It is broad in the middle, narrow and pointed at either end, and consists of three portions, a superior oblique, an inferior oblique, and a vertical.
This muscle is in front of the spine and is thought by some scientists that it may cause some whiplash patients to have an unnatural lack of curvature in the patients' neck.
Acute calcific tendinitis of the longus colli muscle can occur. This presents with acute onset of neck pain, stiffness, dysphagia and odynophagia, and must be distinguished from retropharyngeal abscess and other sinister conditions. Imaging diagnosis is by CT or MRI, demonstrating calcification in the muscle in addition to retropharyngeal oedema. Treatment is supportive, with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.