard neck braces or adjustable rigid plastic cervical collars are frequently given.
General Tips for using a Neck Pain Collar for Neck Pain
If you need to wear a neck pain collar, your doctor will probably give you detailed instructions on what you should and shouldn't do while wearing it.
When wearing a cervical collar, it's a good idea to:
- Instead of resting or sitting too much, move around. Gentle activity, such as walking, can help prevent stiff neck muscles. Muscle stiffness can delay your recuperation.
- Maintain proper posture by not slouching or hunching over. Maintain a straight back, shoulders back, and a straight head with your ears over your shoulders.
- Make sure your collar is snug but not too tight. If the collar isn't snug enough, it won't give you the support you need, which could lead to more pain or damage. It could brush against your skin and create discomfort if it's too loose.
Your neck and spinal cord are supported and protected by a cervical collar. Collars of this type are often used to treat neck injuries, neck operations, and some cases of neck pain.
Although a cervical collar can be effective for short-term treatment, studies have shown that wearing one for an extended period of time might cause neck muscles to weaken and tighten.