The use of cervical orthoses falls primarily into three categories: motion restriction to protect or prevent pain, motion restriction to protect spinal instability pre- and post-surgery, and emergency protection immediately following trauma.
Such orthoses are used to provide support and protection as well as limit range of motion. Due to an array of pathological conditions and factors, many design variations and types of cervical orthoses are available.
The objective of the cervical orthosis following any type of injury to the soft tissues of the cervical spine is primarily to restrict motion to allow soft tissue healing by reducing the demand on the muscles and to prevent pain by avoiding extremes of motion.
Typically a severe cervical injury is treated with a halo-vest orthosis or with spinal surgery and then a halo-vest orthosis. After several weeks, when the osseus integrity of traumatized cervical vertebrae permits, the halo-vest orthosis is removed and a less obtrusive orthosis applied.
The second, less restrictive orthosis might be worn for an equal period of time or until the patient is discharged.