The upper neck and upper back pain can be complex. The neck flexors (front neck muscles) are controlled by your cranial nerves. This means the front of your neck, and ½ of the stability of your neck is related to your skull and skull balance. – The back of the neck is controlled by the spine. The ribs also play a role in this delicate balance, meaning when you have pain here it takes a highly skilled practitioner to find the real reason you are in pain and ultimately fix it.