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Cervical Neck Collars Are Not the Best Treatment for Whiplash, according to Study

Posted Nov 26 2008 11:20am

Whiplash often occurs as a result of a motor vehicle accident that involves a sudden extension and flexion. Most whiplash victims recover in a few months, but many report recurring pain a year or more later.

A recent 7 year study 1 analyzed the best methods of treating whiplash symptoms.

Dr. Linda Carroll, from the University of Alberta in Canada showed that the showed traditional neck collars were unlikely to help and that staying active was crucial.

Neck collar"About one to two people in 20 will find their pain disabling," Dr Carroll said.

Another Study 2 showed that although, cervical collars are a seemingly benign intervention, they can have adverse effects, especially when used for longer periods of time. It is feared that a long period of immobilization, can result in atrophy-related secondary damage.

"The important thing to do is once you've ruled out serious pathology, like fractures and dislocations, the thing to do is get your neck moving as soon as possible; rest isn't a good thing."

Dr. Carrol stated that neck collars both hard and soft should not be used. She also stated that the neck should be moved.


  1. Course and Prognostic Factors for Neck Pain in Whiplash-Associated Disorders (WAD): Results of the Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010 Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders. Spine Journal February 2008
  2. When should a cervical collar be used to treat neck pain? Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine June 2008

Additional Reading Resources:

Visit for your Pain Relief Products like cervical neck pillows, cervical traction units, products for your lower back and more. Read about how to choose the best neck pillow, how to remedy and stiff neck and how to do neck exercises.

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