Cervical Bracing

Cervical braces are external devices used to provide support and restrict movement of the cervical spine in a variety of cervical conditions ranging from muscle spasm to severe spine instability or post-surgery. Braces are also called orthotics and are made from different materials such as nylon, rubber, moulded plastic and elastic cotton. The basic function of the brace is to:

  • Immobilize the spine to aid healing
  • Stabilize the injured area
  • Manage pain by limiting the movement

Basically, braces are of two types, soft and hard braces. Soft braces provide support to the muscles and allows free movement, while hard braces limit the movement of the neck. Based on the level of neck being supported by the brace, cervical braces can be categorized into four classes:

  • Collar: it extends from the head to the upper region of the thorax
  • Posture brace: it is more rigid than a collar and supports the mandibular and occipital region
  • Cervicothoracic brace: this type extends further down to the trunk region
  • Halo ring: it provides rigid fixation of the head

The strength of cervical bracing depends upon the type of movement being restricted (i.e. flexion, lateral bending, extension and rotation), along with consideration for the patient’s comfort and compliance such as eating or swallowing problems.

Brace specialists are referred to as orthotists and are trained in different fields such as anatomy, biomechanics, material engineering, physical science and other related fields. In some cases, braces are fitted in consultation with an orthotist based on the requirements of the treatment and condition of the patient. Your doctor may recommend the specific time-period for wearing the brace, which may range from weeks to months, depending on the condition and the type of disorder. Physical therapy may also be recommended along with braces.

Patients wearing cervical braces should avoid activities that put undue strain on the affected area such as driving. Follow the instructions of your doctor for bathing and performing other daily activities. If the patient is instructed to shower with the brace, then the brace should be cleaned appropriately following bathing.

  • Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital


    Ashford and St Peter’s
    NHS Foundation Trust
    Guildford Road, Cherstey,
    Surrey, KY16 0PZ.
    Ph: 01932 722 730
  • The BMI Runnymede Hospital


    The BMI
    Runnymede Hospital
    Guildford Road,
    Ottershaw, CHERTSEY,
    KT16 0RQ.
    Ph: 01932 877800
  • Spire St Anthony’s Hospital


    Spire St Anthony’s
    801 London Road,
    SM3 9DW.
    Ph: 020 8337 6691
  • Nuffield Health Woking Hospital


    Nuffield Health
    Woking Hospital
    Shores Road,
    GU21 4BY.
    Ph: 01483 331257
  • Ramsay Health Ashtead Hospital


    Ramsay Health
    Ashtead Hospital
    The Warren,
    Ashtead, Surrey.
    KT21 2SB.
    Ph: 01372 221400