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Soft Cervical Collar

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 31, 2022.

What is a soft cervical collar?

A soft cervical collar is a device that helps limit the movement of your neck. The collar is made of soft foam, wraps around your neck, and fastens in the back. You may need to use a soft cervical collar if you have a neck injury or arthritis.

Cervical Collars

How do I use a soft cervical collar?

Ask how long you should wear your soft cervical collar. As your pain gets better, you may be able to remove the collar for a short time each day. This time will increase until you no longer need the collar. Do the following to put on your soft cervical collar:

  • Look straight ahead and keep your chin parallel to the floor.
  • Fit the collar snugly around your neck.
  • Attach the fasteners at the back of your neck.
  • Make sure that you can breathe comfortably.
  • If the collar feels too tight, remove it and put it on again.
  • Put cotton padding between the collar and your skin if the collar irritates your skin.

How can I prevent more injury and pain?

  • Limit activity. This may help decrease your pain and swelling. Ask your healthcare provider when you can return to your normal daily activities.
  • Support your neck while you sleep. You may need to sleep without a pillow if you sleep with your collar on. Make sure your pillow is comfortable and supports your head and neck if you sleep without a collar. You may need a special neck pillow. You may be more comfortable on a firm mattress.
  • Support your neck and back if you sit most of the day. Keep your computer monitor at eye level. Place documents you are reading into a holder at eye level. Use a headset when you talk on the telephone.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • You have severe pain, or pain that does not get better even with treatment.
  • You cannot move your arm or hand.
  • You feel lightheaded, dizzy, or weak.

When should I call my doctor?

  • Your arm or hand is numb, tingles, or is weak.
  • You have questions or concerns about how to use your soft cervical collar.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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