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Does anyone know about rigid neck collars (post-fracture)?

(3 Posts)
AhAgain Mon 06-Nov-17 21:55:53

Can you help please?

My mother has two fractured vertebrae in her neck (C1 and C2). This happened almost 7 weeks ago. She is still in hospital. Just had both wrists/hands out of plaster - both incredibly sore. Still complaining about a lot of pain in both wrists and neck/head.

Originally was told that the collar had to be changed lying on the bed (two people - one holding the head, one changing the collar). Last week she had a scan: one vertebrae is healing well, the other isn’t - need another 6 weeks in the collar. But they changed how it can be changed: sitting up, one person holding her head, the other changing the collar. Today she tells me that it is down to one person changing the collar and she is expected to hold her own head (whilst recovering from two multiple fractured wrists/hands which are becoming increasingly painful). She is 79.

This doesn’t sound right to me (one person changing the collar whilst she is sitting up, and supporting her own head). Can you reassure me either way please? And reduce my stress levels a bit. sad

southchinasea Tue 07-Nov-17 21:35:29

Best wishes to your mum- being in a neck brace is tough. I fractured c6 and c7 2 years ago and wore a hard collar for 4 months. I was told to lie down, on my back and then carefully rolling to each side, while another person changed mine. A practice nurse was surprised and said other patients she'd seen had been told to sit and look straight ahead to change it- so there seem to be different ways that are safe- as long as your mum feels confident. Which if her wrists are painful/ weak she probably doesn't. Is there a physio you can discuss this with - I found them more helpful with recovery than the doctors? And more practical. One of my fractures took longer to heal than the other- but it got there in the end. Is she managing to eat and drink okay in the brace? And to move around?

JohnHunter Tue 07-Nov-17 23:56:14

No two neck fractures will be the same - it will depend a lot on what broke, the fracture configuration, and how much healing has taken place so far.

The instructions around protecting her neck will have come from the consultant spinal surgeon that's responsible for her treatment. The change will likely be part of an active plan and not just because people are losing interest or not taking proper care.

Ask to speak with one of the doctors or the nurse-in-charge if you are concerned.

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