Brace for neck pain

Braces for your neck and back

Overview

Your doctor may prescribe a neck or back brace for you to wear after a spinal injury or surgery. A brace does three things:

  • immobilizes your spine during healing
  • stabilizes injured areas
  • controls pain by restricting movement

Braces, also called orthotics, are made from a variety of materials such as elastic cotton/nylon, foam rubber, and molded plastic. An orthotist is a medical professional that specializes in making custom molded braces, adjusting their fit, and providing tips for comfort and proper wear.
Braces can be worn on any section of the spine (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral) and are named for the area of the spine to which they are applied. Common spine orthoses include:

It’s important to follow your doctor’s specific instructions for when and how to wear your brace—especially when sleeping, showering, and during certain activities.

Neck (cervical) braces

Soft cervical collar

There are two types of neck braces: soft and rigid. A soft cervical collar is made from thick foam rubber covered in cotton. It is used to support your neck and control pain after an injury (e.g., whiplash). Rigid braces are made from molded plastic with a removable padded liner in two pieces—a front and back piece—fastened with Velcro. This brace is used to restrict neck movement during recovery from a fracture or surgery (e.g., fusion). Common rigid braces are the Philadelphia collar and the Miami J collar.

Miami J collar

When to wear your brace
Know how to apply your brace before leaving the hospital. Wear your brace all the time—even during sleep—unless otherwise instructed by the surgeon. You will wear the brace until your spine has healed or fused, which may be as short as 4 weeks or as long as 4 to 6 months.

Applying your rigid brace

  • Begin by lying flat on the bed.
  • Slide the front half of the brace up your chest wall until it’s firmly under your chin.
  • If present, attach the elastic strap behind your neck to the other side.
  • Apply the back half of the brace in the proper position on your neck.
  • Fasten the Velcro straps tightly.

Brace care
Wash and deodorize your brace with a mild soap and damp cloth every day. If your brace has padded liners, let air dry or use a hair dryer on “cool” setting.

Activity
Your brace will restrict your ability to move. You’ll not be able to see your feet, so take care when walking. Avoid extreme bending and twisting of your spine. When moving from a lying to a standing position, use your arm and leg muscles to keep your spine in proper alignment. Follow your doctor or physical therapist’s instructions about exercise.

Restrictions
You should postpone sexual activity until your follow-up appointment unless your surgeon specifies otherwise. Also, do not drive. When riding in a car, do not ride in the front seat with an air bag.

Skin care/bathing
Follow your doctor’s instructions for when you may remove your brace to shower and shave. Wash your hair with dry shampoo products until your incision has healed. Afterward you may shower and wash your hair with the brace on. After showering, lie on a bed and have someone remove the brace—do not move, replace the padded liner with a dry one, and reapply the brace.
Watch for reddened or broken skin under the brace. Skin breakdown can be caused by rubbing, pressure, or moisture. This may indicate that the brace does not fit properly or is not being worn properly. An orthotist can adjust the fit and provide tips for comfort and proper wear.

When to call your orthotist
If your brace feels loose, keeps riding up, is painful, or you have reddened or broken skin under the brace, call the orthotist for an adjustment. The orthotist will also provide more liners for the brace.

Cervical-thoracic braces

Neck (cervical) and upper back (thoracic) injuries require a special cervical-thoracic brace to restrict neck and upper back movement after an injury or neck fusion surgery. This rigid brace has a plastic padded chest jacket in two pieces—a front and back piece—fastened with Velcro straps. Supports for the chin and back of the head arise from the chest jacket.

Minerva brace

When to wear your brace
Know how to apply your brace before leaving the hospital. Wear your brace all the time—even during sleep—unless otherwise instructed by the surgeon. You will wear the brace until your spine has healed or fused, which may be as short as 4 weeks or as long as 4 to 6 months.

You may find that a Minerva brace is uncomfortable to sleep in, so your surgeon may allow you to sleep and shower in a Miami J collar. Follow your surgeon’s specific instructions on when and how to switch between the two braces. Always remove and apply the braces lying on a bed—never sitting or standing.

Applying your brace

  • Apply your cervical-thoracic brace before getting out of bed. Begin by lying flat on the bed. If you’ve slept in a Miami J collar have someone remove it.
  • Separate the two pieces of the brace.
  • Log roll onto your side, keeping your shoulders, hips, and knees in a line.
  • Apply the back half of the brace in the proper position on your neck and back.
  • Carefully log roll onto your back and into the brace.
  • Apply the front half by sliding it up your chest wall until it’s firmly under your chin.
  • Fasten the Velcro straps tightly starting at the bottom and working up.

SOMI brace

Brace care
Wash and deodorize your brace with a mild soap and damp cloth every day. If your brace has soft padding, then a hair dryer set on cool will help dry the inside.

Activity
Your brace will restrict your ability to move. You’ll not be able to see your feet, so take care when walking. Avoid extreme bending and twisting of your spine. When moving from a lying to a standing position, use your arm and leg muscles to keep your spine in proper alignment. Follow your doctor or physical therapist’s instructions about exercise.

Restrictions
You should postpone sexual activity until your follow-up appointment unless your surgeon specifies otherwise. Also, do not drive. When riding in a car, do not ride in the front seat with an air bag.

