Even if you are a superman you can injure your neck if you’re not careful. It happened to actor Christopher Reeve who was well known for his superman movies. In 1995 he was thrown off his horse during an equestrian competition and broke his top two cervical vertebrae. He became paralysed. In reality anyone with a traumatic neck injury is at great risk of suffering from a spinal cord injury. Under such a situation a cervical collar, or neck brace, should be used to stabilize the neck until further scans can be taken to ascertain if there is any fracture.
Reasons for using a neck brace
A neck brace is an orthopaedic device to protect your spinal health and should be used after consulting your doctor. The neck brace supports the weight of the head so that the soft tissues in the neck can heal. There are several conditions when a neck brace is required and the following are some of them.
Weak neck muscles
People with weak neck muscles are prone to injury and suffer from neck pain. These injuries could be the result of overstretching because of an unexpected and excessive force that thrust the head forward, backward or sideway. For some people even a slight jerk can tear the neck muscles.
A simple movement of getting out of bed or a chair can give you a pain in the neck.
Traumatic injuries to the neck or head
Under this condition the neck brace lessens the chances of spinal damage and paralysis. The brace stabilizes the first seven vertebrae so that further scans can be conducted to determine if there is any spinal fracture that may cause neck and back pain.
Sport and motor accidents
A whiplash injury caused by the hyperextension (backward) or hyperflexion (forward bending) of the head is common and damage the soft tissues around the cervical spine. In this case a soft neck brace is more suitable.
When a patient is recovering from a spinal surgery after a serious neck injury, a cervical collar is used to support the head until the injury is healed.
This is a disease of the spinal nerve roots caused by disk herniation or tumours. Surgery is one option but the use of a cervical collar in conjunction with physical therapy and exercise can help to treat this condition.
This is a disorder where the neck muscles contract uncontrollably, causing the head to bend or turn in different directions. Jerking of the head may happen sometime and can be painful.
What is the best neck brace to wear?
Neck braces comes in many varieties and configurations, from simple one-piece soft and
flexible wraparound collars to hard braces with pads supported by plastic. Which one is appropriate depends on the severity of your neck injury and the duration to wear the brace and this can only be assessed by your doctor.
The soft neck brace is made from thick foam rubber covered in cotton. It is commonly used for chronic muscle spasm and neck injury to restrict motion. The two-piece rigid neck braces are made from molded plastic and come with a removable padded liner and Velcro tape. This is normally used after a surgery to restrict neck movement and faster recovery. Popular brands include the Miami J and Philadelphia collars.
The neck braces from Neck Solutions are made from advanced materials developed for NASA astronauts. They are designed to increase your comfort by balancing temperature extremes. This is accomplished by absorbing excess energy when the temperature rises and discharge it when the temperature falls.
When choosing a suitable neck brace ensure that it is comfortable and close-fitting so that your head movement is restricted, and your chin does not slide inside or protrude too much. It should rest comfortably around the base of your neck with the padded area touching your skin.
It is advisable to follow your doctor’s instruction on when and how to wear your neck brace properly to get maximum benefit while doing your daily activities. You should not wear it longer than necessary as you may become dependent on it physically and mentally.
The best advice for protecting your neck and body is from Christopher Reeve. He said “If you injure your neck you can injure every organ in your entire body. Don’t wait for the injuries to build up and the neurological disconnect to get to the point that symptoms of dysfunction have begun. Be proactive in life, everyday do what you can to move toward health and strength and away from sickness and weakness.”
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