As an OT, I see patients after cervical fusions on a regular basis. Normally I’m instructing them to avoid movements such as bending, lifting, and twisting but almost all my patients ask how they’re supposed to shower when they go home.
In general, patient’s can shower if their incision is safe to get wet, but ideally they should be using a separate neck brace for showering.
Here are some ideas that can make showering with a neck brace easier.
Showering with a neck brace?
The easiest way to shower with a neck brace is to lay flat/supine in bed and remove the current neck brace. You should also put the neck brace for the shower in this same position.
The easiest brace to use for a shower is going to be a waterproof brace specifically designed for showering.
If you’re using an aspen neck brace, you can remove the padding and have it cleaned. If you have an extra set of padding, you can shower with the aspen collar and use the second set of pads when you finish.
After the shower, the pads can be cleaned with soap and water and air dried.
If you only have a soft foam collar, you should not use it in the shower. I recommend buying a second brace that’s waterproof for showering.
If you’re unable to find a waterproof brace, you can use a second soft collar for showering. It’s best if covered in plastic, and be sure to wring out the water to avoid mold or mildew.
What’s the best neck brace for showering?
The best neck brace for showering is a waterproof neck brace. These are specifically designed for showering.
I recommend using one listed below.
How to clean neck brace padding?
You can’t just throw your neck brace in the wash machine, but you can clean the pads. Be careful taking the brace and pads off. I recommend having a second brace or set of pads to use when cleaning your pads.
Before you begin, have someone help you as you remove the brace while laying on your back. Next, replace the pads with the new pads and clean the old pads in soapy water. Most neck brace pads say to avoid machine washing.
It’s probably best to wash them with soap and water and air dry. If you decide to machine wash your pads, have a second set just in case.
Where can I buy a neck brace for showers?
Most neck braces for showering are only available online, but you might also check with your local medical supplier.
Most pharmacies and department stores will have soft collars. If you want a second aspen collar, visit your local medical supply store or purchase one online here.
David is the lead editor of OT Focus. He has been practicing as an Occupational Therapist since 2013. He specializes in acute care, hand therapy, and ergonomics.