The local and referred pain patterns of the longus colli muscle

J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2017 Apr;21(2):267-273. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2016.06.020. Epub 2016 Jul 5.


The longus colli muscle is a neck flexor believed to play an important role in pain originating in the neck region, including pain resulting from whiplash injuries. Despite the clinical importance attributed to it, the pain referral pattern of the longus colli has previously been described only in a small cohort of subjects. Here, we aim to delineate the pain referral pattern of the longus colli muscle. Thirty-five healthy volunteers underwent deep massage of the longus colli followed by dry needling of the muscle. The subjects depicted the distribution of the pain they experienced on a blank manikin. Their drawings were digitized and used to produce pain pattern histogram maps. The pain referral pattern during deep massage and needling of the longus colli was primarily local, with referral to the ipsilateral ear and lateral to the ipsilateral eye. Some subjects reported pain on the contralateral side of the neck.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neck Muscles / diagnostic imaging
  • Neck Muscles / pathology*
  • Needles
  • Pain, Referred / pathology*
  • Therapy, Soft Tissue