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The Different Kinds of Neck Braces:  What are They and What do They Do?

Before you get a neck brace, it is important to know what your options are.  You must have knowledge of the types of neck collars available in the medical market. If you suffer from neck pain, you need something that will help properly support your neck. There are four different types that you can select from.

  • Rigid neck collars are soft because of the padding but only on the inside but the plastic on the outside is rigid. These are at a higher level than soft collars and are prescribed to patients after surgical procedures or after a traumatic experience. The plastic frame measures 1/8 inch thickness.
  • Semi-rigid collars for the neck are padded just like the rigid neck brace and are comfortable to wear.  They have semi rigid thermoplastic on the outside and can limit mobility of the neck area but support your chin as well as head. They are easy to use and also remove when not needed or when they should not be used.
  • Soft collars are used by those who need a small amount of support and to keep the neck and head still to prevent injury. This type of neck collar is recommended for individuals who have had minor surgery to fix cervical problems. It is made of foam which gives it a soft texture. When you use one, make sure it fits around the neck as snug as possible without harming your ability to breathe.
  • A CTO neck support is used to prevent movement of the upper back and spine as well as the neck area. Cervical Thoracic Orthosis provides more support than a rigid neck collar.  You must obtain a physicians advice before purchasing this type of brace because there are various styles to serve different purposes.
  • Halo neck support devices are used by those who have serious injuries to the neck such as a cervical fracture. Doctors who specialize in orthotics also recommend them to those who have undergone spinal surgery. The orthotist will put this on a patient and also remove it.  The patient should never attempt to remove a halo neck brace on his or her own. It is not removed until the spine has healed completely.
  • Philadelphia neck collars are very stiff and are attached using the Velcro that it has on each side. This must be used around the clock and should stay on until you are instructed to do so. Orthotists recommend this type for those who have upper spine fractures or for cervical surgery patients.
  • SOMI neck braces are used to align the spine and the neck to fix damage done to the neck. This is a very rigid neck brace that stops a person’s head from moving.  Movement such as twisting or bending your neck is prohibited. It helps the upper chest area heal and prevent movement that can cause injuries.

There are many types of cervical collars to choose from and the choice you make will depend on the purpose.  The cause should also be considered along with other factors to make an educated choice.

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