Skin care/bathing
Follow your surgeon’s instructions for removing the brace to shower and shave. Wash your hair with dry shampoo products until your incision has healed. After the incision heals you may shower and wash your hair in a Miami J collar. Follow the steps above for removing and applying the braces. After showering, lie on a bed and remove the Miami J, replace the padded liner with a dry one, and re-apply the cervical-thoracic brace.
Watch for reddened or broken skin under the brace. Skin breakdown can be caused by rubbing, pressure, or moisture. This may indicate that the brace does not fit properly or it is not being worn properly. An orthotist can adjust the fit and provide tips for comfort and proper wear.

When to call your orthotist
If your brace feels loose, keeps riding up, is painful, or you have reddened or broken skin under the brace, call the orthotist for an adjustment. The orthotist will also provide more liners for the brace.

Halo Ring braces

A halo ring and vest brace is used to restrict head and neck movement after a fracture or neck fusion. It consists of 3 parts:

  • A fleece-lined plastic jacket that is worn on your chest
  • A lightweight metal ring, or halo, that is fastened to your head with four pins
  • Four rods that extend from the vest upward and attach to the ring

To apply the halo, your doctor will give you an injection of a local anesthetic. Four pins are placed equally around your skull and attached to the halo. Most people don’t feel pain from the pins being too tight; rather, loose pins commonly cause pain. Once you are in the halo ring brace, x-rays are taken to make sure your spine is positioned and immobilized correctly.

When to wear your brace
You will wear the halo ring brace day and night for about 3 to 4 months. An orthotist will schedule appointments every 2 to 3 weeks to check your brace and pin sites.

Pin site care
Use cotton swabs (Q-tips) with soap and water or hydrogen peroxide to clean the skin around the pins twice a day. Do not use ointments or antiseptics unless your doctor tells you to. Gently push the skin away from the pins to avoid adherence and reduce scarring. Minimize discomfort at the pin sites by using the pain medication prescribed by your doctor. Thereafter, pain is managed with acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol).

Restrictions
Do not loosen or tighten the pins or straps. Do not allow anyone to lift you by grasping the rods. Do not dye or color your hair. Do not drive. When riding in a car, do not ride in the front seat with an air bag.

Skin care/bathing
Clean the area around your vest everyday. Clean the skin under the vest with an alcohol-moistened towel every 2 or 3 days. Do not use soaps, lotions, or powders under your vest. Do not take a shower – use sponge baths to clean the rest of your body. Wash your hair with dry shampoo products or tuck a towel around your neck and lean over a sink, but do not get the vest wet.

Activity
Your brace will restrict your ability to move. You’ll not be able to see your feet, so take care when walking. Avoid extreme bending and twisting of the spine. When moving from a lying to a standing position, roll onto your side and use your arms to push yourself to a sitting position before standing up. Sleep may be more comfortable in a semi-reclined position with a rolled up towel placed under your neck. Follow your doctor or physical therapist’s instructions about exercise.

When to call your orthotist
If you have loose pins (ability to nod your head); soreness, infection or drainage from pin sites; or reddened, broken skin under the brace. Call the orthotist for an adjustment.

Thoracic-lumbar braces

There are two types of braces: flexible and rigid. A flexible brace is made from an elastic cotton/nylon material and is most commonly used to support your back when lifting, improve posture, or relieve low back pain. This brace is similar to a girdle or corset.

Rigid braces are made from molded plastic in two pieces—a front and back piece—that fasten together. This type of brace is used to immobilize your spine during recovery from a fracture, spinal surgery, or correction of scoliosis. Common rigid braces are the Thoracic Lumbar Sacral Orthosis (TLSO) and the Lumbar Sacral Orthosis (LSO). To be fitted for this type of brace, a plaster cast is made of your torso by an Orthotist. From this cast a rigid plastic brace is custom molded to comfortably fit your body exactly.

LSO brace

When to wear your brace
Know how to apply your brace before leaving the hospital. Wear your brace all the time, unless otherwise instructed by the surgeon, until your spine has healed or fused, which may be as short as 6 weeks or as long as 4 to 6 months. Remove the brace only to sleep. Put the brace on before getting out of bed.

Applying your brace

  • Apply your brace before getting out of bed. Begin by lying flat on the bed.
  • Separate the two pieces of the brace.
  • Log roll onto your side, keeping your shoulders, hips, and knees in a line.
  • Apply the back half of the brace in the proper position on your back.
  • Carefully log roll onto your back and into the brace.
  • Apply the front half of the brace.
  • Fasten the Velcro straps tightly starting at the bottom and working up.
  • You may loosen the Velcro straps slightly while eating.

TLSO brace

Brace care
Wash and deodorize your brace with a mild soap and damp cloth. Rinse and let the brace dry. If your brace has soft padding, then a hair dryer set on cool will help dry the inside.

Activity
Your brace will restrict your spine’s ability to move while still allowing you some mobility, such as walking. However, you should avoid bending and twisting of your spine. When moving from a lying to a standing position, roll onto your side and use your arms to push up to a sitting position before standing. Follow your doctor or physical therapist’s instructions about exercise.

Restrictions
Postpone sexual activity until your follow-up appointment unless your surgeon specifies otherwise.

