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Not required to wear a collar post-surgery-will i sleep better?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,899
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
my doc doesn't require a collar at all. i'm getting fusion double....w/plates...

all of complain about sleeping with that collar. yikes. that must stink. anyway, do you think i'll be able to sleep ok then without it? anyone not have to wear one?


  • to wear a collar 24/7 only taking it off to shower and then I have to hold my neck still, while my husband washes it,,,,,I guess I have gotten used to it, because I can sleep with it, I am still in a ton of pain and am taking percocet, oxy and a muscle relaxer.... I started walking today but I must say I feel sooooooooooo tired and I only walked for 15 mins..... and I feel like an idiot with this collar on while Im walking.,,,,,I did not have to wear a collar with my first surgury which was a front fusion of 3 levels.... Cyndi
  • I had to wear a soft collar in 93 with my ACDF, and I have to wear a collar now with my posterior foraminotomies (although I really don't know why since there was no fusion). You get used to it, but I don't particularly like it.

  • Hi,
    Originally my neurosurgeon told me to wear the soft collar for a few days and then for comfort as needed. The physician assistant asked me to wear the soft collar until I went in for my 10 day post op visit. I wasn't required to sleep with it on, but I did wear it while sleeping for the first week.

    Since my surgery I prefer to sleep on my back without a pillow. I have had no problem sleeping with or without the collar.

    What level is your surgery and do you have a date set yet?
    Keep us posted.
    Best wishes, Brenda
  • Hey, my NS said I wouldn't have to wear a collar either. I'm having my surgery this Fri. and it will be level one on C4/5 fusion with the artifical bone and metal plate. So I hope I will be able to keep my neck still without one, and be able to sleep too. I'm going to try to sleep in bed with pillows I got going on to be like a wedge type. If not I will be out in the recliner.
  • some dr's are getting away from collars if the situation allows so that the muscles don't atrophy. I would ask your doctor.
  • I am 9 weeks post op from a c6-7 fusion with autograft. My surgeon said I only needed to wear a soft collar when driving. I have had no trouble sleeping without the collar.
  • I had a C5-6 discectomy, cadaver bone, and fusion with titanium plate. I never wore a collar at all. I had one of the (reputed) best neurosurgeons in the area. Many years past I wore a soft collar for whiplash, and hated it. I was so glad not to have to wear one after my surgery. I slept in bed propped on pillows just fine. No recliner sleeping for me. That last few inches laying down, and first few getting back up hurt the worse, but not anything I couldn't handle. Good luck on your surgery.

  • I only have to wear my collar for comfort, I choose to wear it on walks or when I am in the car. I slept on my recliner for a week and half when I first came home. It was just best for me because if I laid flat it felt like I was choking. I also was moving around too much in bed and waking up too much and I did not want to bug my husbands sleep. I had a level 1 c5 and c6 with a cage no bone graph. I wear a bone stimulator to help with the growth of the bone. I was afraid at first about not wearing the collar when I came home and when I talked to my nurse she said I was not going to hurt myself or my neck it was not going anywhere. Tree weeks post op and getting better everyday.
  • great info!

    DRIVING-when could u drive post op?

    MAGGIE; did your leg weakness get better? did you have pain between your shoulder blades?
    who was your doctor?

    my doc won best doctor 8 years in a row. i don't know if the magazines mean anything.
  • Since I had used my own bone for fusion I had incisional & hip pain where the bone graft was taken,so I couldn't drive for 6 weeks after surgery.
  • Glad to see this topic on here. I was surprised when my NS said I would not have to wear a collar. My surgery is going to be Sept 17 and I will have ACDF C3>C6 with cadaver bone and titanium plate and screws. Will be using a bone stimulator for 4 hours a day when I come home but no collar. He is not including a damaged disc in the fusion C6/C7 which surprised me since both of the other surgeons I saw wanted to fuse 4 and my NS is fusing 3. He told me since I am not real young that most likely it would be ok since C6/C7 is not as bad or creating the spinal cord issues of the other discs. I am scared because even getting me in the hospital once is a big deal and I don't want any revisions in the future.
  • brenda,
    i am having level 2 fusion. i have leg weakness so the doc doesn't want me to wait too long. i'll probably do it in 4-6 weeks. the worst pain for me is between the shoulder blades on my spine. it feels like it's caught and i want to crack it.
  • hey guys. . . . .love the collar talk. i had os odontoideum and suffered two SCI when i fell backwards.

    i am only thirty and i was training to run a marathon before i fell the second time. I had numbness down my entire right side. this was in may 2008. neuro symptoms are almost completely gone lucky me and thank God.

    since May i have had posterior fusion twice at c1 c2. once with wire and this time sept 08 2008 with screws, rods and wire with cadaver bone. what a nightmare.

