Splenius Capitis and Cervicis

Splenius Capitis and Cervicis

Shown above is the pain pattern for the Splenius Capitis and Cervicis . Pain refers from the base of the neck upward to the back of the head, top of the head and behind the eye.

Activities Which Aggravate the Pain:
Falling asleep with the head and neck in a crooked position. Reading a book with your head bent downwards, watching television for long periods of time.

Positions that Aggravate Pain from this Muscle:
Sleep on a couch or chair armrest. This figure shows where the muscle is located in the body and how it is attached to the bones of the body.

Anatomy Facts - Splenius Capitis and Cervicis

Muscle Action
Both of these muscles work to extend and assist with rotation of the head.

Muscle Origin
The splenius capitis arises from the spinous processes of C3-T3. The splenius cervicis arises from the spinous processes of T3-T6.

Muscle Insertion
The splenius capitis inserts on the mastoid process and the lateral occiput. The splenius cervicis inserts on the posterior tubercles of the transverse process of C1-C3.

Muscle Innervation
Lateral branches of the dorsal division of spinal nerves C2-C4.

Trigger Point Locations -
Splenius Capitis and Cervicis

You can find your own trigger points by using your thumb or finger to press on the spots shown in the picture. They are not difficult to find. Or you can ask a friend or family member to help you. Press firmly in a step-by-step manner until you find the exact spot that is tender. That is the trigger point.

By pressing firmly on the trigger point, and holding that pressure for several seconds, you will discover the pain lessens dramatically. In fact there are devices that can help you do this. We recommend a device called a "TheraCane" that can be purchased at many stores such as Sammons Preston Medical Equipment that has a mail order catalogue that can be contacted at 1 800 323-5547. The TheraCane is their item # 5244. The TheraCane can use be purchased at many local pharmacies.

Unfortunately this technique, known as acupressure, or shiatsu, provides only temporary relief. Some physicians inject drugs like Novocaine into trigger points, but these offer only temporary relief as well, and can cause scar tissue in the muscle.

Isometric Contraction Testing -
Splenius Capitis and Cervicis

A painful muscle will become more painful if it is forcefully contracted (flexed). Use this picture to test this for yourself with the assistance of a friend or family member.

Follow these Directions
Sit facing forward, while your assistant stands behind you and places the heels of his or her palms at the base of your skull with his or her thumbs making an inverted V and the fingers of each hand pointing upward and outward above your ears in a "baseball mitt position." Attempt to push your head straight backward while your assistant prevents you from doing so. For the Splenius Cervicis, attempt to push your head backwards while also turning your head toward the painful side.