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Deep cervical flexors

Deep cervical flexors

17th January 2017

The Deep Cervical Flexors (DCF) are a group of muscles that work to flex and side- bend the neck. They work as the neck ‘core’, providing stability in holding the head up against gravity and to stabilise the head during movement through the rest of the body. Research shows that individuals with weakness of the DCF are more susceptible to neck pain, a condition affecting between 30% and 50% of the population annually!! The Deep Cervical Flexors consist of these following muscles:

  • Longus Colli
  • Longus Capitus
  • Rectus Capitus Anterior Rectus Capitus Lateralis

Can the Deep Cervical Flexors be strengthened?

Yes!! There is a range of exercises that can aid with strengthening these muscles and can easily be done at home or the workplace. It is advised that an assessment with an Osteopath is sought before undertaking this type of exercise to minimise any risk of injury and/or incorrect activation of these muscles.

Screen Shot 2019 08 27 at 4 25 37 pm Our CHH Naturopath/ Acupuncturist Joseph Ferraro demonstrating common causes of poor posture and associated strain on the neck.


Exercise 1: Wall slide

Stand against a wall with the shoulders and back of the head contacting the wall surface. Gently tuck the chin whilst also drawing the back of the head up the wall. This movement should be slow and controlled to ensure that activation of other neck muscles is minimised. Aim to flatten the back of the neck against the wall, or pretend that you are trying to gain an extra few cm on a height chart.

Screen Shot 2019 08 27 at 4 26 07 pm Wall slide

Exercise 2: Lateral Cervical isometric hold

Holding a hand against the side of the head, gently push against the hand using the neck. The aim is to keep the hand steady against the resistance and therefore contract the DCF. With this exercise only a gentle pressure is required. This article is for information only, for a diagnosis and treatment of a musculoskeletal condition consult your Osteopath or primary healthcare professional.

This article is for information purposes only. Please consult your Osteopath or primary healthcare professional for further information.

Screen Shot 2019 08 27 at 4 26 12 pm Lateral Cervical isometric hold