When to wear a neck brace and how to care for it

Myofascial Neck Pain and Headache D...
Myofascial Neck Pain and Headache Discussion and Treatment - 72822, 8.54 AM

You have never worn a neck brace before and wondering when you should wear one? See reasons for wearing neck braces here. Pro-tip: it is more a functional device, not an anesthetic.

Neck braces (also called cervical collars) are commonly used in cases of neck injuries, such as whiplash. Whiplash is a soft tissue injury to the neck, and it is more commonly called a neck sprain. Car accidents, where the head is thrown forward suddenly, straining the muscles in the neck, are significant causes of this injury. Although, it is not the only one. 

After a serious car accident, victims are often placed in a neck brace for precautionary measures if the patient has injured their neck. After undergoing spinal neck surgery, you may need a neck brace to keep your neck bone in line while you heal.

While under hospital care, you will likely get aid in putting on neck braces and changing them. However, you’ll eventually get discharged. To properly wear your neck brace, pay close attention to your doctor’s daily use and care instructions. The most common reasons for a neck brace are to relieve pain and support your neck and spinal cord, limiting movement.

Of course, not everyone wearing them has had an injury or surgery. Some use it while traveling long distances (be it by plane, bus, or train) to support their neck while seated. Others may use it during exercising or yoga to prevent neck injury. If you own one, see how to take care of it to last you longer.

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How to take care of a neck brace (cervical collars)

  • Clean the front and back panel of the brace and replace the soiled pads with clean ones. While doing this, ensure that you look carefully at the shape of the old pads so that you can position the clean pads properly.
  • Wash the pads with mild facial soap and water, don’t use bleach or harsh detergents.
  • Thoroughly rinse the pads with clean water and wring out the excess water — you can squeeze them in a towel.
  • Lay the pads out flat to air dry — typically, it should take less than 60 minute to do this.
  • Then, wipe the plastic brace shell clean with mild soap and water.

Warning: Don’t use washing machine or dryer for your brace and pads.

If for whatever reason, you feel like you require a neck brace for regular day-to-day activities, it will be wise to consult a doctor first to understand the condition better. Don’t self prescribe because unduly wearing neck braces for prolonged period can cause harm. One well-known side effect is weakened and stiffened neck muscles, according to Healthline.

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