Can A Neck Collar Cure Sleep Apnea?
February 5, 2011
A member on SleepGuide commented about his experience using a soft cervical collar to effectively treat his sleep apnea. Here’s a copy of my response to him:
I’m glad to hear that the collar worked for you. I’ve had a handful of patients that have reported similar results using soft and hard neck braces. You’re right in that it does keep your airway open. This is also the principle behind how the contour pillow works—by keeping your head extended somewhat, you’re less likely to obstruct, especially when you’re in deep sleep (when your muscles relax). Unfortunately, this option works for only some people, since there are so many other variables, including how stuffy your nose is, your sleep position, weather changes, what you just ate, and how extended your neck becomes with the device in place.
Here’s a picture of the airway in someone on his back with the head in a relatively neutral position:
Here’s the same person with the head bent forward a bit (flexed):
And with the head bent back (extended):
Notice a big difference in the space behind the tongue between all these positions.
Different people with have different levels of responses even with the same maneuvers. This is why some people can benefit from neck collars, but not all. The bottom line is, it can’t hurt to try. Hope this answers your question.