Can A Neck Collar Cure Sleep Apnea?

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Reviewed by

Raj Dasgupta, MD

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a common sleep disorder characterized by repeated interruptions in breathing during sleep. These interruptions, known as apneas or hypopneas, can lead to daytime fatigue, impaired cognitive function, and even serious health conditions if left untreated.

While continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is the gold standard for OSA treatment, some individuals find it uncomfortable and seek alternative options. One such alternative that has been explored is the use of a soft cervical collar.

In this article, we will examine the findings of a pilot study that aimed to determine whether a soft cervical collar could help in the management of OSA.

The Pilot Study

A pilot study titled “Soft Cervical Collar in Obstructive Sleep Apnea” conducted by Philippe Bordier, Aurelia Lataste, and Sebastien Orazio and published in the European Respiratory Journal in 2018 sought to evaluate the potential benefits of using a soft cervical collar as a treatment option for OSA.

Study Objectives

The study had three primary objectives:

  1. Assess the night tolerance of the soft cervical collar among patients with OSA.
  2. Investigate whether the use of the collar had any impact on pharyngeal patency in OSA patients.
  3. Determine the required sample size for a larger, more conclusive study.

Study Design

The study included 20 patients with severe OSA. These patients were randomly assigned to one of two groups: the control group, which received no intervention, and the intervention group, which wore a soft cervical collar during sleep. The study compared polygraphy data between the baseline recordings and second recordings for each group. Additionally, the night tolerance of the collar was assessed through a questionnaire.

Key Findings

Here are the key findings from the study:

  1. Collar Tolerance: The questionnaire revealed that the soft cervical collar was well tolerated by a majority of the patients, suggesting that it could be worn comfortably during sleep.

  2. Pharyngeal Patency: Surprisingly, the study found that the use of the soft cervical collar had no significant effect on pharyngeal patency in patients with OSA. There were no notable differences in polygraphy data, including the apnea-hypopnea index, between the baseline and second recordings in either the control or intervention group.

  3. Sample Size: To achieve conclusive results, the study recommended a larger-scale randomized controlled trial with 246 patients equally distributed between both groups.


Based on the findings of this small-scale pilot study, it appears that while a soft cervical collar was well-tolerated by OSA patients, it did not result in a significant improvement in pharyngeal patency. This suggests that the soft cervical collar may not be a standalone solution for treating OSA.

However, it’s important to note that this was a pilot study with a limited sample size. The study authors recommended a larger-scale randomized controlled trial to provide more definitive evidence regarding the effectiveness of the soft cervical collar in OSA treatment.

So if you still want to try using cervical collar to reduce snoring, we recommend the CerviCorrect Neck Brace, which is comfortable to wear while sleeping.

For mild cases of sleep apnea, you may consider using some anti-snoring devices or anti-snoring mouthpieces.

Need professional help to diagnose and address your sleep problems? Schedule an online consultation with sleep specialist Dr. Owen Napleton.

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