Test-Driving Your Cervical Collar or Lumbar Brace before Surgery

Most spine surgery patients are required to wear either a neck collar or a lower-back brace after they have their procedure. It is very important to spend some time wearing your collar or brace at home BEFORE your surgery. Try sitting in your favorite chair, preparing yourself a sandwich or going to the restroom so that you will understand the restrictions that will be placed on your movement during recovery. Many patients find this “test-driving” experience to be invaluable for learning what they will and will not be able to do while recovering.

*Please note: Every effort will be made by the OSC surgical scheduling staff to get your collar or brace to you in a timely manner. However, due to insurance authorization requirements, approval and delivery of your collar or brace may be delayed.

Getting adequate rest while recovering is essential. Patients who have had lumbar spine surgery do not have to wear their brace in bed or while seated, but cervical spine surgical patients must wear their collar all the time, until released by their doctor. If you cannot lie in bed comfortably with your cervical collar on, the time to figure out how you will be able to sleep and rest is BEFORE your surgery. If you find your normal sleeping position to be uncomfortable, try the following:

  • Use more pillows to elevate your head until you find a comfortable position
  • Use softer pillows to cushion your head and neck while wearing the collar
  • If you have (or can borrow) a recliner, try sleeping in a reclined position, using pillows as necessary to cushion or pad your neck

Most patients find that they CAN find a comfortable position for sleeping and resting if they do a little preparation before the day of surgery.

Deciding that your collar or brace is unwearable (due to size or comfort issues) on the day AFTER surgery is not a good idea. Trying it on and test-driving it for comfort and wear-ability BEFORE surgery IS!

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