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Prehospital Use of Cervical Collars
Oct 06, 2017

cervical collar, also known as a neck brace, is a medical device used to support a person's neck. It is also used by emergency personnel for those who have had traumatic head or neck injuries, and can be used to treat chronic medical conditions.

Cervical (neck) collars are sometimes used to support the neck for a short time. They may be soft and made from felt, foam, or rubber. Or they may be hard and made from plastic. Soft collars allow some movement of the neck. 

There is hard collars and soft collars. Different cervical collars have different functions. There are varying degrees of support provided by different collars. To a degree, all collars support the head. Depending on the type of collar, it can be more for head support, taking the pressure of the skull (about 12 pounds)off of the cervical spine. While the more restrictive and rigid collars generally do this better, head support may be necessary for different reasons.

For hard collars are rigid and are usually made from plastic. They hold the head and neck very still. They are usually only used after major surgery or a serious injury, such as a broken neck. And for soft collars may be made from felt, foam, or rubber. They allow some movement of the head and neck. Soft cervical collars are sometimes used after surgery, but they are of limited value in other neck treatment. Sometimes they can be helpful after a moderate neck injury.

Your typical cervical collar does not provide much support for the cervical spine. It acts more as your reminder that there’s a neck issue to limit the range of motion of the neck and acts to keep the neck warm and the muscles warm. Cervical collars, if used for minor neck pain, muscle pain, and cervical strain, should be used only on a short-term basis, if they’re used at all. It can actually worsen a stiff neck. Oftentimes after surgical procedures, on the other hand, a physician may recommend a cervical collar for a certain duration of time, and this is again more to protect the spine as an aesthetic reminder that you shouldn’t really be moving the neck too much, perhaps after a disc operation or some procedure for the spine. In this case, you need to heed your practitioner’s advice and it could be used for a slightly longer period of time. Also the cervical collar could be used with head immobilizer.

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