Sunday, April 10, 2011

Neck Braces, Rigid Collars, Cervical Orthoses - A Guide on Bracing The C-Spine - Part 2

How do you know when a soft collar is fitting correctly?

This is a very good question because many times these braces are fit incorrectly. A brace, no matter if it is a collar or another type of orthosis (brace), needs to be applied in a "snug" fashion. Well, what does "snug" really mean, right? - Snug, usually means that the brace has been applied in a way that it is comfortable, without gapping, and without a restriction on breathing when it comes to cervical collars. If an orthosis is worn loosely, it will not do a patient any good. Plain and simple.

The cervical spine needs to be supported when weakness or instability is present. A soft collar will help a patient in this manner by supporting the chin and remainder of the mandible (jaw). If a person every dips their chin inward and down, the collar is probably not doing what it is designed for. In addition, if a soft collar has the velcro attachment placed in the front, it is probably not on correctly either. You will always have to allow for the brand that does attach in the front, but typically these collars attach in the back.

Skin Precautions With A Soft Collar

Monitoring your skin with any brace is also very important. In the vast majority of cases, people will not have skin problems, but it is best to be proactive and monitor your skin anyways. The main reasons why people's skin suffers in any brace is that the brace is not kept clean. This is important for people because a patient will probably have to wear a brace for at least a few weeks, so cleanliness of the collar and patient's skin does come into play.

In addition, individuals that are not alert can suffer from skin irritation as well. Or, if someone has a lack of sensation, then redness can develop in conjunction with a brace. Why is this the case? - The patient may not always be alert enough to monitor the way the brace is feeling or their body is not giving them proper feedback. If redness appears, then you need to contact your brace provider for a possible adjustment on the collar.

Note: This is health information. If you want medical advice on bracing, it is best to speak with a local, licensed orthotist. This is good information, but it is best to see someone locally for your particular bracing needs.

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