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neck muscles

FLEXORS: longus colli & capitis, infra hyoids

EXTENSORS: splenius capitis, semispinalis capitis, suboccipitals, trapezius

ROTATORS: splenius capitis, sternocleidomastoid, levator scapula, suboccipitals


COMMENTS: The motion of the neck can be divided into rotation (looking side to side), lateral flexion (ear to shoulder), flexion (chin to sternum) and hyperextension (looking up). Knowing which muscles do each motion will take you a long way towards proper evaluation and treatment.

INJURY: The most common neck injury is whiplash, which involves the infrahyoid muscles, longis colli and longis capitis, as well as the sternocleidomastoid muscles. Another common neck problem is limited rotation, which involves the levator scapula, the suboccipitals, or the deep neck muscles.

ASSESSMENT: Neck evaluation includes passive range of motion in the various directions, looking for restriction and pain. When working on older clients or people who have had severe neck trauma check that moving the neck into these various positions does not impinge the vertebral artery. An occluded vertebral artery does not deliver enough blood to the brain and is therefore a dangerous situation.

MASSAGE: Massage is an excellent treatment for the neck muscles in cases of restriction. Whiplash responds well to massage after the initial inflammatory stage is over. In the acute phase, Positional Release is the best therapy.