Neck Muscles – Structure, Exercises, Problems, Diagnosis & Treatments

Neck is the starting point of spinal column and spinal cord and is an important part of human body which links head with rest of the body.

  • Weight of head is supported by it.
  • Chain of nerves responsible to covey information sent by brain to rest of the body is also supported by this organ.
  • A human has to turn his head to all the direction which is possible only because of this part.

Neck Structure

Cervical Spine

Human spine has a cervical portion which comprises upon 7 bony segments and these are usually referred as C-1, C-2, C-3, C-4, C-5, C-6 and C-7.

  1. Cervical Vertebrae are the 7 bones of upper spine.
  2. The disks are cushions between vertebrae and they absorb the shock of movement.
  3. Facets are the joints between vertebrae.
  4. Ligaments connect the vertebrae.
  5. Muscles support spine and move the head.
  6. Foramina are openings between vertebrae where nerves exit the spine.
  7. Nerve branch forms spinal cord to the arms.

Adam’s Apple

Adam’s apple, medically known as laryngeal prominence, is one of the important features of a human neck. Basically, Adam’s apple points to the lump created by thyroid cartilage and surrounding larynx which is commonly known as the voice box.


Larynx or voice box is an organ found in neck of all human, mammals, reptiles and amphibians and help them in producing sounds, taking breath and protecting trachea against food aspiration.

Nerve Endings

All the areas of skin contain nerve endings or nerve termination which are large number of points found on the surface of body, and skin and they might be in millions and their duty is to inform brain system about the feeling of sensation on a certain body area such as the feelings of cold, heat or pain.

Erogenous Zone

Likewise the other areas, this part also contains such type of nerve endings, but the most important thing about this body area is that it is highly sensitive; therefore, it is called as ‘erogenous zone’ which means love giving zone where special attention is given during sexual stimulation.

Head & Neck Muscles

The system of muscles is described by 2 types of muscle movements;

  • The first is the movement which activates head’s sensory organs.
  • The second is the movement which lets all such senses to be targeted properly.

Muscles enable head to move in different directions including pulling of skull against spine, scapula and shoulders. Most of them are formed in pairs and divided into two branches. One example of such muscles is the muscles found in back area of the neck which play their role to connect skull base to many other vertebrae.

They make head bow down to chest and also pull it erect. They also make face turn from one to the other side and when it is about showing facial expressions, the same muscles aid.

neck diagram

Neck Exercises & Stretches

1) Chin To Chest Stretch

Chin to chest stretch does not require any type of equipment.

2) Isometric Neck Exercise (front & back)

This exercise is especially effective for front and back muscles. In order to perform this exercise, you only need to use your own body.

3) Isometric Neck Exercise (side-to-side)

This workout is used to target sides and like the above mentioned exercise, it also requires only body.

4) Lying Face-Up Plate Neck Resistance

This exercise targets muscles of the same area as well.

5) Lying Face-Down Plate Neck Resistance

This workout is also considered to be an extremely effective one to target this important body part.

6) Seated Head Harness Neck Resistance

This exercise is also another great one for strengthen the neck.

7) Side Neck Stretch

This stretching exercise is a great way to stretch the muscles in neck.

Health Problems

Some of the health problems are as follows;

  • Acid reflux disease
  • Airway obstruction
  • Herniated disc
  • Laryngitis
  • Muscle sprain
  • Throat cancer
  • Vocal cord polyps
  • Whiplash
  • Pain

Neck Pain

It is a very common problem which is often caused by various types of disorders. You can often feel strain in your neck muscles which are usually caused by poor posture because of sitting in front of computer screen for many hours or some similar type of activity.

Though it is a very common health issue, in most of the cases it does not refer to some kind of serious health condition or it may not be considered a symptom. However, if you feel even mild pain, it is better to seek medical attention as soon as possible especially if you are also having problems with your hands, arms or shoulders.

Proper Diagnosis

The pain may normally be caused by the problems in vascular, nerve, airway, digestive, musculature or other body areas. Some of the minor and major causes are mentioned below which are from mild to severe;

Common Causes

  • Emotional or physical stresses
  • Prolonged or wrong postures
  • Poor sleeping posture
  • Muscular strains
  • Whiplash
  • Herniated disk
  • Pinched nerve
  • Upper back problems

Severe Causes

  • Acute coronary syndrome
  • Carotid artery dissection
  • Head cancer
  • Neck cancer
  • Infections
  • Spinal disc herniation
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylosis
  • Torticollis
  • Head injury
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Carotidynia
  • Congenital cervical rib
  • Mononucleosis
  • Rubella
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Cervical spine fracture
  • Esophageal trauma
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • Lymphadenitis
  • Thyroid trauma
  • Tracheal trauma

Treatments of Neck Problems

The treatments completely depend upon the causes of the problem. Serious injuries will require the professional help of a doctor like Dr Timothy Steel. However, most people can get relief with the help of simple treatments such as heat or cold applications or simply making a change to their posture. The use of medication is sometimes recommended, especially when dealing with painful injuries such as whiplash, or a neck brace may be used when it’s necessary to keep the neck still. In severe cases, one might have to go for physical therapy or even surgery, but this is needed much less often.

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