Neck Anatomy Pictures Bones, Muscles, Nerves
Your neck certainly has a great deal of responsibility each day. From supporting the head to containing the spinal cord and nerves as they emerge from the skull, this structure does it all.
The neck has the ability to support a great deal of weight too; the human head weighs nearly as much as the average bowling ball at around ten to twelve pounds respectively.
Read on to learn more about the structures of the neck to better understand its very important role and many functions for your body.
Muscles of the Neck:
The neck has many muscles for support and structure. The muscles of the neck also provide the mechanism for swallowing, speaking, yawning, and moving the head around as well. With the weight that must be supported these muscles are strong and ready for duty. However, the muscles of the neck can be easily strained or injured. These injuries may occur through repetitive use or through immediate injury through sports or other everyday tasks. Below is a listing of the muscles within the neck and a quick description of each muscles job.
· Longus Colli- Begins between the third and sixth cervical vertebrae, responsible for flexion of the head and neck.
· Longus Capitis- Begins between the third and sixth cervical vertebrae, responsible for flexion of the neck
· Rectus Capitis Anterior- Begins at the first cervical vertebrae, responsible for flexion of the neck
· Rectus Capitis Lateralis- Originates from the first cervical vertebrae, responsible for allowing the neck to bend to the side.
· Scalene Muscles – Originates within the cervical column of the neck generally, these muscles are responsible for lifting the first and second ribs
· Levator Scapulae – Originates between the first and fourth cervical vertebrae, responsible for movement of the scapula (shoulder blade) in an upward and downward motion.
· Rectus Capitis Lateralis- Originates from the first cervical vertebrae and allows the neck to flex from side to side.
· Obliques Capitis Superior- Originates at the first cervical vertebrae and provides for extension of the neck along with side to side flexion.
· Obliques Capitis Inferior- Originates at the second cervical vertebrae and is responsible for the rotation of the neck along with the rotation of the head as well.
Bones of the Neck:
The neck as you can see the neck is quite a complex structure. With seven cervical bones or vertebrae it has a great deal of ability for flexion, extension, and rotation. The bones that make up the neck are responsible for support and structure along with protection of the spinal cord as it exits the skull. Below is a description of the cervical bones and their respective functions.
· C1- Is called the Atlas of the neck and has the skull resting directly on it. This vertebra is fused with C2 for a shared body. This is the uppermost of the cervical vertebrae.
· C2- This vertebra is fused with C1, is called the axis, and provides a way for C1, or the atlas to turn allowing for rotation of the head.
· C3- C7- The vertebrae in this area are very much like the rest of the spinal column in design and provide for the extension of the neck while also allowing the neck to move from side to side.
Nerves within the Neck:
The nerves of the neck are vast in number and too numerous to name here. Many nerves from the cranium originate in this area as do the spinal nerves.
In fact the neck is the highway from the nervous system connecting with the back and skull to provide a continuous outlet for the nerves.
The neck also protects the nerves and the spinal cord as well to help maintain a healthy nervous system. Injury to the neck or repetitive strain can damage the nerves of the neck as can major trauma.
If the neck is injured during major trauma even the nerves of the diaphragm can be interrupted causing death. This is common in injury to the first and second cervical vertebrae.
Other injuries are generally less severe and may result in upper extremity numbness or paralysis in some cases.
Neck pain can result from major or minor injuries and should be treated promptly for the best outcomes.