The effects of soft cervical collars on persistent neck pain in patients with whiplash injury

P. Gennis, L. Miller, E. J. Gallagher, J. Giglio, W. Carter, N. Nathanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess the efficacy of soft cervical collars in the early management of whiplash-injury-related pain. Methods. A controlled, clinical trial was conducted in an urban ED. Adults with neck pain following auto mobile crashes indicated their initial degrees of pain on a visual analog scale. Patients with cervical spine fractures or subluxation, focal neurologic deficits, or other major distracting injuries were excluded. Patients were assigned to receive a soft cervical collar or no collar based on their medical record numbers. Pain at ≥6 weeks postinjury was coded as none, better, same, or worse, and analyzed as 3 dichotomous outcomes: recovered (pain = none); improved (pain = none or better); and deteriorated (pain = worse). Results: Of 250 patients enrolled, 196 (78%) were available for follow-up. Of these patients, 104 (53%) were assigned to the soft cervical collar group, and 2 (47%) to the control group. These groups were similar in age, gender, seat position in the car, seat belt use, and initial pain score. Pain persisted at ≥6 weeks in 122 (62%) patients. The groups showed no difference in follow-up pain category (p = 0.59). There was no significant difference between the 2 groups in complete recovery (p = 0.34), improvement (p = 0.34%) or deterioration (p = 0.60). The study had a power of 80% to detect an absolute difference of at least 20% in recovery, 17% in improvement, and 7% in deterioration (2-tailed, α = 0.05). Conclusions: Most patients with whiplash injuries have persistent pain for at least 6 weeks. Soft cervical collars do not influence the duration or degree of persistent pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)568-573
Number of pages6
JournalAcademic Emergency Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • cervical collar
  • cervical spine
  • controlled clinical trial
  • injury
  • neck
  • pain
  • whiplash injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'The effects of soft cervical collars on persistent neck pain in patients with whiplash injury'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this