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Anterior Suboccipital Muscles – Functional Anatomy

Anterior Suboccipital Muscles

This post reviews the anatomy of the anterior suboccipital muscles.

The suboccipital muscles attach the atlas and axis to the bottom of the occiput. They secure the head on the atlas and fine-tune the movement of the cranium on the atlas and axis.

The muscles discussed here are often not included in the list of “suboccipital muscles.” Those are typically only the posterior suboccipital muscles. The muscle discussed here are typically referred to as the anterior suboccipital muscles.

Rectus Capitis Anterior

Rectus Capitis Anterior

Origin

  • lateral mass and transverse process of the atlas

Insertion

  • basilar portion of the occiput.

Function

  • flexion of the atlantooccipital joint
Rectus Capitis Lateralis

Rectus Capitis Lateralis

Origin

  • jugular process of the occiput

Insertion

  • transverse process of the atlas.

Function

  • lateral flexion of the atlantooccipital joint

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Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia, where he sees clients. He has written and taught about anatomy, trigger points, and cranial therapies since the mid-90s.

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