In the skeleton the neck is represented by a column composed of the seven cervical vertebrae, but in the clothed skeleton this column is strengthened by strong muscles, which also carry out the movements of the head. Two of these muscles, the sterno-mastoid, stand out prominently on either side of the neck, especially in muscular men; in women the neck is rounded off, as a rule, by subcutaneous fat. This may be over-developed in stout people of either sex, and is the cause of a double chin.
Just beneath and attached to the skin on either side of the neck is a thin sheet of muscle, the platysma myoides, which represents the muscle beneath the skin all over the body in lower animals, whereby the skin may be twitched and flies driven off. Beneath the skin there are also veins.
In the front of the neck from above downwards are the hyoid bone, the larynx and the trachea. In front, on either side, of the upper part of the trachea is the thyroid gland. Behind these structures is the lower part of the pharynx, and part of the gullet, or esophagus, and on either side of the digestive tract there is a fibrous sheath containing the carotid artery and internal jugular vein, and behind and between these the vagus nerve.
From the spinal nerves emerging in the neck are formed two plexuses, the cervical and the brachial. One of the nerves from the former, the phrenic, passes down on either side to supply the corresponding side of the diaphragm.
Branches from the brachial plexus supply the upper extremity. In some people an additional rib may extend out from the seventh cervical vertebra, and sometimes also from the sixth one. The branches of the brachial plexus may be stretched over such cervical ribs, and pain, wasting and weakness of the limb may be caused in this way. The subclavian artery may also be pushed up and suggest an aneurysm at the root of the neck.
In the neck are several groups of lymphatic glands, and a swelling in the neck in young people is generally due to inflammation of these glands. A swelling may also be due to a branchial cyst which is formed from a space persisting from one of the branchial, or gill, clefts found in the embryo, the space may even open on the surface of the neck, constituting a branchial fistula.
An extensive swelling of the neck may be caused by inflammation in the loose tissue between the different layers of structures, that is to say, a cellulitis, which is likely to be associated with abscess formation. In this circumstance the pus does not escape readily, as the neck is enclosed by a sheet of fascia, and is, moreover, divided into compartments by sheets of fascia passing across the neck; an abscess may therefore be diverted down into the mediastinum. One of these sheets lies in front of the vertebral column, and an abscess behind this, which is usually Tuberculosis and connected with the bodies of the vertebrae, may not burst forward into the pharynx, but be guided by the fascia out to the side of the neck.
A broken neck is almost sure to be fatal, owing to the proximity of the bulb of the brain, which contains vital nerve centers, but in some instances recovery has taken place. See: Goiter.. Thyroid gland..
Application and treatment:
May be due to improper position of head during sleep; chilling of the local area; slight neck muscle strain that causes pain and neck rotation impairment. Pain can be relieved with positive polarity applied to both sides of neck for 20 minutes. Apply energy daily and use with moderate massage.
Apply energy from elbow to shoulder and also relieve stomach congestion – left arm for left side of stomach and right arm for right side of stomach. Neck Congestion: Apply energy by standing in back of seated patient, place thumbs over pads at neck base and press downward at about 45 degree angle to release tension which may be painful.
Apply energy with pads for 30 minutes daily. Apply energy to 7th cervical vertebra for spinal cord, spinal nerves, and bones for neck pain relief; also pituitary, and thyroid glands.