Skin care/bathing
Do not get the brace wet. If the liner gets wet, you can dry it with a hair dryer on “cool” setting. Follow your doctor’s instructions for when you may remove the brace to shower. Wear a T-shirt under your brace to prevent pressure sores.

When to call your orthotist
If your brace feels loose, keeps riding up, is painful, or you have reddened or broken skin under the brace, call the orthotist for an adjustment.

Sources & links

If you have more questions, please contact Mayfield Brain & Spine at 800-325-7787 or 513-221-1100.

Glossary

cervical: the neck portion of the spine made up of seven vertebrae.

dry shampoo product: any kind of oil-absorbing powder that is brushed through the hair to cleanse it without wetting it.

lumbar: lower portion of the spine made up of 5 vertebrae; connects with the fused bones of the sacrum below.
orthotic: another name for a brace
orthotist: a medical professional who specializes in making custom molded braces.
sacral: the five vertebrae at the base of the spine that provide attachment for the iliac (hip) bones and protect the pelvic organs.
thoracic: middle portion of the spine made up of 12 vertebrae.

updated > 9.2018
reviewed by > Lisa Cleveland, PT, Mayfield Clinic; Ted Ryder, CO, Brace Shop and Prosthetic, Cincinnati, Ohio

Mayfield Certified Health Info materials are written and developed by the Mayfield Clinic. This information is not intended to replace the medical advice of your health care provider.

PMC

Whiplash patients

Whiplash is currently defined as a traumatic injury to the soft tissue structures in the region of the cervical spine caused by hyperflexion, hyperextension, or rotation injury in the absence of fractures, dislocations or intervertebral disk herniations . Symptoms may start immediately or be delayed. Patients with neck pain after a whiplash injury from a rear impact traffic accident commonly present to an ER or trauma center. After an osseous or neurological injury to the cervical vertebral column is excluded, the non-specific diagnosis of soft tissue sprain/strain or “whiplash” is made . In clinical practice, the patient is often discharged with a soft cervical collar and analgesia for pain relief.

There are no established criteria or guidelines to help the clinician decide which patients should be prescribed a soft cervical collar and/or rest and neck immobilization. However, there have been several studies that address the efficacy of cervical collars compared with other treatments (mainly exercise and mobilization) for neck pain due to whiplash injury.

In a study published in 1986 by Mealy et al. , 61 patients who sustained acute cervical whiplash injuries were randomized to either standard treatment or early active mobilization. The group assigned to active treatment received neck mobilization and daily exercises of the cervical spine. The patients assigned to standard treatment were given a soft cervical collar and were advised to rest for 2 weeks before beginning gradual mobilization. Pain intensity using a linear analog scale (0–10) and cervical range of motion (flexion, extension, rotation, and lateral bending), were both measured after 4 and 8 weeks. After 8 weeks, the group treated with early mobilization, fared better in terms of pain intensity and cervical movement. The authors concluded that initial immobilization after whiplash is associated with prolonged symptoms and more rapid improvement can be achieved through increased activity.

Mckinney et al. assessed the long-term (2 year) effects of early mobilization in the whiplash population. A total of 247 patients presenting within 48 h after having a flexion-extension neck sprain from a road accident were randomly assigned to one of the three groups; a physiotherapy program, advice on mobilization, or conservative treatment (rest and cervical collar). After 2 years, 68% of the patients responded via a mailed questionnaire. Within this population, there was no significant difference in the percentage of patients with symptoms between the group receiving rest plus collar (46%) versus the group that received a specialized physiotherapy program (44%). However, in the group that received advice on early mobilization, a significantly lower percentage (23%) reported symptoms after 2 years. From this study we see that there may be psychological advantages in making patients responsible for their treatment, since the patients who received advice only fared better than the group assigned to physiotherapy. The authors concluded that advising whiplash patients on early mobilization results in better outcomes.

Similarly, Rosenfeld et al. sought to investigate the differences in two treatment protocols (active versus standard) with regard to pain and cervical range of motion in patients who sustained a whiplash injury. A total of 97 patients were randomized to four groups; active versus standard treatment and early (within 96 h) versus delayed (after 2 weeks) treatment. The active group was instructed on a home exercise program, while the standard group was given information about the mechanism of injury, instructed to rest for the first week, and was given the option of using a soft cervical collar. Cervical range of motion and pain intensity (measured by visual analog scale), were measured after 6 months. The group randomized to exercise fared better in terms of pain intensity reduction. A 30-point reduction (scale of 100) in pain was reported in the active group treated within 96 h. The active group which received delayed treatment (after 2 weeks) reported a 15-point reduction in pain. No differences could be seen in the improvement of cervical ROM between the active and standard treatment protocol. This study suggests that in whiplash patients, early activity is superior to rest and immobilization with regards to pain intensity.

Along these lines, a study by Borchgrevnick et al. randomized patients with whiplash injury within the first 14 days to either return to their usual activities (no sick leave or cervical collar), or to have 14 days of sick leave from work and be immobilized with a soft cervical collar during that time. At 6 months, the “act-as usual” group had significantly improved outcomes with regard to subjective symptoms such as pain, stiffness, memory, and concentration.

