The Complete Guide on How to Wear a Neck Brace

The Complete Guide on How to Wear a Neck Brace

The Complete Guide on How to Wear a Neck Brace

Are you experiencing frequent neck strains? Have your doctor or physiotherapist suggested a neck support collar to alleviate neck pain and stimulate weakened muscles?  Choosing the correct neck brace crucial for experiencing the maximum benefits and enjoying optimum outcomes. So how do you choose the perfect brace for your requirements? We're here to help you with that. In this article, we'll discuss various factors about neck brace for posture support so that you can make the correct purchase. Let's get started!  

Types Of Neck Support Collar

The first and the most crucial thing you should know is the types when you buy neck support collar. There are various types of neck collars intended for different applications.   

Rigid Braces

These are the neck braces you see on medical dramas when an accident victim is rushed into the emergency room. Rigid braces are designed with moulded plastic. The font and back piece consists of a removable padded liner that can be fastened with Velcro.   Rigid braces are recommended when you need to completely restrict your neck movement while recovering from a spine trauma or surgery (e.g., fusion).   

Soft Braces

These are the conventional bulky neck support collar for posture support and neck strain recovery. Typically soft neck support collars are designed with thick foam rubber wrapped in cotton. While these cervical collars allow greater movement, they can be bulky and sometimes uncomfortable for longer wear.   

Semi-Rigid Braces

If you think a neck brace can only have a bulky, constrictive design to support your neck, you need to take a hard look at semi-rigid braces. Most semi-rigid braces are designed with a nylon structure and soft padding for optimum support and comfort.  The sleek, discreet designs help you to wear them comfortably over longer periods anywhere and everywhere. You can even conceal them under your shirt.   

How Long Should You Wear Neck Braces?

It is recommended you wear your neck brace for posture support for a few hours every day, especially when you're working in front of a digital screen (laptop/desktop) or when you experience the maximum neck strain. Using the neck support collar continuously over several weeks will help you achieve your correct posture. However, never wear your neck braces while taking a bath or sleeping.  Avoid steps and curbs until you get accustomed to the wearing of the neck collar. Also, refrain from wearing the cervical collar while driving or travelling.   

What Elements To Consider While Buying A Neck Support Collar

  Give special attention to the following factors, as they determine how effective your therapy is going to be:  
  • Size of your cervical support- Most manufacturers offer S, M and L sizes for neck braces. Ensure to follow the manufacturer size guide to select the correct size for you. 
  • Ease of wearing- If your neck collar isn't easy to wear and remove, you might tend to skip wearing it altogether. Studies suggest that people discontinue wearing their neck collars when they need to depend on someone else for wearing it. 
  • Comfort and discreet- Another primary reason for discontinuation of neck support collar is discomfort while wearing. Ensure your neck collar has a design that allows maximum air circulation, uses a less restrictive design while providing maximum support. 

Here are the Expert Views on How to Wear a Neck Brace

1. Keith Mint | Founder of Minted Empire says,

Make sure your neck brace is snug but not too tight. If the neck brace isn't snug enough, it won't give you the support you need, which could lead to more pain or damage. It could brush against your skin and create discomfort or blisters if it's too loose.  

2. Arantxa Leon | Editor at Sleepopolis says,

Since I had a cervical fusion and a posterior cervical laminectomy about 3 weeks ago. I have to wear a neck brace for about 3 months until my vertebrates are fully fused. As per your question, there are different ways you can wear your neck brace. It all depends on the type of procedure the person had done if any. Your doctor will give you specific details on how to wear it. For example, I must wear my neck brace loose since I have to allow my neck to have natural movements. 

I am a 26-year-old CrossFitter who has a pretty active lifestyle, so my doctor wants me to regain most of my neck mobility. Some doctors, depending on your case, don't allow much movement until the area is healed but in my case my doctor wants me to move my neck naturally. My doctor even told me to move my neck in an up and down and side to side motion the day after my surgery.

It is complicated sleeping with a neck brace, but I've found that tightening the brace more than how you usually wear it can't be helpful. By tightening the neck brace, it helps to reduce the movements up or down and it allows for a better night's rest. I also make sure to take a bath before going to bed and drink a sleeping tea that helps me relax even more. I had to work on my sleeping hygiene to help myself sleep better with the brace. I also got a better mattress, made sure everything was quiet and dark around my room.

The neck brace is going to be there for a while so I figured if I have a good sleeping routine, I should be able to sleep fine no matter what. Or at least I like to believe that. You also ask if it helps to prevent neck pain, I will say it does, since it helps you protect how you sleep. For example, I like to sleep on my stomach so wearing the neck brace it helps me remember not to sleep on my stomach helping to reduce or even prevent pain.

To be honest I don't think there is a perfect way to wear a neck brace, since it all depends on the reasoning behind it's being worn. I would highly advise talking to your doctor about your lifestyle and how he recommends wearing it. 

 

3. Alina Clark | Co-founder of Cocodoc says,

Whether a neck brace is one piece, two pieces, or worn with an accompanying vest, the fit needs to be snug enough to offer the necessary support. Your neck isn’t able to move. The soft padding is against your skin. Your chin does not slip inside the brace. You can as long as you are comfortable. A neck brace supports the head's weight after a neck injury, keeping the weight off the neck bones and muscles while healing occurs. Depending on the brace, not all neck movement is prevented. A soft foam collar is sometimes used after whiplash-type injuries, which allows head nodding, etc., but unloads the damaged neck muscles. For more severe or unknown degrees of injury, a rigid collar is used, such as the ones placed on victims on the bodyboard after accidents. These eliminate all neck movement and keep the bones steady until scanning can be done.  

4. David Skates | Founder of Skates says,

The neck brace protects the neck post-surgery or an accident and provides it with the support it needs. It does limit the liberty of movement, but that is only till the neck can focus on healing and get back to normal; without aid, it will only get worse. Wearing a neck brace will significantly assist the neck and heal quicker. Choosing the right size and wearing it until one feels pain-free without it is necessary.  Place the brace's back piece in the center of the neck. Link the back straps to the front brace piece gently while fastening one strap at a time until the brace is back in place and convenient against the neck. Wear the brace for the period prescribed by the doctor. If the doctor has advised to keep it on the entire time, then do as instructed, else one can remove it during sleep.   

5. Scott Kilmer | Founder of Car WindShields says,

A neck brace only has one way to be worn. The brace is meant to be comfortable enough to get in your way without causing any more physical pain. How about emotional pain? Certainly. There is frustration that might come with lugging it around but that's okay. The soft padding at the bottom should be the only part touching your skin with the rest of the brace resting on the pad. On the top, your chin should rest easily on the brace and shouldn't rub on it. There are different types of braces. There are a few that cannot be included in your pajamas. Seek medical advice from your doctor.    

Final Word

While neck support collars are excellent for supporting your cervical structures and promoting good posture, it is recommended to also perform certain exercises and stretches to activate neck muscles. With increasing strength, your neck muscles can support the weight of your head, and your postural aches will reduce drastically.  You'll start experiencing a flexible and pain-free cervical spine sooner. Discuss with your physiotherapist or doctor before starting a new exercise routine.