Neck, Clavicle & Shoulder Braces
Neck, Clavicle & Shoulder BracesWhile you might wear other types of braces for extra support or injury prevention, neck and shoulder braces are almost exclusively used after an injury or post-surgery. Clavicle braces also aren’t typically worn for general support but instead as a treatment for a shoulder injury.
Neck BracesNeck support braces (also known as cervical collars) come in two basic types: soft and rigid.
Soft Cervical CollarsAs the name implies, this type of brace is made of soft but firm material and provides moderate support. The bodies of soft collars are typically made of foam rubber covered with cloth. It provides support while still allowing flexibility and freedom of movement.
Soft collars come in various sizes, from extra-small to extra-large, and are adjustable to fit more or less snugly.
Rigid Cervical CollarsThis type of neck brace consists of a hard plastic shell or frame lined with soft padding. Rigid cervical collars are most often used after neck surgery to immobilize the neck during healing or when you are recovering from an injury to your cervical spine.
Shoulder BracesShoulder injuries are the most common reason for wearing a shoulder brace. A shoulder support brace may also be necessary after shoulder surgery, such as a rotator cuff repair.
Some injuries that could require a brace during recovery include:
- Sprains and strains
- Rotator cuff tear
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Shoulder instability
- Shoulder dislocation
- Fracture of the clavicle (collarbone) or scapula (shoulder blade)
- Separated shoulder
- Shoulder tendonitis or bursitis
- Biceps tendonitis or tear
- Shoulder impingement
There are three primary types of shoulder braces: shoulder stabilizers, slings, and clavicle braces.
Shoulder StabilizersThis brace cradles the shoulder and limits the range of motion or immobilizes the AC joint. There are various styles of shoulder stabilizers. Most consist of a short compression sleeve reaching mid-bicep, which connects to a strap, band, or sleeve that goes around the chest and under the unaffected arm.
Shoulder stabilizers work well for various injuries, including strains, separations, rotator cuff tears, and dislocations or shoulder instability. This brace is appropriate for sports.
SlingsStandard slings, such as those used to support a broken arm, may be appropriate for minor shoulder injuries. However, immobilizing slings are more complex and consist of a semi-rigid sling supported by a harness that fits around both the unaffected shoulder and the waist.
Clavicle BracesThis brace immobilizes the clavicle and is usually used to treat clavicle fractures. The clavicle brace is very simple: a wide, padded strap that loops around both shoulders from the back in a figure-eight formation. This pulls the shoulders back and limits motion in the upper body, holding the clavicle in correct alignment as it heals. You can wear a clavicle brace either on top of or underneath clothing.
Choosing the correct type of brace for your condition is important for proper healing. If you're unsure which type of brace or support is right for you, talk to your doctor.