In 1995, the Quebec task force (QTF) adopted a classification system of whiplash associated disorders (WAD) . WAD grade 1 indicates neck complaints (such as pain, tenderness, and stiffness) but no physical signs, WAD grade 2 indicates neck complaints and musculoskeletal signs (i.e., decreased ROM or muscle weakness), WAD grade 3 indicates neck complaints and neurological signs, and grade 4 indicates neck complaints and fracture or dislocation.

A recent study randomized 200 patients who presented to the ER within 48 h of a motor vehicle collision with WAD grade 1 or 2 to either immobilization with a soft cervical collar or to receive exercise with a physiotherapist. Both the groups were followed for 6 weeks and were compared in terms of VAS (visual analog scale) pain intensity and disability. The exercise group had lower VAS pain intensity and disability scores. The authors concluded that early exercise is superior to collar therapy in reducing pain and disability for whiplash injuries.

A Cochrane Database literature review suggests that although there is a trend suggesting that active interventions are more effective than passive ones, no clear conclusion can be drawn. All of these studies suggest that not only are cervical collars not helpful for whiplash related neck pain and that they may even make matters worse by encouraging immobility.

Based on these studies, Logan et al. concluded that the traditional use of soft collars for neck sprains and strains is no longer considered best practice. The temporary relief of pain and support given by a soft collar may prolong recovery of patients. They recommend the following protocol for management of whiplash injuries: No cervical collar, regular analgesia, early home exercise program, and physiotherapy if symptoms persist.

In contrast to the above studies, Kongsted et al. randomized a total of 458 patients who had been exposed to a rear-end or frontal car collision with symptoms within 72 h to three different intervention groups. One group was assigned to immobilization in a semirigid Philadelphia neck collar for 2 weeks, followed by instruction by a physical therapist about active mobilization. The second group (“Act as Usual”) received education about the natural course of whiplash and advice on early mobilization. The third group was assigned a 6-week course of physical therapy. Self-reported data at 1-year follow-up were used as the primary outcome measures. There were no significant differences found between the intervention groups with regard to their pain rating (scale of 1–10), disability (measured with the Copenhagen Neck Functional Disability Scale) or work ability after 1 year. Based on these results the authors concluded that earlier recommendations of active treatment regimens for whiplash patients should not be universally prescribed. These conclusions have been reproduced in other recent trials .

The issue that remains to be decided is whether cervical collars may in fact be harmful for whiplash patients. The two studies discussed below suggest that they may not be, provided that their use is limited to 10 days.

Gennis et al. focused on the role of soft cervical collars in the early management of whiplash-injury-related pain. A total of 196 patients who were in the emergency department with neck pain following an automobile accident were randomized to either a soft cervical collar or to usual care. The patients in the soft cervical collar group were instructed to wear the collar as much as they could tolerate for the first 2 weeks after injury. The other group served as the control. Both the groups were advised to rest and given analgesics at the discretion of the treating physician. At 6 weeks follow-up there was no difference in the groups in terms of pain, complete recovery, or improvement. They concluded that soft cervical collars do not influence the duration or degree of persistent pain.

Dehner et al. investigated the effects of 2 vs. 10 days of immobilization with a soft cervical collar, on pain, disability, and ROM in patients with WAD grade 2 whiplash injuries. The patients in this study, presented within 24 h of whiplash injury (WAD grade 2) to an emergency department. They were randomized to two therapy groups; 2-days vs. 10-days of immobilization with a soft cervical collar, 24 h a day. After 7 days, all patients started a standardized physical therapy program, 2–3 times a week for up to 6 weeks. Pain (assessed by VAS), disability (by VAS), and ROM were measured within 24 h of injury, and at 2 and 6 months. At both 2 and 6 months, there was no statistically significant difference between the groups for all measured outcomes (pain, disability, or ROM). The authors concluded that for patients with WAD grade 2 whiplash injury there is no difference between 2 and 10 days of immobilization with a soft cervical collar.

Therefore, there does not seem to be any significant benefit to extending the duration of collar usage. However, for those patients with acute neck pain, who prefer the use of a collar, it may be helpful, and at least for the first 10 days, it has not been found to be harmful.

How Long Should You Wear A Neck Brace?

A neck brace is generally used for immobilization and also to reduce neck pain. The primary goal of neck braces is to prevent or minimize motion of the cervical spine. Though neck braces can be used for neck pain, one must note it down that it can sometimes add more pressure and may also result in several other side effects in some individuals, especially when worn for a longer period of time. In this post we will know about the duration for which one must wear a neck brace.

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A neck brace, also known as cervical collar is a medical device that is used to support a person’s neck. Many people are advised by their doctor to wear a neck brace to reduce neck pain or other conditions that require immobilization of the neck. Now, how long do you have to wear a neck brace? Well a straight answer to this would be that you need to wear your neck brace all throughout the day, every day for at least one week in case you have a mild neck pain that requires a relief. You can then gradually decrease the use of the neck brace.

If you have any other condition, (like after a surgery) that requires you wearing a neck brace, you must wear it all the time, unless otherwise instructed by your doctor, until your spine has healed, which may take somewhere from 6 weeks to 6 months. You must remove the neck brace while sleeping.

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It must be noted that if the neck brace is worn for a longer period, it could have a number of side effects, like soft tissue contractures, loss of proprioception, muscular atrophy, thickening of subscapular tissues and coordination. Moreover, wearing a brace all the time could also result in psychological dependence in the user.

