Learning About Hard Cervical Collars

What is a hard cervical collar?

A hard cervical collar supports your neck and limits your neck movement. This protects your spine.

A hard collar works better than a soft one to limit your neck movement.

What is it used for?

A hard cervical collar is used for spine problems or injuries. It limits forward and backward movement more than a soft one does.

Hard collars are usually only used after major surgery or a serious injury, such as a broken neck.

You may get a hard cervical collar after you have used a halo brace. A halo brace attaches to your head. It provides very stiff support of your neck.

How do you wear a cervical collar?

A hard cervical collar fits from your chin to your breastbone (sternum). It extends from the base of your head down to the top of your back. Sometimes, the top of the collar fits tightly around the lower jaw.

Your doctor can make sure that your cervical collar is the right size and fit. This will provide the best support for your spine.

Some types of cervical braces cover more of your body. These braces limit your neck movement even more.

It's important to wear your neck brace or collar correctly. Wear it for as long as your doctor tells you.

What problems can happen from using a hard cervical collar?

Problems from using your collar can usually be treated by your doctor. They include:

  • Skin sores from pressure or moisture.
  • Trouble with balance and seeing where you are walking.
  • Weakness in your neck muscles.
  • Problems swallowing and eating.

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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