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The Most Overlooked Cause of Neck Pain

The Most Overlooked Cause of Neck Pain

In today’s world, we find ourselves more than ever sitting at desks, staring down at our phones, and falling privy to the demands of modern life. It’s no wonder that approximately 80% of people experience neck pain. While neck pain can be caused from an injury or misalignment, or from a slipped disc or herniation, there is one cause that seems to be overlooked: Deep Neck Flexor Weakness. Let's dive into what this is, what it means, and how you can treat it.

What Are Deep Neck Flexors?


The deep neck flexors include four muscles behind the trachea on the front of the cervical spine. These muscles are the longus colli, longus capitis, rectus capitis, and longus cervicis. They are really close to the spine, and are considered the primary stabilizers of the cervical spine.

When these muscles are compromised, it could cause neck pain or even radiating pain down to the shoulders.

The Deep Neck Test

Described thoroughly in this article, this is a test that some doctors, chiropractors or physical therapists use to assess the muscles in question. Essentially, the clinician has the patient lay down flat on their back, and then do a chin tuck. Next, have the patient lift their head approximately one inch off the table, without lifting their shoulders, and hold that position for as long as they can. If the patient is unable to hold their neck for 30-40 seconds, this test is considered positive for weak deep neck flexors.

Treatment Options

With a combined effort of adjustments and specific exercises to help the muscles and spinal segments stay in the proper place, as well as other modalities such as ultrasound or soft tissue mobilization, your BC + PT chiropractor can start the healing process.

No one deserves to live in pain, so if you are experiencing pain in your neck or back and don’t know what steps you need to take, give us a call today or fill out one of our contact forms to see what our chiropractors or physical therapists can do for you!


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