In case you have been suffering from pain in the neck, you might be well aware of the importance of a neck brace!
A neck brace can come in handy when you need to give your neck complete rest. Especially at the time while you are sleeping, your neck needs to stay firm so as to ensure a faster recovery.
But can you really wear a neck brace while sleeping? Is it safe?
Well, to be on the safe side, it’s recommended not to wear your brace during bedtime.
This means you should only consider wearing the cervical brace whenever you are out of bed.
There may be certain exceptions to this when you need to wear your neck brace while sleeping. And it should only be done when you are told to do so by your health care provider.
Otherwise, when going to sleep, laying down on a sofa, or bathing, you should generally take your neck brace off.
As such, there can be many reasons why you need to wear a neck brace while sleeping.
Some of the common reasons include neck injury or conditions like arthritis, pain due to continuously working on computers, and improper alignment of the body posture.
Page Contents (Quick View)
- What is a Cervical Collar?
- Different Types of Cervical Collar
- The 5 Best Neck Braces for Sleeping
- How To Sleep With A Neck Brace?
- Benefits of Wearing Cervical Collar
- How To Wear And Use Cervical Collar When Not On Bed?
What is a Cervical Collar?
A cervical collar or a neck brace is a medical device that is used to provide support to a person’s neck.
These are generally a type of soft brace that is used by people who have had traumatic head or neck injuries.
These are also recommended to those seeking chronic neck pain relief while sleeping.
Wearing a soft neck brace for sleeping work towards providing you with the following benefits:
- Maintain balance and comfort
- Help reduce the discomfort caused due to arthritis
- Prevent muscle spasms or any other kind of damage to muscles
- Reduce tension in painful muscles and provide you with proper sleep
- Hinders any kind of movement that might cause tension in your neck
Different Types of Cervical Collar
Cervical collars are classified differently depending upon the type and hardness of the material used.
In simple terms, these are grouped into soft and rigid types.
Some of them also are a combination of both and can be groped differently according to the features, shape, and design.
Let’s have a look at some of the major types of cervical collars and wraps them here in detail.
1- Soft Collar (Standard Cervical Collar):
The chief materials used to make a soft collar or standard cervical collars are foam and stockinet.
The velcro strap is essential and is provided in this kind of neck brace to provide support.
Patients who are suffering from mild cervical spine injury are prescribed to use a soft neck collar for some days.
The patient can move their head and neck slightly by wearing this type of neck brace.
It is available cheap, and people don’t face any trouble using this as it is completely washable and allows proper skin respiration to avoid the risk of itching and irritation.
2- Philadelphia Cervical Collar:
Philadelphia collar is generally a two-piece rigid neck collar. One part is used to protect the back portion of the neck, and another one is for supporting the front portion.
Velcro is used from left to right to provide sufficient support and convenience for attachment and removal.
Most of the Philadelphia collars are made up of hard plastic. However, some of these hard cervical collar types are also made with comfortable, resilient, and non-allergenic foam.
It supports the neck muscles completely, and a chin rest is provided for extra comfort. It also has a hole in the middle, which is provided for the purpose of tracheostomy. Based on the problem of the patient this can be used or left unused just for ventilation.
Overall it provides the spinal cord and ligaments an adequate time for healing and is one of the best types of neck cervical collars for treating cervical pain problems.
3- Miami-J Cervical Collar:
Miami-J collar is just like a Philadelphia collar, with the only difference being that it may be provided with an additional thoracic extension brace.
This extension is provided for supporting and protecting the thoracic spine. Similar to the Philadelphia collar, it is composed of front and back parts and also has a hole for the purpose of tracheostomy.
This collar is provided with protective inner padding, which helps in preventing the issues caused due to prolonged usage of the collar.
Overall this collar can be called an advanced Philadelphia collar which is designed for providing extra comfort to the patients.
4- Aspen Cervical Collar:
Aspen collar is much similar to Philadelphia and Miami-J collar types, with the only difference being the padding material used.
This inner padding material used inside the rigid collar is made much more breathable than as compared to the other two types of cervical collars.
Just like Philadelphia cervical collars, this also consists of a hole for the purpose of tracheostomy.
5- Thomas-Type Cervical Collar:
Besides the above most common cervical collar types, the Thomas-Type collar is also available in the market for patients, which is less common.
Similar to the soft collar, this collar is made up of vinyl plastic material which has many small holes for proper ventilation.
Foam padding is provided on the upper and lower sides of the braces, and a chin rest can be provided for providing extra comfort to the user.
All these types of neck braces and cervical collar types are meant to provide the best comfort and support to your neck and spine.
