One thing I see in my practice daily is the ever so uncomfortable pain in the neck. What affects your neck exactly? It could be a multitude of things, but what I see is tight muscles around your neck, muscles that attach to your spine and skull. Muscles that attach in the front of the neck that are involved with rotation and muscles that help hold your head up and only get a rest when you’re asleep. Let’s look first at the SCM (sternocleidomastoid) muscles.
If you take your hand and put it up to where your jaw hinges with your skull (around where your earlobe falls), you’ll feel a muscle that goes from your jaw down the side of your neck and ends up going to the front of your neck and passes the collar bone. It’s going to attach to your sternum. There are two sets of these muscles on both sides of your neck. These muscles are easy to find because the name explains where they attach:
Sterno = sternum; Cleido = collarbone; Mastoid = mastoid process which is the bony landmark just behind the ear.
These muscles bind the skull to the sternum and clavicle and is important for neck protection. It protects nerves, lymph nodes and soft tissues of the neck from damage. The primary function is for the SCM is for neck rotation. If you hold your head straight and turn to the right to look over your shoulder, your left SCM is doing its job. Now repeat to the left, look over your left shoulder and your right SCM is doing its job.
This is one set of muscles your massage therapist may work, in conjunction with muscles on the back and sides of your neck in order to give you relief from pain or restrictions.