Cervical braces or collars are a very controversial subject for doctors. A permanent usage of collars leads to atrophy of the muscles and therefore to more instability.
Cervical collars shouldn’t be a permanent solution. BUT in some cases, especially very severe cases of instability, collars may be necessary to cope with everyday life or to avoid permanent damage to nerves or the spinal cord.
CCI patients often have problems with sitting in a car. Every bump, ever pothole, can lead to severe symptoms. Also riding the bus or train, pretty much every kind of abrupt movement can be difficult. Especially in those situations cervicle braces give security and may avoid worse.
Collars can be useful on days with very bad symptoms. They can reduce symptoms or don’t even let them come to their full extent.
It is important to still train the muscles if possible. This will reduce or avoid muscle atrophy.
Sometimes it is necessary to wear the neck brace at night for sleeping. It has the purpose to avoid involuntary movements and on the other hand stabilizes the neck while the muscles are not really working themselves.
Some neurosurgeons use neck braces for diagnostics. It can help to predict whether a fusion surgery is helpful or not. The patient has to wear the neck brace 24/7 over a prolonged period of time. If the symptoms get better or even disappear it is much likely that the patient will approve with fusion surgery.
Neck braces can be prescribed by doctors.
It can be very helpful to try different collars and see how they fit before buying one, because having a wrong size can lead to more harm than good. There are a variety of different manufacturer. Some popular brands of hard collars are Philadelphia, Miami and Aspen.
I am wearing a Sporlastic soft collar and a hard Aspen vista multipost.