As per the recent report published in the daily fitness magazine, doctors from all over the world are today witnessing a steady stream of neck sprain patients.
Neck straining or cervical neck sprain being one of the most common complaints among people of all age groups, and this is an important concern for the doctors.
The cervical neck sprain may be the cause of several other health problems. Depending upon the pain severity it can be a condition which is very much painful and unbearable for the patient.
In some of the cases there is a continuous irritation and neck ache felt that stops you working normally. Chances are there that the problem gets severe and may temporarily disable you from performing your day to day activities too.
There is a huge misunderstanding prevailing about taking the neck sprain and the neck strain as a same thing. However, It is not.
A neck strain is a muscle injury or a pulled muscle. Whereas a neck sprain is an injury happened to your neck ligament. These kind of injuries are majorly seen in sports persons and athletes.
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How Injury Happens and Who Is At Major Risk?
Football players, wrestlers, hockey and rugby players are exposed to this cervical neck sprain the most. Professionals who are constantly sitting in one position without any neck support also impose the risk of developing a neck sprain.
The cervical neck sprain is also closely related to the lifestyle we lead. For instance, sitting before the laptop/computer constantly, cradling the cell phone between the shoulder and ear, continuously sitting on a chair that has no neck support, etc are some of the major reasons behind developing a cervical neck sprain. The major symptoms of cervical neck sprain include:
- Continuous neck ache
- Muscle spasms or pain in the shoulders
- Pain in the back of the neck that increases while moving
There can be various other reasons behind the common injury in cervical spine like heavy weight bearing, sudden drop down, car accident and many more. In any case, cervical neck sprain needs the best treatment and time to heal. And during the treatment period patients are asked to wear neck brace that takes appropriate care of the neck naturally.
Benefits of Using Neck Brace and Cervical Collar
The most common reason to wear neck brace is to relieve pain in the neck region. As it provides additional support to the weight of the head (by providing limited mobility to the head), it helps in healing the conditions faster.
For treating a cervical neck sprain your doctor may recommend wearing neck braces or cervical collars. Of course there are other treatments and medication involved, but using the best brace for neck is a most natural risk free way of treating the pain without the use of medications (which often times may show certain side effects and complexities).
1- Acts as a First Aid for Traumatic Neck or Head Injuries
Patients who are seeking immediate help due to severe injuries or problems (along with ongoing treatment) can get the relief by wearing these neck braces.
For sports person, if there has been an accident, a neck brace (specially meant for sports persons) is put as a precautionary measure until the possible neck or head injuries are evaluated and the treatment is given. It helps stabilize the cervical area such as skull and spinal cord and also protects the area from further injury.
It should be noted that there are two types of neck braces available which are: hard neck brace and soft neck brace. Hard braces are often used when there is an immediate help required so as to immobilize the injured part. Whereas soft braces are used for conditions such as neck pain, sprain, stiffness, etc.
2- Helps in Relieving Conditions Such As Cervical Radiculopathy, Arthritis, Disc Problems
Cervical Radiculopathy is a terrible condition that involves nerve root developed from disk herniation, spondylosis or tumor, which causes nerve root avulsion. Symptoms include numbness, tingling or a burning sensation in the neck. Other medical conditional like disc herniation, tumors and other traumas can end up in nerve damage, which may also cause cervical radiculopathy.
Many physicians recommend a cervical collar along with good rest and light exercises for their patients to successfully treat cervical radiculopathy. If you are suffering from such a threat, consult your physician who are specialized in spinal health to get good evaluation. In addition to this using brace can also help in relieving the conditions such as neck arthritis, disc regeneration, disc herniation, etc.
3- Provides Faster Recovery after Surgery
A neck brace is also required for the patients after the neck surgery to keep the neck bone in the line while you heal. Cervical collars are thus recommended for faster recovery from conditions such as whiplash or a spinal surgery.
The thing you need to care is- you do not wear these braces too tight as it may increase the pressure on your neck which can prove much dangerous. You just need to choose the right size as per your neck size.
Also it is important that you do not wear them for too long without the advice of your doctor. As wearing these devices for longer duration can restrict your neck and shoulder movement it can cause further health problems. In case if you need to wear them for long, it is best to choose the soft cervical collar or brace which allows limited movements to your neck.
Also Check: Best Cervical Collars for Cervical Neck Sprain
How To Wear And Use Your Cervical Collar?
Cervical collars may range from simple soft collars to hard rigid plastic collars. And irrespective of what is recommended for the neck pain or cervical spondylosis, it is essential that the procedure of putting them on should be known for getting maximum relief.
In general there are some basic guidelines to be followed by all, no matter what type of brace is recommended to you by your doctor. Let us know them here:
- Stand straight or sit on a chair comfortably in an erect position. Now look straight keeping your chin parallel to the floor.
- Place your soft cervical collar snugly around your neck. It should be fitted closely so that you cannot move your neck or head freely. (Take the help of anyone if needed)
- Now close down the fasteners or Velcro straps provided at the back of your soft collar, making sure that you can breathe comfortably.
- In case you are using a rigid collar with plastic support, make sure that the lower part of the brace rest comfortably against your body.
Things To Care While Putting On Your Cervical Collar
After putting on your neck collar if you feel it too tight, remove it immediately and try putting it on again to make it more comfortable.
- Try adding a cotton padding between your skin and collar, especially if you feel that the brace is irritating your skin.
- In case you have long hair, do not forget to place your hairs outside the brace.
- Keep your skin (under the brace) clean and dry. Ensure that there is no skin irritation when you remove the brace for a short time each day.
- Keep your brace equally clean and hygienic. Soft collars should be cleaned everyday with mild soap or plain water while rigid neck brace with plastic supports can be cleaned once in a week. Do not ever use any harsh detergents for cleaning.
- Do not forget to ask your doctor about how long you need to wear your neck collar. Also confirm about how often you can remove it off in case when you feel your pain easing down.
Also Read: Best Neck Brace for Sleeping Pain Free
Are There Any Side Effects Seen?
For How Long Should I Wear A Neck Brace?
Although best neck collars and braces are used for controlling or stopping the cervical pain it can show few side effects if not used properly. This basically happens when the brace is worn for longer duration without the consultation of a doctor.
It is therefore to be noted that if you want to use the brace for more than two weeks you should strictly consult your physician before doing so. The possible side effects or conditions associated with using the neck collar are:
- Getting uncomfortable after few days
- Tightness in neck
- Weakness of muscles
- Shortening of the neck musculature
- Soft tissue contractions
- Thickening of subscapular tissues
As seen above, wearing cervical braces offers range of benefits for health and pain when used correctly for limited duration of time. The best thing about using these light weight braces is you can wear them to office or while outing with your family.
These Neck braces are available in different types, designs, sizes and prices. One can choose from rigid braces with pads supported by the plastic to soft wraparound to simple one piece.
Depending upon the severity of the neck sprain, the doctor recommend the appropriate type. No matter which type of the neck brace is prescribed, it has to be worn for majority of time for getting healed your neck pain fast.
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