For a long time I've suffered from back pain, neck pain and pain around the eye--all on the right side. Just recently I found out that I can make the facial pain immediately disappear (during the stretch) if I push my chin/head back (still looking forward), and tilt my head the side about 1/3 of the way to the shoulder. I've noticed that if I tilt my head more than that, I lose the helpful stretch and just feel a stretch on the side of my neck).

I've done all kinds of supposed scalene, levator scapulae, and trapezius stretches in the past, with no results. But this chin-back-side-tilt stretch seems to really help. So what muscles/anatomy am I specifically targeting with this stretch?

1 Answer 1


It's a little hard to tell, but since you have ruled out the scalene, trapezius and levator scapulae, my first suspects would be the sternocleidomastoid, or possibly (if it is towards the front of the neck), the platysmus muscle.

This website, innerbody.com has a face muscle interface that is pretty nice, you can either hover over the muscle or the name, and it will highlight it for you, along with a description of the muscle and function.

  • 1
    Thanks for the info! Great website; I've frequently wished I could get my hands on a tool like that. I did a little digging on the muscles, you suggested, and found this information about SCM stretches taken from here. Looks like the exact stretch I was doing, and says it's most stretching the SCM. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction!
    – Pete
    Commented May 18, 2016 at 21:22

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