    i have been told to wear this damn miami j collar until december. i am really stressed over it. i have severly limited my activity. not allowed to sit up longer than an hour, minimal walking yadda yadda so i eat sleep, read, browse net, and do absolutely nothing.

    i have two questions 1) does anyone hear creaking or popping in neck 2)anyone gone through a failed fusion?
  • I wore an Aspen for 4 weeks post-op..only taking it off for showers. My muscles did atrophy a little, but I would rather have that and security knowing that the plates and screws were stabilized until given enough time to get a head start on healing.
    The down side was just getting comfortable..my suggestion, if you don't already have one, get a recliner. It worked for me.
    Also, roxy54321, a little pop or crack I believe is normal..I had them initially after sx. then they stopped


    Multi-level cervical fusion @ C5-6, C6-7; C3-4 is protruding w/o cord compression; T6-7, T7-8with left foraminal stenosis;T8-9,T9-10 foraminal stenosis bilaterally,T10-11 disc dessication with disc protrusion w/cord compression; T11-12, disc protrusion w/cord compression; T12-L1, disc protrusion w/noncapping spur w/sac effacement; L1-2&L2-3 have spondylitic changes; L3-4 broad-based disc bulge; L4-5, partially dehydrated, broad-based disc bulge, moderate central & left recess stenosis. Mild left lateral recess stenosis. L5-S1, Disc bulge,facet arthritis bilat. stenosis, disc protrusion noted into the left neuroforamen with contact to the left L5 root.
  • Hi, I'm newly registered here but have been reading for a while. It's very interesting reading about the collars. My doctor sent me home with a soft collar but said not to wear it unless it was absolutely necessary. I know three other people at my office that have had this surgery and their doctors also said not to wear the collar or didn't give them one. Plus, all our doctors do this surgery on an outpatient basis which I though was really strange - I elected to stay one night in the hospital.

    I did need my collar to sleep but left it off otherwise. I do wish I had worn it a little more because I strained too much trying to hold my head up that now I'm in physical therapy for muscle spasms. When I went back to work three weeks post-op I would be just about in tears trying to hold my head up at my desk. I should have used the collar on and off to relieve some of the pain. My mistake.

    It is interesting that various doctors have such different opinions about wearing the collar.

  • hey .. .thanks for the info. i was really worried about the popping and creaking in my neck so i ran to the doc for an xray. all is good. bones and graft are still in place. every mornimg i wake up wonder how i will be feeling. off and on i get numbness in my back and hands. i had posterior c1 c2 fusion sept9 and it seems that healing time goes on forever. Especially in this damn collar. if i could drive it would be great.
    ps i think the length of time required to wear a collar varies depending on wether the surgery was anterior or posterior. apparently anterior surgery will give stability immediately.
  • I am waiting for single level c5/6 will have cage, no collar. Have spoken to loads of folks here in Scotland and none of them have had a collar
  • I was driving after 3 weeks as long as I was not taking pain meds. Have not droven any where very far from home yet.
  • For those of you who were told not to wear a collar - Were you allowed to turn your head? I mean as much as your body allowed you to? Or, were you expected to try to keep your head still as much as possible without a collar?

    I am wondering what the fusion rate is compared to those with and those without a collar. I know there are many other factors involved. It just seems to me that fusion would take longer with a lot of movement.

    I am sure the muscles weaken with a collar on for a long period of time. I am at my 3 wk post op 24/7 collar for 3 months.
  • Crash21,
    My OS told me that once the plate and screws were put in, the metal they replaced my disc with could not move out of place. After my surgeries I was not able to move my neck very far, so over doing things was out of the question, but as I am doing PT, I am able to move much more than I did right after surgery. It would be interesting to find out fusion rate with a collar, without one, or if it matters at all. Seems the Doctors have different opinions about wearing them. Good luck and keep getting better.
  • I haven't had my surgery yet, but my NS told me that I'll be wearing a hard collar for 4 weeks and then a soft collar for the following 4 weeks.

    I'd rather not wear one at all, but right now I feel a bit like a bobble-doll, so I think it will be nice to have something to hold my head up for me. :))(

    I know it's going to get old, but from everything I've read and what people have told me, it's imperative to follow your doctor's orders no matter what. That's the only way to heal.

    Take care and get better.
  • i had a failed fusion the first time because i think i was too active and did way too much. mind u i had just a wire holding the bone graft in place and i read that with os odontoideum it's best to use screws to hold the bone graft in place with rods. the second time around that's what i got.
    i am four weeks post op and i feel great. the NS said he wants me to wear the collar for three months. i am going to negotiate this with him.
    how do u guys get through this????????????
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