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The neck is the connector to the head and shoulders, allowing mobility and functionality to stabilize the head from dropping down. The neck is also part of the cervical spine, where many neuron pathways, ligaments, and muscles work with the central nervous system to provide sensory-motor signals to the brain. The neck muscles also work together with the shoulder and upper back muscles to function for the upper extremities. These are known as the splenius muscles and help support the cervical spine. However, like all muscles in the body, the neck can succumb to traumatic injuries or common factors that can cause the neck muscles to be overused, injured, and strained to cause the nerves to send out disruptive signals to the brain and issues to develop. Today’s article looks at the splenius muscles on the neck, how trigger points affect the splenius muscles, and how to manage neck pain associated with trigger points. We refer patients to certified providers who specialize in musculoskeletal treatments to aid individuals suffering from myofascial trigger pain associated with neck pain affecting the splenius muscles. We also guide our patients by referring them to our associated medical providers based on their examination when appropriate. We ensure to find that education is the solution to asking our providers insightful questions. Dr. Jimenez DC observes this information as an educational service only. Disclaimer
The Splenius Muscles On The Neck
Have you been experiencing muscle pain in your neck? What about feeling tightness on the sides of your neck when you move your head from side to side? Or do random headaches seem to pop out of nowhere and affect your day? Most of these symptoms are associated with neck pain affecting the splenius muscles and can cause overlapping issues affecting the neck and the upper back. The splenius muscles are split into two muscle groups: the splenius capitis and the splenius cervicis. Both of the splenius muscles each have a job for neck functionality. The splenius capitis provides rotation and extension to the head, while the splenius cervicis provides rotation and extends to the cervical spine. The splenius capitis fibers are connected with the SCM (sternocleidomastoid) muscles that help move the head. The splenius cervicis encompasses the upper three cervical vertebrae and attach their muscle fibers to scapulae muscles. Even though these two muscles offer different functions, they could potentially be involved in injuries that can cause neck and upper back issues.
How Trigger Points Affect The Splenius Muscles
One of the most common complaints many people seem to be impacted is shoulder and neck pain. Various factors can cause an impact on the shoulders and neck due to overusing the splenius muscles connected to the neck and shoulders and developing trigger points associated with the splenius muscles. Studies reveal that trigger points or myofascial pain can make the splenius muscles hypersensitive and tender along the taut band of the splenius muscles. To that point, the splenius muscles become palpable and produce localized pain to other structures along the neck, shoulders, and head. Trigger points are a bit complex to diagnose because they mimic other chronic issues that affect the body and potentially involve many common symptoms that could happen daily. Studies reveal that common symptoms like headaches are associated with trigger points along the head, neck, and shoulder muscles. Since trigger points are challenging to diagnose, they can make the taut band of the musculoskeletal fibers and become either active or latent when pressure is on the affected area. To that point, causes tension occurs in the body’s head, neck, and shoulders. Fortunately, various ways to manage trigger point pain are associated with neck pain along the splenius muscles.
Trigger Points & Splenius Muscles- Video
Have you been dealing with random headaches that randomly occur throughout the day? What about experiencing muscle stiffness and tenderness located on your neck and shoulders? Or have you been experiencing poor sleep throughout the night? Most of these symptoms are associated with trigger point pain associated with neck pain along the splenius muscles. The video above explains how trigger points affect the splenius muscles and some of the causes that lead to the development of trigger point pain along the splenius muscles. Many people dealing with trigger points associated with neck pain often explain to their doctors that they have been feeling muscle stiffness along their neck, causing limited mobility. Studies reveal that active myofascial trigger points along the neck and shoulder muscles elicited referred pain to contribute to symptoms of pain intensity, disability, and poor sleep quality to mechanical neck pain. To that point, many individuals try to incorporate various treatments to alleviate the symptoms and manage neck pain associated with trigger points.
Managing Neck Pain Associated With Trigger Points
Many people dealing with neck pain associated with trigger points along the splenius muscles often don’t realize that some causes affect how the muscles are used. Ordinary factors like poor posture, looking down at the phones, or leaning closer to any screens can cause strain on the splenius muscles. In contrast, traumatic factors like whiplash or auto accidents can inflict pain on the muscle fibers. Various ways to manage neck pain associated with trigger points are non-invasive unless the pain is severe. When a person goes to their primary doctor for a routine check-up, they describe the symptoms of pain affecting their bodies while the doctor examines them. Once the issue is diagnosed, many doctors will refer their patients to a pain specialist specializing in the matter. So say if a person is dealing with neck pain associated with trigger point pain along their splenius muscles that is causing them headaches, would be referred to a pain specialist like a chiropractor to relieve myofascial trigger pain along the splenius muscles that are suffering from spinal subluxation in the musculoskeletal system. Spinal adjustments allow the stiff muscles to become loose and even break up the adhesion of the trigger points on the muscle. Incorporating chiropractic care to treat neck pain associated with trigger points can bring back functionality to the body.
The neck allows the head to be mobile and help keeps it stable. As part of the cervical spine, the neck has many neuron pathways, ligaments, and muscles that work with the central nervous system to provide sensory-motor function. The muscles that provide functionality to the shoulders, neck, and upper back are called the splenius muscles. The splenius muscles consist of two groups: the capitis and cervicis, which have different jobs for neck functionality. However, like any muscle in the body may potentially be impacted by various issues that can cause neck and upper back issues. Common and traumatic issues can lead to the development of myofascial trigger pain along the neck muscles. To that point causes neck pain and disability to the neck. When this happens, various treatments are available to manage neck pain associated with myofascial pain and alleviate the symptoms, causing relief to the neck.
Chatchawan, Uraiwan, et al. “Characteristics and Distributions of Myofascial Trigger Points in Individuals with Chronic Tension-Type Headaches.” Journal of Physical Therapy Science, The Society of Physical Therapy Science, Apr. 2019, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6451952/.
Henson, Brandi, et al. “Anatomy, Back, Muscles – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf.” In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL), StatPearls Publishing, 10 Aug. 2021, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537074/.
Muñoz-Muñoz , Sonsoles, et al. “Myofascial Trigger Points, Pain, Disability, and Sleep Quality in Individuals with Mechanical Neck Pain.” Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 2012, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23158466/.
Ribeiro, Daniel Cury, et al. “The Prevalence of Myofascial Trigger Points in Neck and Shoulder-Related Disorders: A Systematic Review of the Literature.” BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, BioMed Central, 25 July 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6060458/.
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