A paradox exists with this section. So many conditions amenable to mechanical drainage of non vascular edema occur here but there are only a few movements or loading strategies that can be performed. In my head and neck seminar I’ll include the brachial plexus and upper thoracic spine.
I approach the head and neck from four divisions. The neck and upper thoracic spine both ventral and dorsal primary rami are two sections. The neurocranium and viscerocranium and their associated soft tissues make up the other two.
The dorsal rami of the neck and upper thoracic spine will include the posterior muscles, posterior vertebral joints and skin. The ventral rami make up the brachial and cervical plexus and will include discs, prevertebral muscles, muscles of the upper limb and shoulder girdle, some skin sensation, and cranial nerve communication. Of course the cervical spinal cord is here too.
The neurocranium involves the bones housing the brain. Associated soft tissues include the brain, sympathetic nervous system, scalp, etc. The viscerocranium involves bones and cartilage of the branchial arches. Associated soft tissues include joints, muscles, mucosa, nerve and blood supply of the face, mouth, pharynx and larynx.
Joints of the viscerocranium are the temporomandibular, middle ear, sutures, and the cartilaginous synovial crico-arytenoid-thyroid complex of the larynx. Some nerves are cranials V, VII, IX, X, XI, XII (pharyngeal plexus), cervical plexus and autonomics.
In knowing the embryological development of the pharyngeal arches the practitioner will have clues on how to effectively treat various conditions affecting this region. For example, loading the stylohyoid ligament may affect stapedius muscle. Developmentally, Reichert’s Cartilage from the hyoid arch formed both these structures.