Choosing the best type of cervical collar is, however important for you so that you get the maximum benefit out of it.
If you are not very sure about choosing the right type, do visit your doctor. And based on your problem your doctor will recommend the type of cervical collar which will be best suited for you.
The 5 Best Neck Braces for Sleeping
Usually, the size of a neck brace is entirely dependent on the physical features of an individual.
Hence, it is really important for you to buy the best neck braces for sleeping that are ideal for your body type.
The ideal way to measure the size of neck brace sleeping that will suit you is to measure from the top of the cellar bone traveling down to your collar bone.
You need to ensure that you are looking straight while measuring. This will ultimately help you to select the best neck brace for you that needs to be used while sleeping.
Also, you need to carefully consider the cleaning techniques when it comes to buying a neck brace.
It is recommended to buy a neck brace for sleeping support that offers easier cleaning method.
Check the usage guidelines and washing recommendations before fixing a particular neck brace. Some of the popular soft neck braces for sleeping are as follows:
1- Vive Neck Brace
Vive neck brace helps in getting relief from neck pain together with pain in the shoulders and back. As it’s a soft neck collar brace, you can use it anytime, even while sleeping.
If you are in need of a neck brace Vive neck brace is good for faster healing of neck injuries like herniated disc, spondylitis, etc, then also this is the right brace for you.
The design is compact and ultra-modern, making it your best travel partner. Also, the foam-filled inside the neck brace provides you with a comforting feel always.
The inner layer is moisture absorbent allowing your neck to stay clean and healthy while eliminating the accumulation of sweat.
2- NMT Neck Brace
This comfortable-to-wear cervical brace is made of soft foam material, which is easy to wear while traveling or while sleeping.
Additionally, this brace also helps by correcting the stiff neck muscles and thereby improving your posture by offering great therapeutic neck traction.
The NMT neck brace is one great product for your neck support that allows you to take proper care of your neck even while you are traveling.
3- Caldera Neck Rest
The brand new ultimate Caldera relief neck rest is one of the best neck braces for sleeping time. It is available in Regular and Large sizes so that you can choose the one that suits your needs best.
The best part of Caldera Relief Neck rest is that you can wear it comfortably while you are sleeping, and it helps to gain complete control over the neck while you are on the bed.
It is designed and manufactured using polyurethane foam. The product is lightweight and portable, making it easier to carry while traveling. Thus if you are searching for a good neck brace for sleeping on a plane, this is a brace you can go with.
This sleeping neck brace by Caldera is adjustable and helps to relieve tension from the neck and shoulder at ease.
Large-sized design is focused on providing comfort to people who require relatively large-sized neck braces. Just like any other Caldera model, this model is also manufactured by sticking to standards of quality.
The product is light and enables you to adjust the brace according to your requirements.
The brace can be worn all night and even during the daytime making it the best choice when you need to reduce tensions on the neck and shoulder.
4- Velpeau Neck Brace
A soft and adjustable cervical protector collar for neck pain by Velpeau is probably one great option for people who want to realign their spine to get proper head support.
This is also among the best neck brace sleeping support in case you have been through injuries such as herniated disc or any other ailments on the vertebrae.
In fact, sleeping with a neck brace like this is always pleasing for those who suffer from neck pain problems.
The best benefit of buying a Velpeau sleeping neck brace is that it comes with a 100% money-back guarantee. You will simply love this brace, or if you are not satisfied, you will get your money back.
5- OTC Cervical Collar
OTC soft foam cervical collar brace is the most sought-after brand of neck brace when you need immediate care for your neck.
In case you have been through any kind of cervical injury, then OTC soft foam cervical collar is your best choice.
Also, this is a recommended solution if your neck injury is severe and needs immediate care. This neck brace is suitable for people who have a neck length of almost 17.5 inches.
This specially designed OTC cervical collar brace is comfortable to be worn while you are asleep. It offers you the best relaxation and comfort without disrupting your sleep due to the paining neck.
All the above-mentioned neck braces offer you great sleeping support and are thus the best options for you if you want a cervical brace for sleeping. These are easy to clean, and you do not need to put in any extra effort for their maintenance.
However, care that you learn and follow proper techniques & safety tips to ensure that you sleep comfortably while wearing the brace on your neck.
How To Sleep With A Neck Brace?
For many people who use a neck brace, it’s not an easy task to sleep wearing a neck brace.
Removing the neck brace before sleeping will cause the injury to become severe, and you cannot actually risk it
It’s, therefore, necessary that you learn about how to sleep with a neck brace on.