Also Read:

  • Hunchback: Causes, Symptoms, Signs, Investigations, Treatment, Exercises, Posture Brace
  • Can Neck Pain Cause Shoulder Pain?
  • Cervical Kyphosis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Exercise
  • Various Types of Neck Collars to Recover from Neck Pain

How a Neck Brace Works to Relieve Pain

Neck braces have been around since the days of ancient Egypt and Greece. Also known as cervical collars, these devices are used to immobilize the head, relieve neck pain, and allow healing. One very common use for a neck brace is for a neck injury sustained in a car accident — according to one study, more than a million cases of whiplash occur in the United States every year and nearly two-thirds of the victims will develop neck pain.

Neck Brace: When It’s Used

There are three reasons you might need to wear a neck brace:

  1. The most common reason is to relieve pain. The neck brace helps your neck support the weight of your head while the soft tissues in your neck have a chance to heal.
  2. You may need a neck brace after spinal neck surgery to keep your neck bones in line while you heal.
  3. If you have a serious accident, a neck brace may be put on you as a precautionary measure until possible injuries to your neck can be evaluated.

Neck Brace: Wear and Care

Neck braces can range from simple, one-piece, soft wraparound collars to rigid braces with pads supported by hard plastic, like the Miami J. Whether your doctor recommends a soft cervical collar or a semi-rigid plastic brace depends on the severity of your neck problem and the length of time you will be wearing the brace.

The Miami J neck brace is a typical, two-piece rigid neck brace, held together by Velcro straps. Neck support is provided by plastic on the outside and soft pads on the inside. Patients usually wear the brace continuously, taking it off just long enough for daily cleaning.

If your doctor recommends that you use a brace, you’ll be given specific instructions on wear and care, but in general these are the guidelines to follow:

  • The neck brace should be snug enough that you can’t move your head, and your chin should not slide inside or stick out over the collar.
  • The lower edge of the neck brace should rest comfortably against your body, with only the padded area touching your skin.
  • If you have a beard or long hair, your hair should be outside of the neck brace.
  • You should keep your skin clean and dry under the brace. Don’t use powders or lotions because they can damage the pads.
  • When you remove your neck brace for cleaning, always check to make sure there are no areas of skin irritation.
  • The pads that touch your skin should be cleaned every day with mild soap; if your neck brace has plastic supports, these will be cleaned once a week with a wet towel and mild soap; never use harsh detergents or abrasive products.

A neck brace is a temporary device to help your neck heal and relieve neck pain. It’s important to wear your neck brace properly to get the maximum benefit. A good neck brace should decrease motion but not cause discomfort, so let your doctor know if your neck brace is uncomfortable.

Late last year, I had developed an annoying tingling feeling in my right wrist and fingers. Of course, I ignored it at first thinking it was nothing. Then the tingling started to hurt, and the pain became an everyday occurrence that nearly brought me to a full stop at work.

The words Carpal Tunnel Syndrome were mentioned to me time and time again by a few of my coworkers. So after a WebMD search of my symptoms, I was convinced I had Carpal Tunnel.

One frantic phone call to my mother later, and I had the name of her Orthopedist and was setting up an appointment for the following Monday. After a full medical check up, the Orthopedist came back to tell me it wasn’t Carpal Tunnel – thank God.

He explained to me that Carpal Tunnel is often misdiagnosed. Hundreds of people get Carpal Tunnel surgery they don’t actually need and never see relief because the cause of the issue is not in their wrist.

So what was the cause of all my pain and strife, you ask? Well, I had a muscle pinching off a nerve in my neck that runs down to my hand, causing a Carpal Tunnel like feeling.

This is where the neck brace – which I dubbed the collar of shame – came into the mix. Along with round the clock Advil, I was required to wear a foam collar neck brace for a minimum of 2 hours a day for 3 weeks. Its purpose? To retrain my neck to align into proper position.

There was a learning curve to the collar. It was rather uncomfortable. I kept fussing with it, and not being able to turn my head or look down while wearing it annoyed me greatly. Once I decided to stop fighting it, I noticed an immediate difference in my desk posture, and in the pain in my hand and wrist.

Like most of us who sit at desks from 9 to 5, I have a tendency to lean into the keyboard and hunching my shoulders while working. The collar forced my neck into a position where I could not do that. So I had to sit up straight in my chair and allow my eyes – instead of my neck – to turn down to look at the keyboard.

After a few days of readjusting, and being given an ergonomic keyboard by my wonderful boss, the pain was gone and so was the collar of shame. Its effects, however, would last – for a time. I frequently found myself correcting the way I sat afterwards.

Why did changing my posture make a difference? The answer to that is simple. By slouching at my desk, I wasn’t allowing my body the room to function properly. This put undue strain on the muscles and joints of my back and neck. Those strains caused the inflammation that led to my Carpal Tunnel like symptoms.

When the neck is in proper position with the spine, the muscles around the neck and shoulder work properly. Adjusting my posture allowed the muscle to relax and release pressure on the nerve, which put the tingling and pain to an end. Fixing my posture allowed my spine to go back into alignment.

But proper posture takes maintenance, and if you fall back into old habits you can risk new or returning injuries.

