The neck is the part of the human body that attaches the head to the rest of the body. It is made up of many muscles that are connected from the head to the torso of the body. The purpose of the neck muscles is either to allow for neck movement or to provide structural support for the head. The motion is either rotation, meaning side-to-side; lateral flexion, meaning ear to shoulder; flexion, meaning chin to sternum; and hypertension, meaning looking up.
Here is the list of muscles in the neck and head area:
- Longus colli and capitis – this is found in the anterior neck area and is used for flexion. They lie right over the cervical vertebrae and may be injured by whiplash.
- Infrahyoid and suprahyoid – these muscles are for opening the jaw and for flexing the neck, and are found in the anterior neck area. They are found above the trachea.
- Splenius capitis, splenius cervsi and the semispinalis capitis muscles – the splenius is used for neck rotation, while the semispinalis is used for neck flexion. They are found in the occiput, the neck and the upper shoulder. They all attach to the middle of the back, and the strain caused to this is usually the cause of neck pain.
- Suboccipitals – these muscles are found in the posterior skull and the temples, and are used for extending and rotating the head. These small muscles do most of the work for moving the head around.
- Trapezius muscles – these muscles can do multiple actions, including pulling the scapula towards the body as well as neck extension.
- Sternocleidomastoid muscles – these muscles, individually, are responsible for turning the head in opposite sides. Together, they are used for neck flexion.
Disorders to these neck muscles are the cause of headaches and other sorts of pain. The most common sources of neck pain are whiplash, cervical herniated discs, cervical spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, or cervical adenitis.
There are a lot of muscles in the neck, but they all work together to be able to do all the complicated muscle movements of the neck that are necessary for everyday living. It is a must that the neck and the neck muscles must be given ample protection and relief, because ailments in the neck can lead to worse pains across the body. Massage therapists closely study the neck to be able to study the pressure points that will help in relieving muscle tension and pain.