You can follow some of these tips to sleep safely with a neck brace.
1- Do not sleep on your side:
Sleeping on your side or on your stomach can affect the configuration of your brace and can cause disturbance while resting.
It is hence better to sleep on your back while avoiding any other positions when you are wearing a neck belt or a brace.
2- Put a pillow under your shoulders:
Try to extend your neck a little bit and put a soft pillow under your shoulders before you sleep.
This is done in order to align the neck with the back.
3- Use a recliner chair:
If you feel uncomfortable while sleeping in bed, take a zero gravity recliner chair and sleep on it. Make sure the chair reclines to 45 degrees and has plush cushions.
It may seem difficult to sleep in a chair but it will help you to avoid turnings which will result in fast recovery and less pain.
4- Ask for help or consult your doctor:
If it starts becoming difficult to get up wearing a neck brace, ask for help.
You can call out your nurse or any other family member to assist you while you get up. Don’t try it by yourself if you don’t feel like it.
If you feel difficulty sleeping, ask your doctor to adjust or change the neck brace. Don’t try to remove or clean it by yourself. Take help from a nurse or home attendant.
In most cases, neck braces are also recommended for people who sit continuously in front of the computer. At times when you do not maintain the proper sitting posture, it causes tension in your neck.
And in such cases, you can wear an appropriate neck brace at night while sleeping, which helps a lot in giving proper rest and comfortable sleep.
Benefits of Wearing Cervical Collar
Of course, there are other treatments and medications involved, but using the best brace for the neck is a natural and risk-free way of treating the pain without the use of medications.
Some of the advantages of using a cervical collar while sleeping is:
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 relief by wearing these neck braces.
For the sportsperson, if there has been an accident, a neck brace is recommended as a precautionary measure until the possible neck or head injuries are evaluated, and treatment is given.
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.
Stabilizing the cervical area, such as the skull and spinal cord, also protects the area from getting a further injury.
It should be noted that there are two types of neck braces available for sleeping. These are hard neck braces and soft neck braces.
Hard braces are often used when there is 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 Conditions Like Sleep Apnea and Other Sleep Disorders:
Although using a cervical collar for sleep apnea alone is not a relief for sufferers, it helps them greatly to get sound sleep without any obstructions.
Sleep apnea is generally a disorder in which the breathing of the sleeping person repeatedly stops and starts. Patients who snore loudly or feel tired even after getting a full night’s sleep might be suffering from this problem.
Using a neck brace can actually help in decreasing the instances of mouth opening while sleeping. A brace can act just like a contour pillow and can help keep your head in a somewhat extended state while sleeping. This helps in keeping your airways open.
While using a neck brace for relieving sleep apnea, you should note that it may or may not work for you since its efficacy may depend on other conditions, too, like your sleeping position, weather conditions, the food you ate, the stuffiness of your nose, 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 they heal.
Cervical collars are thus recommended for faster recovery from conditions such as whiplash or spinal surgery.
The thing you need to care about is – you do not wear these sleeping neck braces too tight as it may increase the pressure on your neck, which can prove much more 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 a longer duration can restrict your neck and shoulder movement, it can cause further health problems.
In case 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.
4- Helps in Conditions Such As Cervical Radiculopathy, Arthritis, and Disc Problems:
Cervical Radiculopathy is a terrible condition that involves nerve roots 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 conditions 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 is specialized in spinal health, to get a good evaluation.
In addition to this, using a brace can also help in relieving conditions such as neck arthritis, disc degeneration, disc herniation, etc.
How To Wear And Use Cervical Collar When Not On Bed?
Cervical collars may range from simple soft collars to hard rigid plastic collars.
And irrespective of what is recommended for 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 rests comfortably against your body.
For How Long Should I Wear A Neck Brace?
Although best neck collars and braces are used for controlling or stopping cervical pain, they can show few side effects if not used properly.
This basically happens when the brace is worn for a 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 for sleeping are:
- Tightness in neck
- Weakness of muscles
- Soft tissue contractions
- Shortening of the neck musculature
- Getting uncomfortable after a few days
- Thickening of subscapular tissues
Things To Care While Putting On Your Cervical Collar
After putting on your neck wrap if you feel it too tight, remove it immediately and try putting it on again to make it more comfortable.
- Try adding 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 hair 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 every day with mild soap or plain water, while a rigid neck brace with plastic supports can be cleaned once 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 how often you can remove it in the case when you feel your pain easing down.
Overall, sleeping with a good neck brace will help in reducing any kind of tensions that are caused on your shoulder or neck, while carrying on with your day-to-day activities.