Recently, I had let my posture slip. The other day at work, I had noticed the fingers on my left hand were bluish in color. The next day it came back and they started to tingle a little bit.

Here we go again! Another trip to the doctor later, those same muscles again are putting pressure on the artery, this time, limiting circulation to my left hand. So it’s back into the collar of shame for me. Hopefully, I will learn my lesson this time.

This is why posture is so important.

Posture affects your health, whether you are conscious of it or not. Bad posture can cause pain, depression, physical ailment, and improper curvature of the spine that can leave you with a hump. It also can slow down your work performance.

Taking a proactive approach to maintaining your posture can save you a lot of time, money, and pain. You can benefit from changing your desk posture.

Benefits of Proper Posture while sitting at your desk:

1. No more back pain – Slouching can put strain and stress on the spine, which causes back, shoulder, and neck pain. People who suffer from back pain see improvement by correcting their slouching. Unstrained muscles are healthy muscles, and healthy muscles don’t hurt or ache.

2. You’ll breathe better – Maintaining an upright posture allows you to take in deeper, fuller breaths. This keeps you calm and gets needed oxygen to your organs. So better posture helps to lower stress, betters your concentration and helps the body function properly.

3. It improves your mood – Proper posture boosts your confidence, which also boosts your mood. Studies have shown that those with upright posture are often more energetic, enthusiastic, happy and positive in comparison to those who slouch.

4. You’ll be more productive – Improper posture actually hurts your productivity, as pain and discomfort slow you down. It almost slowed down my work performance in half, and as a designer, I could not accept that. Sitting upright makes you more alert and concentrated, which leads to better productivity.

If my lesson with the collar of shame can leave you with anything, please don’t forget to stretch throughout the day, roll your shoulders back and down, rest your arms on the desk when you type, try not to slouch and remember to use your eyes to look down, not your neck.

Neck Braces

Neck Braces at Walgreens

The purpose of a neck brace is to give your head and neck support while you’re recovering from an injury. The muscles in the neck are responsible for holding the head up, maintaining normal posture, and supporting and moving the neck. If your neck is injured, for example, while playing sports or in a car accident, moving your head may cause pain. A neck brace is designed to keep your neck still in order to help ease pain and discomfort until healing occurs.

Other Reasons You Might Wear a Neck Brace

If you’ve just had neck surgery, your doctor may ask you to wear a neck brace until the soft tissues in your neck heal. If you have neck pain or a neck injury, see your doctor immediately. He or she will give you guidelines on how to treat your injury and let you know whether a neck brace is right for you.

Types of Neck Braces

If you’ve had an injury to your neck, have chronic degenerative neck problems or a condition called cervical stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal), your doctor may recommend wearing a rigid plastic cervical collar. This gives your neck firm support but is softly padded where it touches your neck. It’s also ventilated to release heat for maximal comfort.

In the case of mild neck injuries or chronic neck pain, a soft cervical collar may offer relief. Soft foam cervical collars are comfortable to wear and lightly support your neck. Although they don’t provide the same support as a rigid plastic cervical collar, they’re a reminder not to move your head and neck too quickly.

Your doctor may recommend wearing a cervical collar only for a short time to relieve pain and promote healing. Wearing one for long periods of time can cause your neck muscles to become “lazy” from underuse. Your doctor will advise you on how long to wear a cervical collar or brace.

Other Options for Neck Support

When you have neck pain, it may be hard to get comfy at night when you lie down to sleep. A contoured neck cushion can give your neck firm but comfortable support while you sleep. Its unique design softly cradles your neck as you slumber while helping to maintain proper cervical alignment.

When your neck needs more than just support, hot/cold neck supports firmly but comfortably cradle your neck. They come with a gel pack that slips into a pocket on the neck support. The gel pack can be used to deliver soothing heat or cold to sore or inflamed neck muscles. Immediately after an injury, doctors often recommend cold to reduce inflammation. After the initial inflammation subsides, heat may provide soothing relief from pain. With a hot/cold neck support, one size fits all – just use the Velcro attachment to adjust the size to fit your neck.

There are a number of supports and braces available for different areas of the body. Talk to your doctor or health care provider about which type is right for you.

This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking any over-the-counter medication as they may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to your physician before taking these products. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Neck

Why You Need Neck Braces/Collars

Neck braces/collars are designed to keep the head relatively still especially when you are recovering from a physical injury. There are different types of these braces – ranging from the nearly-rigid kind to the simple wraparound model. Whichever one you wear will depend on the neck pain, as well as what caused it.

About Neck Braces/Collars

Also referred to as a cervical collars, neck braces are typically used to allow healing by relieving neck pain and immobilizing the head. One common use for these collars is for neck injuries that were sustained during a motor car accident. According to a recent study, more than nearly two thirds of the victims in the million plus cases of whiplash will develop neck pain, and need neck braces/collars.

Why Use Neck Braces/Collars

So, when, where and why are neck braces/collars used? There are 3 main reasons why you might be required to wear one. These include:

1. Pain Relief

The most common reason to wear neck braces is to relieve pain. The brace will help your neck to support the overall weight of your head. By so doing, it will give the soft tissues in the neck a chance to heal and recover from pain.

