A new report compares soft cervical collars to rigid braces. The study’s authors explain: “The soft cervical collar has been prescribed for whiplash injury but has been shown to be clinically ineffective. As some authors report superior results for managing whiplash injury with a cervical brace, we were interested in comparing the mechanical effectiveness of the soft collar with a rigid cervical brace.”

The experiment included 50 people free of neck or shoulder pain. “Neck movement was measured using a cervical range of motion goniometer. Active flexion, extension, right and left lateral flexion, and right and left rotation were assessed in each subject under 3 conditions: no collar, a soft collar, and a rigid cervical brace.”

Results revealed that “the soft collar and rigid brace reduced neck movement compared with no brace or collar, but the cervical brace was more effective at reducing motion. The soft collar reduced movement on average by 17.4%; and the cervical brace, by 62.9%. The effect of the orthoses was not affected by age, although older subjects had stiffer necks.”

The study’s authors concluded that the soft cervical collar “did not adequately immobilize the cervical spine.”

JMPT – February 2011;34:119-122.

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