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Muscles of the anterior neck

This figure shows the front view of a person’s neck with the major muscle groups labeled.
The anterior muscles of the neck facilitate swallowing and speech. The suprahyoid muscles originate from above the hyoid bone in the chin region. The infrahyoid muscles originate below the hyoid bone in the lower neck.

The suprahyoid muscles raise the hyoid bone, the floor of the mouth, and the larynx during deglutition. These include the digastric    muscle, which has anterior and posterior bellies that work to elevate the hyoid bone and larynx when one swallows; it also depresses the mandible. The stylohyoid    muscle moves the hyoid bone posteriorly, elevating the larynx, and the mylohyoid    muscle lifts it and helps press the tongue to the top of the mouth. The geniohyoid    depresses the mandible in addition to raising and pulling the hyoid bone anteriorly.

The strap-like infrahyoid muscles generally depress the hyoid bone and control the position of the larynx. The omohyoid    muscle, which has superior and inferior bellies, depresses the hyoid bone in conjunction with the sternohyoid    and thyrohyoid    muscles. The thyrohyoid muscle also elevates the larynx’s thyroid cartilage, whereas the sternothyroid    depresses it to create different tones of voice.

Muscles that move the head

The head, attached to the top of the vertebral column, is balanced, moved, and rotated by the neck muscles ( [link] ). When these muscles act unilaterally, the head rotates. When they contract bilaterally, the head flexes or extends. The major muscle that laterally flexes and rotates the head is the sternocleidomastoid    . In addition, both muscles working together are the flexors of the head. Place your fingers on both sides of the neck and turn your head to the left and to the right. You will feel the movement originate there. This muscle divides the neck into anterior and posterior triangles when viewed from the side ( [link] ).

Posterior and lateral views of the neck

The left panel shows the lateral view of the neck. The middle panel shows the superficial neck muscles, and the right panel shows the deep neck muscles
The superficial and deep muscles of the neck are responsible for moving the head, cervical vertebrae, and scapulas.
Muscles That Move the Head
Movement Target Target motion direction Prime mover Origin Insertion
Rotates and tilts head to the side; tilts head forward Skull; vertebrae Individually: rotates head to opposite side; bilaterally: flexion Sternocleidomastoid Sternum; clavicle Temporal bone (mastoid process); occipital bone
Rotates and tilts head backward Skull; vertebrae Individually: laterally flexes and rotates head to same side; bilaterally: extension Semispinalis capitis Transverse and articular processes of cervical and thoracic vertebra Occipital bone
Rotates and tilts head to the side; tilts head backward Skull; vertebrae Individually: laterally flexes and rotates head to same side; bilaterally: extension Splenius capitis Spinous processes of cervical and thoracic vertebra Temporal bone (mastoid process); occipital bone
Rotates and tilts head to the side; tilts head backward Skull; vertebrae Individually: laterally flexes and rotates head to same side; bilaterally: extension Longissimus capitis Transverse and articular processes of cervical and thoracic vertebra Temporal bone (mastoid process)

Questions & Answers

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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology: support and movement. OpenStax CNX. Aug 21, 2014 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11700/1.1
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