2. Bone Alignment

In the same way, you might be required to get neck braces/collars after you have undergone spinal neck surgery. The braces will keep the bones in your neck properly aligned to allow for faster healing.

3. Precaution

If you have been involved in a serious accident, your doctor may put a collar on you as a precautionary measure until they evaluate whether there are other possible injuries on or around your neck.

Anyway, neck braces/collars are designed to do any or all of the following:

  • Immobilize the spine to allow for faster healing
  • Stabilize the injured body parts
  • Restrict movement
  • Control pain

More on Neck Collars

Neck collars are sometimes call orthotics. They are typically made from a wide variety of materials, such as molded plastic, foam rubber and elastic nylon/cotton. They are mostly applied by orthotists, who are medical professionals specializing in the creation of custom-made braces, the adjusting of their fit, and the provision of tips for proper wear and comfort.

When you have been asked to wear a neck brace, it is essential that you follow the specific instructions from your doctor. Always wear them the way and for the duration the doctor recommended – paying especial attention to the performance of such activities as sleeping and showing.

Types of Neck Braces

There are two main types of neck braces/collars: rigid and soft.

a) Soft Cervical Collars

These are typically made from thick foam rubber which has then been covered up in cotton. Soft neck braces/collars are used to provide support to the neck, as well as the controlling of pain after injuries like whiplash.

b) Rigid Cervical Collars

Rigid braces, on the other hand, are made using molded plastic. They also have removable padded liners divided into 2 pieces – a back and a front piece. The two pieces are then fastened together using Velcro. Rigid neck braces/collars are used to restrict the neck from moving during surgery (e.g. fusion) or from a fracture. The most common are the Miami J collar and the Philadelphia collar.

Wearing Neck Braces

You need to understand how your neck braces/collars work before you leave the hospital. As you will learn from your doctor, it is vital that you wear the brace all the time – even when you are sleeping. This is unless the surgeon instructs otherwise. You will also be required to wear the neck braces/collars until your neck and spine are fused or healed. This may take anywhere from 4 weeks to around 4 to 6 months.

To apply your brace, follow these instructions:

  • Lie flat on your bed
  • Slide the front half of the neck brace up the chest wall until it is firmly located under your chin
  • Where required, attach the elastic strap on the collar behind your neck and round to the other side
  • Apply the back half of your collar into the proper position around your neck
  • Fasten the straps tightly and firmly

Over and above everything else, your neck braces/collars will seriously restrict your ability to move as you normally do. For instance, you will no longer be able to see your feet, meaning you need to take extra care while working. You should also avoid extreme twisting and bending of the spine. Use your leg and arm muscles to keep your neck and spine in proper alignment. Finally, follow the instructions from your doctor or physical therapist about using neck braces/collars.

Hull Royal Infirmary – Physiotherapy Department, on telephone no: (01482) 674539. (Ask for Neurosurgery Physiotherapy)

General Advice and Consent

Most of your questions should have been answered by this leaflet, but remember that this is only a starting point for discussion with the healthcare team.

Consent to treatment

Before any doctor, nurse or therapist examines or treats you, they must seek your consent or permission. In order to make a decision, you need to have information from health professionals about the treatment or investigation which is being offered to you. You should always ask them more questions if you do not understand or if you want more information.

The information you receive should be about your condition, the alternatives available to you, and whether it carries risks as well as the benefits. What is important is that your consent is genuine or valid. That means:

  • you must be able to give your consent
  • you must be given enough information to enable you to make a decision
  • you must be acting under your own free will and not under the strong influence of another person

Information about you

We collect and use your information to provide you with care and treatment. As part of your care, information about you will be shared between members of a healthcare team, some of whom you may not meet. Your information may also be used to help train staff, to check the quality of our care, to manage and plan the health service, and to help with research. Wherever possible we use anonymous data.

We may pass on relevant information to other health organisations that provide you with care. All information is treated as strictly confidential and is not given to anyone who does not need it. If you have any concerns please ask your doctor, or the person caring for you.

Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about you. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You.

If you or your carer needs information about your health and wellbeing and about your care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.

5 Great Benefits Of Neck Braces

Ridhi MalhotraFollow Aug 31, 2016 · 3 min read

In a fast paced work environment, the daily commute back and forth to work can take a heavy toll on a person’s physical health. Due to a sedentary lifestyle many middle aged professionals often complain about severe neck pains at the end of a tiresome workday. No matter how many pillows are changed in the ensuing quest for relief, the pain just won’t go away. Alas, if they used a cervical collar things could be different. Very different. A cervical collar, commonly known as a neck brace, is a temporary medical device which supports a person’s neck after an injury by healing the pain and provides comfort and relief to the neck. It is predominantly used by emergency personnel, general physicians and people, especially working professionals who have had neck sprains, strains and traumatic head or neck injuries or other medical conditions. To get the maximum benefit and relief, it is very important to wear a neck brace properly. A good neck brace decreases motion and gives comfort to your neck at the same time. Here are some benefits of using neck braces aka cervical collars.

