Omohyoid Syndrome: Symptoms & Treatment

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Dan Washmuth

Dan has taught college Nutrition and Anatomy courses for over 5 years. He has a B.S. in Exercise Physiology from Furman University and a M.S. in Dietetics & Nutrition from Florida International University. He is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and a Certified Exercise Physiologist (EP-C)

The omohyoid muscle is a very important muscle of the neck that can sometimes get irritated and damaged, leading to omohyoid syndrome. Be sure to check out this lesson to learn all about omohyoid syndrome, including its symptoms and treatment. Updated: 10/27/2020

Omohyoid Syndrome

Sophie is a 27-year-old nurse who recently bought and ate sushi from a gas station. About four hours after eating this sushi, Sophie started to vomit violently, and the vomiting lasted pretty much through the entire night.

A couple of days after her bout with food poisoning, Sophie was experiencing pain on both sides of her neck, right above her collarbones. This pain would increase anytime Sophie would swallow. Worried about these symptoms, Sophie went to her doctor. After evaluating Sophie, the doctor informed her that she had omohyoid syndrome.

Omohyoid syndrome is a condition in which the omohyoid muscle gets irritated or damaged. This damage is often caused by excessive vomiting (like we saw with Sophie) and car accidents that cause whiplash to the neck.

The omohyoid muscle is a thin, long muscle located on both sides of the neck. This muscle originates from the top of each of the scapulae (shoulder blades) and then travels up through the neck and attaches to the bottom of the hyoid bone. The hyoid bone is a U-shaped bone in the middle of the neck. The omohyoid muscle functions to lower the hyoid bone, particularly during a swallow.

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  • 0:04 Omohyoid Syndrome
  • 1:19 Symptoms
  • 1:46 Treatment
  • 2:28 Lesson Summary
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Symptoms of Omohyoid Syndrome

The most common symptom of omohyoid syndrome is pain of the omohyoid muscle. This pain is often felt in the area of the omohyoid muscle that is located right above the clavicle (or collarbone). Since the omohyoid muscle functions to lower the hyoid bone during swallowing, swallowing oftentimes increases the pain associated with this syndrome. This pain can also increase anytime the person moves the neck.

Treatment of Omohyoid Syndrome

Treatment for omohyoid syndrome usually involves taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen. Other medications used to treat this condition include muscle-relaxers, which help to decrease the tension and irritation of the omohyoid muscle.

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