Pain in the Neck

Neck massage continues to be the most commonly requested by clients and one of the most challenging for therapists. And no wonder - there is a lot of bone, muscular, nerve and vascular tissue there, all in the close proximity and often encroaching into each other’s territory. In the next few weeks, I’ll add some blog entries about my experiences doing neck massages. For now, just an observation:

Throughout the course of a day, neck muscles work to adjust the posture of the head. Contracting individually or in pairs, they perform flexion, extension, rotation and lateral flexion of the neck. Neck muscles have some of the greatest endurance of all muscles in the body.

It is interesting that nature gave us 4 muscles to nod our head saying "Yes", and 17 muscles to shake our head saying "No" (see the list below). Clearly we were meant to say "No" more often.

As I finished writing this, it felt good to realize that all the rejection I experienced in high school happened not because I was unattractive, but because girls just had more “No” muscles in their necks.

These 4 muscles flex the neck when we say “Yes”:


Anterior Scalene

Longus Capitis

Longus Colli.

These 17 muscles rotate the neck when we say “No”:


Anterior Scalene

Middle Scalene

Posterior Scalene




Levator Scapula

Splenius Capitis

Splenius Cervicis

Rectus Capitis Posterior Major

Oblique Capitis Inferior

Longus Colli

Longus Capitis

Longissimus Capitis

Longissimus Cervicis

Iliocostalis Cervicis.

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