Relieves Neck Pain

Among the most prevalent health problems in India, one medical condition that often stands out is Neck pain. It is estimated that about 40–60% Indians experience neck pain at least once in their lifetime. Further, as many as one-fourth Indians are reportedly affected every year. Neck pain is a complex and subjective experience for most Indians with variegated musculoskeletal causes. About 90% of all neck pain problems are fostered by chronic strain, stress, and acute or repetitive neck injuries. Under the supervision of a trained doctor, cervical collars can be used for pain management and gaining instant relief. However, if a person is suffering from excessive neck pain, it is advisable they seek consultations from a doctor about wearing a neck brace to be prescribed an individual treatment plan and getting a correct assessment of neck pain.

Traumatic Neck or Head Injuries

A Neck brace or a cervical collar is usually worn after a very aggravated head or neck injury. It massively helps in stabilizing an injured person’s cervical area such as the spinal cord and skull, and also prevents the possibility of further injury. Moreover, a cervical support also acts as a remedy for decreasing the chances of spinal damage, paralysis, or even death!

Helps in Recovery

Cervical Collars are your best bet for fast recovery from a whiplash, traumatic head or neck injury or a spinal surgery. A Cervical collar quickly releases stress off the injured part of the body apart from immobilizing the injured areas. So much so, many doctors advise their patients to effectively wear this device until they are done with the healing process or treatment per se.

Therapeutic Usage and Remedy for Whiplash

As mentioned before, quite frequently in many cases, neck braces are put on to treat various spinal and neck medical conditions such as spinal cord misalignment, whiplash, strains and sprains. Out of these conditions, whiplash is the most common neck problem. The root cause of a whiplash is the infliction of damage unto the spinal tissues. It is an extremely traumatic injury in the cervical spine region caused by hyperflexion, hyperextension, or rotation injury. Apart from exercise and physical therapy for accelerating the recovery process, a doctor often advises the use of a soft cervical collar in conjunction with the aforesaid remedies to treat whiplashes.

Treats Cervical Radiculopathy

Cervical Radiculopathy is another ghastly disease that can be effectively cured by wearing a neck brace. It is a pathological process which involves nerve root that arises from spondylosis, disk herniation or tumor causing the nerve root avulsion. Common symptoms include a burning sensation in the neck, tingling, or even numbness! As is the case, tumors, disc herniation, and other physical traumas can culminate nerve damage that is the root cause of cervical radiculopathy. More and more physicians advise their patients to use cervical collars to successfully treat cervical radiculopathy along with due rest and bouts of light exercises. Anyone under duress can consult a general physician who specializes in spinal health to get accurate evaluation.

Soft Foam Cervical Collar Neck Brace

Soft Cervical Collar For Neck Pain

This cervical collar assists in reducing head and cervical vertebrae movement to help your neck heal properly after an injury and prevent further injury from occurring. It is designed to be low profile and have a non-rigid collar.

The foam cervical collar belt is contoured to fit one’s body. It features a slight contour in the front of the brace so your chin can comfortably be placed in the brace. The 1″ medium firm density foam of the adjustable neck brace provides optimal support without being uncomfortable. The soft, cotton stockinette material that covers the foam neck support adds to its comfort-factor.

This foam neck brace can help with a number of conditions, including:

  • Head or neck injuries
  • Cervical facet syndrome
  • Cervical discogenic pain
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Muscle sprains or strains of cervical region (including whiplash)
  • Chronic neck conditions
  • Rehab after cervical or neck surgery

The cervical collar is available in 4 different sizes, fitting neck circumferences up to 23.5″ and neck height ranging from 2.5″ to 4″. One will want to choose a comfortable size, depending on a desired neck height and the amount of immobilization needed. If smaller sizes are needed, check out the Kids Soft Cervical Collar

The brace is secured with a 4″ contact closure, making it easy to apply and adjust to one’s comfort level. It also means that one does not need to worry about the adjustable neck collar coming unsecured. If you prefer even greater immobilization, check out BraceAbility’s full line of neck braces and neck supports.

Soft Neck Brace for Strain, Disc Disease and After Cervical Surgery

This neck belt for pain is ideal for a number of degenerative conditions as well as injuries to the cervical area. Giving the neck a break is key to allowing healing to take place. In addition, immobilizing the neck following injury is important for preventing further damage.

A neck collar that fits properly is important when it comes to healing and user comfort. The fact that this brace can be adjusted to your own comfort level and is available in four different heights means one should have little trouble ordering a well-fitting foam neck support.

Thus, this cervical neck brace can help with degenerative changes in the neck such as cervical facet syndrome or degenerated disc disease as well as muscle strains or sprains such as the whiplash one might experience in a car accident. It is also comfortable for daily use as well as during the night while sleeping.

Cervical Neck Support

This affordable neck brace is comfortable and effective for treating a number of cervical injuries and conditions. Some of its features that make it so include the following:

  • Anatomically contoured design that provides support
  • Helps to relieve neck pain and stiffness
  • Medium-firm density foam
  • Collar covered with soft cotton stockinette covering for maximum comfort
  • 4″ contact closure makes it easy to apply and adjust as needed
  • Immobilizes and supports the neck and head
  • Helps to treat head or neck injuries such as: cervical facet syndrome, cervical discogenic pain, degenerative disc disease, rehab after neck surgeries, and muscle sprain or strain of neck
  • Comfortable to use day or night
  • Latex-free
  • Discreet beige color
  • Available in sizes S-XL, fitting neck circumferences up to 23.5″

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