Splenius Cervicis is one of the muscles located in your neck to support body movements. It is linked to the back muscle that is paired with the prevertebral area of the neck. Moreover, the back is supported by the layer of muscles made up of splenius cervicis and splenius capitis. These muscles also protected the other muscles in your spinal column.
Anatomy of Splenius Cervicis
Splenius cervicis is a paired, flat bow-shaped muscle that is located on the posterolateral side of the neck. It is also attached to a flat muscle located on the back side of the neck at the exact place where the bone spur of thoracic vertebrae T3-T6 exists and the muscle fibers are located diagonally to superolateral. Due to the bony projection of cervical vertebrae C1-C3 muscle fibers bend to make space for tubercles.
There is a layered structure named superficial cervical fascia which covers all neck muscles including splenius cervicis. Furthermore, this structure is categorized based on its muscles and their location.
Deep muscles include the sternocleidomastoid and trapezius, whereas superficial muscles include the semispinalis capitis and longissimus capitis. Splenius capitis is flanked on the inferolateral side by splenius cervicis, which blends in almost completely. Lower cervical spinal neurons specifically posterior rami supply nerves to this muscle.
How blood is being supplied to these neck muscles?
The muscle’s arterial blood supply is provided by:
- The vertebral artery that runs through the spine
- Cervical artery deep
- The occipital artery’s descending branch
- The transverse cervical artery (blood vessel) that runs through the neck
- The superior intercostal artery (blood vessel) that runs between the ribs
Splenius cervicis’ venous drainage is similar to its arterial supply. Blood is supplied to these muscles by muscular branches going from the occipital artery out of the external carotid artery. The blood supply is also provided by dorsal branches extending from the posterior intercostal arteries out of the thoracic aorta.
Functions of Splenius Cervicis
Ipsilateral flexion and rotation of the neck are caused by unilateral splenius cervicis contraction. The muscle’s neck extension is vital when standing up from a sitting position as it places the neck at a specific angle from which the longus capitis may return the head into a neutral position once the body is upright.
Injuries to Splenius Cervicis
An injury to the splenius cervicis is commonly associated with the discomfort that extends from the upper back to the base of the skull in the neck. If a person has intense, throbbing pain that starts at the back of the head and goes to the back of the eye, it could be the result of an injury to the splenius cervicis. Migraine headaches are common in those who have injured the splenius cervicis. In addition to the headache, it causes impaired vision and numbness or pressure in the back of the head. The persistent tension headache can be caused by both muscles ‘splenius capitis’ and ‘splenius cervicis’. Stretching and exercises can help reduce the pain.
How does stretching help?
The pain in the neck muscles can be caused by any of the following factors, including splenius cervicis.
- Seating at a computer workstation for a long time
- Sleeping in an improper position
- Getting whiplash following a car accident
- Excessive weight lifting or pulling (especially at the gym)
- Using a cane or walking stick that isn’t properly fitted
In above all conditions regular stretching can help in pain management. The muscles and joints seem to stiffen and tighten with each passing year, physical degradation, and inactivity. Although we can’t stop ourselves from becoming older, we can enhance our flexibility in the muscles of the neck, back, and shoulders. This is a very basic stretch that almost anyone can do, and it’s especially good for the folks who sit for long periods such as office workers and drivers.
If you experience any pain but are unaware of the stretching program, you must get counseling from a highly qualified healthcare expert. You can take certain precautions or simple stretching to get rid of it;
- Keep your head up and straight ahead while standing or sitting.
- Push your head forward by pushing out your chin.
- Keep your head up during this stretch.
- Keep your chin from falling to the ground.
Following exercises will help in your pain management related to splenius cervicis.
- Chin-To-Chest Movement: Using the upper back muscle and the deltoids to extend the muscle while stabilizing it. Place your head as far forward as possible in a chair. Place one or both hands on the head, with the fingertips touching the skull bone. To deepen the stretch, exhale and gradually apply pressure to the back of the neck. For a few minutes, stay in this position. Hold each posture for a few minutes while performing one to four repetitions with the head rotated to the left and four repetitions with the head rotated to the right.
- Neck Strengthening Exercise: Keep your chin tucked and hyper-extend your neck above the horizontal while lying face down with your head dangling over a bench. The muscles at the back of your lower neck will begin to contract.
If your pain gets worst day by day despite of the home remedies and above-mentioned simple stretching, you should consult the doctor. This chronic pain can be caused by tension in the spinalis cervicis, semifinalist cervicis, longissimus cervicis, levitator scapulae, and trapezius rhomboids. So, your doctor can better diagnose the disease, and its possible cause and will recommend treatment accordingly