Neck muscles


The neck muscles are specifically designed to either allow for neck movement or to provide structural support for the head. The hyoid bone and other such structural components require the cooperation of neck muscles as well. Head motion relies on the flexibility and strength of neck muscles. This particular section of text is devoted to the main muscles involved in neck manipulation.



Although the sternocleidomastoid muscle begins in the anterior region of the neck, it is considered to be a posterior muscle along with the longissimus capitis muscle, the trapezius muscle, the semispinalis capitis muscle, and the slenius capitis muscle. The sternocleidomastoid muscle can be traced from its origin in the sternum and the clavicle along its path to the mastoid process of the temporal bone where it is then inserted into the neck.

If the muscle on the left of the neck contracts, the head turns toward the right, and of course vice verse. If both side of this muscle contract, the result is a pulling downward and forward motion of the head. The platysma muscle actually encases the sternocleidomastoid muscle.


Muscles of the Neck
Image: Muscles Of The Neck

The trapezius muscle actually considered to be just as much of a muscle related to the back as it is the neck. Only a small portion of this muscle integrates with the neck. Deep in perspective to the trapezius muscle, the splenius capitis is a particularly wide muscle.
It can be traced from its originating point around the ligamentum nuchae and the spinous processes involving the first three thoracic vertebrates and the seventh cervical vertebrates. From there its path can be traced along up to the rear of the skull, just below the superior nuchal line, to the mastoid process of the temporal bone. The head can be manipulated to one side and rotated via the contraction of the splenius capitis. When both muscles are contracted at the same time, the head actually rises as the neck appears to elongate.


Originating at the seventh cervical and the first six thoracic vertebrates, the semispinalis capitis can traced up to the its insertion point on the occipital bone. The contraction of one of these very broad and wide muscles creates rotation of the head while contraction of both muscles together creates the similar rise in the head as the splenius capitis. These muscles are known to work cohesively when elongating the neck.

The longissimus capitis is much longer, almost resembling a strap, and can be traced from its origination among the upper five thoracic vertebrates and the lower four cervical vertebrates to its insertion point, the mastoid process of the temporal bone. The longissimus capitis is responsible for mild and slight rotations of the head, bending the head from one side to the other, or extension of the head.
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