The cervical spine is formed of seven vertebrae which starts from the bottom of the skull and reaches the top part of the shoulders. There are quite a few nerves that pass through the cervical spine and any damage to this area is capable of crushing the nerves and exerting pressure on them, which can cause permanent damage and disability.
These nerves radiate to the arms, shoulders, thyroid glands, neck, sinus, throat etc. and damage to the nerves can hamper the function of all these areas. This is why it is important to keep the nerves in good shape and use a cervical collar for preventing further damage.
Cervical Collar And Its Types
Several types of cervical collars are available that help in protecting the spine and the nerves. The most common ones are the hot and cold pack collars that are gel filled, metal or plastic collars, foam immobilisation collars and plastic immobilisation collars. These collars are fitted around the neck and fastened using a Velcro. These collars help in keeping the neck and the spine sturdy and straight which is essential for the healing process.
Cervical Collars With Gel
These collars come filled with gel which can be heated or frozen as per requirement. After heating or freezing, they can be fastened on to the neck with the Velcro so that the inflammation, pain and the stiffness of the neck will be immediately relieved. Gel filled collars are very good as the person can go on with his work while he gets the benefit of a hot or cold pack on his neck. If you use a heat pad or a cold pack, you are restricted to a place where you have to remain until the heat pad or cold pack treatment is done.
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Immobilisation Collars In Foam
These collars are mostly used when there is a soft tissue injury like a sprain, whiplash etc. Used for short term treatments where the neck and the head require support, they come in a knitted foam fabric with Velcro fasteners. They are washable and hence good for use. However, these collars are good only for short term use as leaving the neck muscles immobile for a long time can actually harm and weaken the muscles, leading to joint pain.
Immobilisation Collars In Hard Plastic
For patients suffering from fracture of the skull, broken spine etc, hard plastic collars are used. They are also used when there is an accident where the patient has to be shifted safely without causing further damage to the spine. These collars have a chin rest which will help support the weight of the head. These collars come with a big opening in the front for medical assistance without removing the collar.
Plastic And Metal Cervical Collars
These collars are made for supporting the head and the spine of people who have degenerative diseases like multiple sclerosis. In such cases, the muscles of the neck are very weak and are not capable of supporting the weight of the head. The hard plastic and metal tubes are covered in fabric and the collar has long Velcro fasteners on one side. They are made to fit inside the clothes.