Hard collars are rigid and are usually made from plastic. They hold the head and neck very still. They are usually only used after major surgery or a serious injury, such as a broken neck.
Soft collars may be made from felt, foam, or rubber. They allow some movement of the head and neck. Soft cervical collars are sometimes used after surgery, but they are of limited value in other neck treatment. Sometimes they can be helpful after a moderate neck injury. When they are used for this purpose, they are typically used for only a few hours a day and for less than a week or two. But for long-lasting neck pain, other types of treatment are more helpful.
For more information on treating neck pain, see the following topics:
Medical Review:William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine