I was recently In a car accident, and now my back and neck are really screwed up. right now I am in a standard neck brace but my doctor has informed me that I will have to switch to a much different sort of brace. depending on the x rays I could be in any one of these. Aspen CTO, Minerva CTO, Miami JTO, and a CTLSO brace. I have no clue what any of these are. does anyone know or been in one of these braces? If so could you tell me what I should be expecting from the brace if I have to wear it?
You can find pictures of each of these braces if you do some research. I wore an Aspen brace. The Aspen has pads in it that cushion it where your body rests on it. I purchased a second set of pads so I could wash one and let it dry while wearing the brace with the other set of pads. I think I paid $20 for the extra set of pads.
I had the Aspen cervical collar. I just saw a patient wearing an Aspen CTO while in my surgeon's office for my checkup. From behind (she was sitting in a chair) the cervical part looked the same. When she stood I noticed the brace was longer and part rested on her chest area. Seemed to have pads similar to that of the Apsen cervical collar.
If your vertebrae are fractured you should ask if surgery is an option. If your disc is herniated or bulging you should ask what, besides the collar, is in the treatment plan.
My concern is the type of collar you mention are often for severe instability of the neck and possibly thoracic spine area. A collar such as the Aspen CTO is often for injuries that extend beyond just one cervical level. C5-C6 disc herniation is considered "one level" as it refers only to the disc between C5 and C6. C5 fracture and C6 fracture of the vertebrae is a two level fracture as it involves 2 vertebrae. Be sure to ask many question and if you are at all confused ask the doctor to write out your exact diagnosis.
Many of us here have had surgery to remove all or part of bulging/herniated discs. With the area you mention (C5-C6) often you will feel pain in the neck and through the shoulders and down one or both arms. My pain went down my left arm and into my index and middle finger. I waited a bit too long to have the ACDF (anterior discectomy and fusion) so I have some residual numbness in my index finger which will never get better. So if you have any pain beyond neck pain, ask the doctor for a full explanation of what it is that you have and if surgery is necessary now or down the road.
Please ask tons of questions and let us know what you find out. Severe cervical injury requires vigilant care.