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Anatomy Contest – Neck Rotation Answer

5/5 - (8 votes)
Last week I posed an anatomy question as part of a contest. The winner was chosen at random from a list of the entrants that provided correct answers. I am happy to announce the winner is Sharmila Gupta from Yorkshire, Great Britain. She won one year of access to the Massage Technique Library.


I was pleasantly surprised by how many of you participated in this contest. You provided some very thoughtful answers and comments.


Several of you were surprised to find that different anatomy books have contradictory information. Some of this is because of anatomical variations. We are not all built the same, so origins and insertions of muscles may vary. Medical texts often list the variations and the percentages of people that have those variations. Differences about the actions of muscles may be from a difference of opinion, but also can be because of errors. Sometimes an author makes an error in a text and then it gets copied by other authors.


The book that I like most as a reference is the Muscular System Manual by Joseph Muscolino.


The question I posed last week was: What are four muscles that do contralateral rotation of the neck?


I said there were two in the front of the neck and two in back. The two in the front are Sternocleidomastoid and the Scalenes. The two in the back are the Semispinalis muscles and the Upper Trapezius. Most of you got at least one answer, and many of you got all four.


I show techniques to work with the posterior neck muscles in the attached video. I have other videos of techniques in the library for working with the anterior neck muscles.
The most common incorrect answer was Splenius Capitis, which does ipsilateral rotation of the neck. I am curious if there is an anatomy book that says it does contralateral rotation. I worked with six different anatomy texts and they all said it does ipsilateral rotation.


The Techniques:


I showed two techniques for working with the semispinalis muscles and the upper trapezius.


1)  To work with the semispinalis muscles and the serratus posterior superior, I start with the client supine and the neck and head rotated away from the side I am working on. I place my fingerpads on the base of the neck just anterior to the edge of the trapezius, then slide my fingers inferiorly onto the posterior aspect of the upper ribs. I then rotate my client’s head and neck toward the side I am working on while I slide my fingers medially and superiorly toward the spinous processes of the cervical vertebrae. This also can be done with the client actively turning their head.


2)  Reach in under your client’s neck and hook around the lower cervical spine on the opposite side with your fingers. Turn your client’s head toward that side while sliding your fingers superiorly up the neck, finishing with traction as you reach the occipital bone. This also can be done with the client actively turning their head.


For the second technique, I show a video in which I used plexiglass and a mirror so you can see what my hands are doing under the client’s neck. The video was shot at Makami College in Edmonton, Alberta.


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