A soft cervical collar is a medical device used to support the neck after an injury or for a medical condition. It is important to know how to properly put on a soft cervical collar to ensure that it is providing the necessary support, without causing any further damage. In this article, we will discuss the steps involved in putting on a soft cervical collar, along with some tips to make the process more comfortable.
Before we begin, it is essential to discuss the types of cervical collars available and what they are used for. A soft cervical collar, also known as a neck brace or cervical orthosis, is typically used for minor neck injuries or as a precautionary measure after surgery. It provides support to the neck muscles, allowing them to rest and heal without overexertion. A hard cervical collar, also called a halo brace, is used in severe neck injuries and immobilizes the neck entirely.
Step-by-step guide for putting on a soft cervical collar
Here are the steps to follow when putting on a soft cervical collar:
Step 1: Measure your neck
The first step is to measure your neck’s circumference to ensure you get the right size collar. Use a tape measure to measure the distance around the base of your neck, where the collar will sit. The collar should be a snug but not a tight fit.
Step 2: Position the collar correctly
Hold the collar with both hands and position it at the back of your neck, with the rounded part in contact with the nape of your neck, and the front part positioned over your sternum.
Step 3: Fasten the collar
Fasten the collar by pulling the ends together around your neck and securing them with the Velcro or hook and loop fasteners attached to the collar. Ensure that the collar is neither too tight nor too loose. It should fit snugly, without impeding your breathing or causing any discomfort.
Step 4: Adjust the collar
Adjust the collar by gently pulling or pushing the front and back parts of the collar to align them with your neck’s contour. Ensure the collar is not creating any pressure points or rubbing against your skin.
Step 5: Check the fit and comfort
Check the fit and comfort of the collar by gently moving your neck from side to side and up and down. Make sure the collar is not too tight or too loose and does not restrict your movement or breathing. You should be able to breathe normally and speak without any discomfort.
Tips for wearing a soft cervical collar
Here are some tips to make wearing a soft cervical collar more comfortable:
Tip 1: Wear a thin undershirt
If you find the collar uncomfortable or it causes skin irritation, try wearing a thin undershirt underneath it. This will help reduce skin irritation and make the brace more comfortable to wear.
Tip 2: Avoid wearing the collar for extended periods
While it may be tempting to wear the cervical collar for extended periods, try to avoid doing so. Prolonged use can cause muscle weakness, skin irritation, and stiffness in the neck. It is best to remove the collar for a few hours each day to allow your neck muscles to work and prevent stiffness.
Tip 3: Do not sleep with the collar on
Avoid sleeping with the cervical collar on. Sleeping with the collar on can cause further neck strain, leading to muscle weakness, stiffness, and headaches. Always remove the collar before going to bed.
Tip 4: Speak to your doctor if you experience discomfort
If you experience discomfort or severe pain while wearing a soft cervical collar, speak to your doctor. They may need to adjust the collar’s fit or provide additional treatment to relieve your symptoms.
What not to do when wearing a soft cervical collar?
Here are some things you should avoid when wearing a cervical collar:
Avoid tilting your head forward
Do not tilt your head forward or look down while wearing the cervical collar, as this can cause additional strain on your neck muscles and potentially worsen your condition.
Avoid lifting heavy objects
Avoid lifting heavy objects while wearing a cervical collar. Lifting heavy objects can cause neck strain and further damage to the neck muscles.
Avoid sudden movements
Do not make quick or sudden neck movements while wearing the collar. Sudden movements can cause additional strain on the neck muscles and potentially worsen your condition.
Q: How long should I wear a cervical collar?
A: The duration of cervical collar use depends on the severity of your injury or condition. Follow your doctor’s instructions for duration and frequency of collar use.
Q: Can I drive while wearing a cervical collar?
A: It is typically safe to drive while wearing a cervical collar, but it is best to check with your doctor. Ensure that the collar does not impede your movement or restrict your vision.
Q: Can I shower with a cervical collar?
A: You can remove the cervical collar before showering or bathing. If you need to wear the collar to maintain support, cover it with plastic wrap to keep it dry.
Putting on a soft cervical collar can be simple and straightforward if you follow the steps outlined in this article. It is essential to wear the right size collar and ensure a comfortable and snug fit. Remember to follow your doctor’s instructions regarding the duration and frequency of collar use, and avoid making sudden neck movements or lifting heavy objects while wearing the collar.