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By February 21, 2018MUSCULO-SKELETAL

The significance and function of Sternocleidomastoid Muscle.

The bones and muscles in the body play a very vital role to support the well-being and health of a person. Muscles not only add to the aesthetic appeal but serve a far bigger purpose, they keep the bones in place and allow easy movement of bones, joints and ligaments in entire body. The muscular system is composed of muscle fibers and their main purpose is contractibility. The bones, joints, ligaments and nerves are integrated with the muscles which allows a person in maintaining a stable posture and move his body whether standing up, sitting down or walking. The majority of movement is due to muscle contraction and the skeletal muscles are constantly making adjustments to facilitate various body positions such as twisting the neck or bending the back.

Sternocleidomastoid Muscle:

Human neck is one of the vital part of human body connecting the head with the lower part of the body. The neck is composed of many important bones, muscles and blood vessels that support the movement of the head and supply the sensory and other information from the brain to rest of the organs. The muscles of the neck are connected to the base of the skull, clavicles, hyoid bone and sternum. The sternocleidomastoid muscle are two of the largest cervical muscles located at the side of the neck and it positions the neck movement at the front while lattissimus dorsi and trapezius contribute to the neck position at the back. The sternocleidomastoid muscle spreads from thorax region to the skull base which is the area behind the human ear. The sternocleidomastoid muscle is thick but narrow in the center and large and thinner on the ends.  The sternocleidomastoid muscle primary purpose is the rotation of the head, one head of the muscle is attached to the clavicle (collarbone) and other end is attached to the sternum (breastbone) at the base of the human throat.

Function of Sternocleidomastoid Muscle:

As the neck consists of the cervical region, the sternocleidomastoid muscle originate from the clavicle and sternum. The contraction of the long sternocleidomastoid muscle helps the movement of cervical vertebral column. When the sternocleidomastoid muscle of one side contracts, the face moves in the opposite direction. When the sternocleidomastoid muscle of both side contracts the neck is bended towards the chest. When the position of head is fixed the clavicles and sternum are elevated which in turn expands the thoracic region.

Significance of Sternocleidomastoid Muscle:

The location of sternocleidomastoid muscle in the neck is such that a person can feel the movement of the muscles when he or she moves the neck. Accessory nerve is responsible for supplying blood to the sternocleidomastoid and trapezius muscles. The contraction of sternocleidomastoid muscles begins in the accessory nerve. The various function of sternocleidomastoid muscle include

  • Ability to turn the head from the side to side
  • Bending the neck forward to bring the head closer to the chest
  • Making it easier to turn the head sideways
  • Helping in chewing and swallowing of the food properly

But like any other bone and muscle of the body, the sternocleidomastoid muscle may also develop some pain at any point which can affect other related areas of the head along with jaw and neck. A person may feel slight discomfort and pain in form of stiffness and a bit dizziness which are the reasons of dysfunction of the sternocleidomastoid muscle. The causes and activities which can cause pain in sternocleidomastoid muscle include sudden and accelerated movement of the neck, asthma, chest breathing, sleeping awkwardly, and painting with your head turned upwards and doing vigorous carpentry. There are certain creams and therapy gel which a person can apply on the side of the neck to ease the pain in the sternocleidomastoid muscles.

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