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whiplash neck injuries and cervical collars

Posted Sep 05 2009 7:34am

Mark Perren-Jones from Isla verde Spa Boquete

neck brace

The self-adjusting frame designed to  support  the back

and the  neck. | Source GB Patent, GB1852-1064 | Date 1852 

You will be glad to know its no longer recommended


 

I happened to walk into my local pharmacy the other day and noticed the pharmacist wearing a cervical collar for her neck. This prompted me to write on the latest knowledge about the use of the cervical collar. It used to be prescribed by Doctors very often for minor neck strains to rest the area and protect it from further injury.  However, it has been found like all other areas that have been strained that it is actually worse for the area; it slows down your recovery time and weakens (atrophies) the soft tissues from lack of use. You get better slower!

It’s the same for all of your injuries, you need to get the joint(s) moving as soon as possible in a controlled manner to help your injury heal faster, be stronger and greatly decrease your risk of re-injury. Remember,  the number one reason for injuries not to heal properly is from a lack of appropriate exercise.  The neck is no different. But I want to be clear that the exercises must be in a controlled manner so that more tissue damage does not occur. For more on treating your own injuries and knowing which are the best rehab exercises for each keep watching this space for my upcoming e-book and DVDs soon to be released.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic surgeons in their article on Whiplash wrote:

“In the past, whiplash injuries were often treated with immobilization in a cervical collar. However, the current trend is to encourage early movement, rather than immobilization. The soft collar may be used for a short term and on an intermittent basis.”

In Jan. 2005 netdoctor.co.uk wrote in their article on ‘What Causes Whiplash?’

“Research has shown that whiplash patients who rest for several weeks and wear a soft collar actually recover more slowly than those who try to follow a normal routine.”

Another article from patient.co.uk in April 2005 also states in their article ‘Whiplash Neck Strain’:

“In the past, some people have worn a neck collar for long periods after a whiplash sprain, and have been reluctant to move their neck. Studies have shown that you are more likely to make a quicker recovery if you do regular neck exercises, and keep your neck active rather than resting it for long periods in a collar.”

And if you still weren’t convinced, here is another from ‘The Enigma of Whiplash Injury’ by W.F Young:

“Mealy and associates, in a prospective randomized trial comparing use of a soft cervical collar and analgesic medications with a regimen of active therapy, found that the group treated actively had significant improvement in both neck pain and mobility compared with the group treated with a soft collar.”

“In a third prospective randomized study… Patients encouraged to remain at their normal level of activity had a better outcome than patients treated with immobilization and time off from work.”

Once again, it’s vitally important to get your joints(s) moving as soon as possible after the initial inflammatory phase to encourage proper scar tissue formation, decrease your healing time and have a strong and flexible joint to allow you to get back to your full range of activities and enjoy life to the fullest. Also, if you do happen to injure yourself please use ice for the first 48 hours NOT heat. For more on this see my article  when to use ice and heat


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