The splenius muscle of the head and the splenius muscle of the neck work together so the neck and head can extend and rotate. The splenius muscle of the head, also known as the splenius capitis, is a broad muscle located at the back of the neck. It is attached to the base of the skull. The splenius muscle of the neck, also known as the splenius cervicis, is a smaller muscle that is positioned slightly lower than the splenius capitis. Damage or injury to the splenius muscle of the head or splenius muscle of the neck can cause neck pain, headaches, facial pain, or shoulder pain. Oftentimes, physical therapy, stretching, ice, or heat can help to alleviate the pain. Oral medications and medications injected into or around the muscle may also help to control the pain associated with the damage. For treatment of severe pain or prolonged pain, which is often accompanied by nausea or vomiting, radiofrequency thermoneurolysis is sometimes used.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
In Depth: Splenius