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Muscle balance is key for good movement in all parts of the body and the neck is no different.
See how well your neck moves by taking this simple test….
Neck flexion movement test
- Lay on your back with your arms relaxed by your sides.
- Slowly lift your head and neck until your lower shoulder blades lift from the floor.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds
- You can hold the top position comfortably for 10 seconds without your chin jutting or chest lifting, and you can feel the deep neck flexor muscles (in your throat area) working.
- You cannot hold for 10 seconds
- Your chin juts or chest lifts
- You cannot feel the deep neck flexor muscles (in your throat area) working.
- You feel neck pain.
What it means
Jutting of the chin occurs due to weakness of the deep neck flexors (the neck stabilizing muscles) which is then compensated for by the more superficial SCM muscles.
Chest elevation occurs as a result of dominance of upper chest fixators (pecs, upper trapezius, SCM, scalenes) over the lower chest fixators (abdominal muscles, diaphragm).
Dominance / overuse of these muscles can lead to muscle pain and tightness. This pain can be local (i.e. where the muscle is) as well as referred (distant to the muscle) – often into the head or arm. Look at the images below to see the typical referral patterns for some of these commonly involved muscles:
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This post was written by Steffen Toates. Steffen is a chiropractor at Dynamic Health Chiropractic in Jersey CI. For more information about Steffen click here.