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The purpose of a neck brace is to give your head and neck support while you're recovering from an injury. The muscles in the neck are responsible for holding the head up, maintaining normal posture, and supporting and moving the neck. If your neck is injured, for example, while playing sports or in a car accident, moving your head may cause pain. A neck brace is designed to keep your neck still in order to help ease pain and discomfort until healing occurs.
If you've just had neck surgery, your doctor may ask you to wear a neck brace until the soft tissues in your neck heal. If you have neck pain or a neck injury, see your doctor immediately. He or she will give you guidelines on how to treat your injury and let you know whether a neck brace is right for you.
If you've had an injury to your neck, have chronic degenerative neck problems or a condition called cervical stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal), your doctor may recommend wearing a rigid plastic cervical collar. This gives your neck firm support but is softly padded where it touches your neck. It's also ventilated to release heat for maximal comfort.
In the case of mild neck injuries or chronic neck pain, a soft cervical collar may offer relief. Soft foam cervical collars are comfortable to wear and lightly support your neck. Although they don't provide the same support as a rigid plastic cervical collar, they're a reminder not to move your head and neck too quickly.
Your doctor may recommend wearing a cervical collar only for a short time to relieve pain and promote healing. Wearing one for long periods of time can cause your neck muscles to become "lazy" from underuse. Your doctor will advise you on how long to wear a cervical collar or brace.
When you have neck pain, it may be hard to get comfy at night when you lie down to sleep. A contoured neck cushion can give your neck firm but comfortable support while you sleep. Its unique design softly cradles your neck as you slumber while helping to maintain proper cervical alignment.
When your neck needs more than just support, hot/cold neck supports firmly but comfortably cradle your neck. They come with a gel pack that slips into a pocket on the neck support. The gel pack can be used to deliver soothing heat or cold to sore or inflamed neck muscles. Immediately after an injury, doctors often recommend cold to reduce inflammation. After the initial inflammation subsides, heat may provide soothing relief from pain. With a hot/cold neck support, one size fits all - just use the Velcro attachment to adjust the size to fit your neck.
There are a number of supports and braces available for different areas of the body. Talk to your doctor or health care provider about which type is right for you.
This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking any over-the-counter medication as they may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to your physician before taking these products. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.