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The cervical collar | what it is, what it is used for and when to use it

The cervical collar | what it is, what it is used for and when to use it

The cervical collar is a medical device used to support and immobilize the cervical spine. It is a rigid or semi-rigid structure that is placed around the neck to limit movement of the head and neck.

Types of cervical collars

There are different types of cervical collars, each with specific characteristics and purposes. The most common are:

  • Soft collar: provides light and comfortable support, and is useful for muscle pain, contractures and stiff neck.
  • Semi-rigid collar: offers greater support and stability, and is indicated for minor trauma, cervical arthritis and after-effects of surgery.
  • Rigid collar: provides maximum immobilization and is used in cases of severe trauma, fractures and spinal cord injuries.

What is the cervical collar used for?

The cervical collar is used for:

  • Immobilize the cervical spine: in case of trauma, fractures or spinal cord injuries, this support is necessary to immobilize the area and prevent further damage.
  • Pain Reduction: Can help reduce pain caused by muscle contractures, cervical arthritis, whiplash and other conditions.
  • Improve posture: It can help improve posture and reduce muscle tension.
  • Promote Healing: After surgery or trauma, the cervical collar can help promote healing and rehabilitation.

When to use the cervical collar

The cervical collar should be used on medical prescription in case of:

  • Trauma: head trauma, whiplash, fractures or spinal cord injuries.
  • Neck pain: cervicoarthrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, muscle contractures, stiff neck.
  • Aftermath of surgery: cervical spine surgery.
  • Other conditions: scoliosis, herniated discs, cervical canal stenosis.

Whatever the reason that leads to the use of this medical device, the post-treatment phase also remains important where good neck support makes the initial treatment more effective over time. In this regard, we recommend a valid cervical pillow for arthritic neck to be used during the night, a moment in which we have no control of our body and the correct posture to maintain is very important. The use of an adequate pillow not only has the purpose of keeping the treatment effective over time, but also has the function of improving posture to avoid inflammation or contractures of the neck in the future.

How to use the cervical collar

This support must be applied correctly to be effective. It is important to follow the instructions of your doctor or physiotherapist when choosing the type of collar and its application.

In general, the standard steps to apply it are:

  1. Wash your hands and dry them thoroughly.
  2. Open the collar and place it around your neck.
  3. Adjust the position of the collar so that it is comfortable and secure.
  4. Close the collar with the appropriate closures.

Contraindications to the use of the cervical collar

Like all medical devices, it is not indicated in all cases. It is important to consult your doctor before using it in case of:

  • Breathing problems: can compress the airways and make breathing difficult.
  • Allergies to collar materials: Some of them are made of materials that can cause allergies.
  • Broken skin: May rub against the skin and cause irritation.

The cervical collar is a medical device useful for treating various conditions affecting the cervical spine. It is important to use it correctly and only on medical prescription.

It is important to know that this article does not replace the advice of your doctor.

It is important to consult your doctor or physical therapist before using the cervical collar.