In this post: When I was released from the hospital with my broken neck, I had no idea how to adjust my Aspen Vista collar; so I created a helpful guide. Here’s everything you need to know about the Aspen Vista, how to adjust it, and how to care for the pads.
After I learned that I had broken my neck, I was in a state of shock. I didn’t think to ask either the ER doctor or the on-call neurologist any questions about my new Aspen Vista collar. In fact, it wasn’t until I got home that I realized that I was equipped with an important device–a device that I knew nothing about–that would play a major role in helping me heal correctly and avoid reconstructive surgery.
I felt completely unprepared for the journey ahead. The doctor told me to take off the collar to shower, but he didn’t give me any tips for how to put it back on.
Now, I was at home with all these questions and no one to give me answers. I felt frustrated and alone.
Luckily, I have a very thoughtful husband, and he helped me work through my questions. Here is all the information that I gathered and discovered about wearing the Aspen Vista collar.
How to Adjust Your Aspen Vista Collar
The Aspen Vista collar is two pieces of polyethylene with three pieces of soft foam liner. There are Velcro straps to help the front and back pieces stay joined and a knob in the center to adjust your chin support.
If you feel like your neck brace is choking you, you need to slightly loosen the Velcro straps. You should not ever feel like you are being strangled by your brace.
Similarly, if you feel like your jawline is resting on plastic, take a moment to move your foam pads inside your brace. The foam pads inside your neck brace are secured with Velcro, so it’s very easy to move them and make slight adjustments. You shouldn’t ever feel like your skin is pressing in
In my opinion, it’s best not to mess with the knob. Most likely, your doctor set your collar to be at the correct level for your body and your break.
However, if you very strongly believe that you need to adjust the height of your chin support on your Aspen Vista, simply pull out and rotate on the knob. Rotating clockwise (to the right) lowers the chin support, and rotating counter-clockwise (to the left) raises it.
In my case, I assumed that the doctor had adjusted my neck brace correctly before I was released from the hospital. When I did an 8-week follow-up with him, he raised my chin support.
That slight lift was a shock to my system, and my neck muscles tensed up. I really wished I could have started my recovery in the correct position.
Putting Your Collar Back On
If you are lucky, your doctor will tell you that there are some times of the day when you can remove your Aspen Vista c
Removing the collar is a bit of a no-brainer, but I was really worried about what to do to put the collar back on correctly. Luckily, with the help of my husband, we figured it out quickly. After a few showers, I easily could manage
The key is setting yourself up for success. When you take the collar off, only undo one Velcro strap. This way, it’s a lot easier to get your brace correctly adjusted when you put it back on.
Here’s what you need to do to finish putting your brace on:
- Get the front part of your collar placed correctly under your chin.
- Place a very slight amount of pressure on the chin rest to help hold it in place.
- If you have longer hair, get your hair up and away from the back of your neck. Use some sort of tool like a hair clip or pony tail holder to help you.
- Place the back part of the brace in the correct spot behind your neck.
- Gently tuck the front edges of your front piece into the back piece. This will ensure your brace is not too loose on your neck.
- When you feel like you’re in the right position, fasten the Velcro straps.
Changing the Pads on Your Aspen Vista Collar
Did you know that the pads inside your Aspen Vista can be changed out? I sure didn’t–until my husband suggested that we might be able to find an extra set of pads on Amazon.
It turns out, my husband was right. You can buy a spare set of pads on Amazon. Here is a link to buy new [easyazon_link identifier=”B01M0PNDD8″ locale=”US” tag=”
The best time to change out your pads is when you are already planning on having your Aspen Vista off. In my case, I took my collar off for showers. So, before I would shower, I would change out my pads in my collar. Then, I would be all ready to put my brace back on after the shower.
All three of the pads are secured with Velcro, so it’s pretty easy to remove one and put the new pad in its place. You should not remove all the pads then try to figure out where they go. Just take it one at a time.
The pad on the back of your collar is also secured with Velcro straps. Don’t unfasten the straps completely–just undo the very end. This way, your straps will still stay somewhat in place so putting the new pad on will be less confusing.
To clean your old pads, hand wash them as you would any delicate item. I used a little bit of white liquid hand soap when they got particularly dirty. However, I found that rinsing them out and letting them air dry was good enough most of the time.
Video of Adjusting the Aspen Vista Collar
I hope these tips for adjusting your Aspen Vista collar help. I can remember how frustrated and alone I felt when I came home from the hospital and wondered What next?
Remember, you are not alone. Take it one step at a time, one day at a time; and you will be fine.
If you enjoyed reading this post, you also might want to read “Cervical Collar Sleeping: 5 Things You Need to Know” and “Living with a Cervical Collar: 10 Things You Need to Avoid.”
For visual learners, I filmed a video for you. This video covers everything I just wrote about.
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Do you have any helpful tips or information about the Aspen Vista collar? If you do, please let us know in the comments below.