The muscles play an interesting role in the neck and especially in whiplash injury. The neck muscles are responsible for keeping the head up and maintaining posture.
The muscles of the neck can be exposed to dramatic stretch forces during an auto collision, as we can see in the movie to the right. As the torso is moved forward during the crash, the head rotates backward, stretching the large muscles in the front of the neck.
Immediately after a crash, many patients will complain of neck muscle pain, and this is often from this stretching motion. Unfortunately, scar tissue can develop in these muscles leading to other problems. Studies have found that this scar tissue can affect the nerves of the neck, leading to conditions like thoracic outlet syndrome.
Neck muscle pain can also be due to injury to the ligaments or disc in the spine.
Neck muscle injury from whiplash can also result in shoulder pain.