Cervical collar which is also called a neck brace is a medical device used in orthopedic cases. It is most commonly used for neck, lower head and spine injuries and to treat chronic medical conditions. It can also be used in emergency cases of neck or upper spine injury to prevent further damage or injuries. Its main function is to maintain the perfect or prescribed neck and head position and to relieve pain of the patient.
Using cervical collar is very helpful because it aids in re-positioning the cervical vertebrae so that it does not face any further problem in the future; however cervical collar only stabilizes the top seven vertebrae, C1 to C7. These collars are made from a range of supplies and materials such as elastic cotton, nylon, molded plastic and foam rubber.
Types of Cervical Collars:
A soft collar or a standard cervical collar is the most commonly used one, made from foam and stockinet. A Velcro strap is in place for support purposes. Commonly patients suffering from soft cervical spine injury or chronic condition are given a soft collar for some days to a month. Slight movement of neck and the head is possible with these collars. The fine quality does not affect the skin, leaving no rash or itchy marks.
This is also a very well known type of cervical collar. Just like the above mentioned soft collar, it is made up of vinyl plastic and also has some small holes for suitable ventilation. The best feature of this collar is that it also has a chin rest with it which is very comfortable. There are foam pads attached and upper and lower sides so the plastic does not bother the patient or be painful.
Philadelphia Cervical Collars:
These collars come in a two piece part. The first part protects the back portion of the neck and the other part is for supporting the front portion. It is made up of Velcro or hard plastic for firm support and some amount of movement. As these collars are made up of hard material, there is nice and soft foam padding which are non allergic and comfortable. While supporting the neck muscles, it takes time to heal the spinal cord and ligaments. It’s the best type of collar for people with cervical issues. In the hospitals, it has space in the middle for emergency tracheotomy procedure.
A Miami-J collar is much like the Philadelphia collar but just has an additional thoracic extension brace for supporting the thoracic spine of the body. Along with the plastic, that allows movement, it also has foam padding internally for comfort and loses for ventilation. Many experts call it just like the Philadelphia brace but with extra comfort.
An Aspen collar is like the Miami-J and Philadelphia one, but the major difference is the padding. It is much softer and is considered more breathable and different than the two. It also has space in the middle for emergency tracheotomy procedure.
There is a different collar for emergencies in paramedic setting which is very hard and sued temporarily for hospital transportation only to keep the head and neck still for further injury protection.