Home » Anatomy » Neck Muscles » Suboccipital muscles – Functional Anatomy

Suboccipital muscles – Functional Anatomy

This post covers the anatomy of the suboccipital muscles, including the anterior suboccipital muscles. which are often described separately.

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

The posterior suboccipital muscles include:

  • Rectus capitis major
  • Rectus capitis minor
  • Obliquus capitis superior
  • Obliquus capitis inferior

The anterior sub-occipital muscles help to flex the head on the neck. They include:

  • rectus capitis anterior
  • rectus capitis lateralis

The Posterior Suboccipital muscles

Rectus Capitis Posterior Major

Rectus Capitis Posterior Major attaches the transverse process of the axis to the inferior nuchal line.

Action: extension and rotation of the head

Rectus Capitis Posterior Minor

Rectus Capitis Posterior Minor attaches to the posterior tubercle of the atlas and the superior nuchal line.

Action: extension of the head

Obliquus Capitis Superior

Obliquus Capitis Superior attaches to the transverse process of the atlas and the inferior nuchal line.

Action: extension of the head

Obliquus Capitis Interior

Obliquus Capitis Inferior attaches to the spinous process of the axis and the transverse process of the atlas.

Action: extension and rotation of the atlas on the axis.

Click here for the Wikipedia entry for Suboccipital muscles


The Anterior Suboccipital Muscles

Anterior Suboccipital Muscles

These muscles are often not included in the list of suboccipital muscles but are referred to as the anterior suboccipital muscles.

Rectus Capitis Anterior

Rectus Capitis Anterior attaches to the lateral mass and transverse process of the atlas and the basilar portion of the occiput.

Action: Flexion of the atlantooccipital joint

Rectus Capitis Lateralis

Rectus Capitis Lateralis Attaches to the jugular process of the occiput and the transverse process of the atlas.

Action: lateral flexion of the atlantooccipital joint

Posts related to Suboccipital Muscles Anatomy


This site is undergoing changes. Starting in early 2020, we began improving the format. We are also adding more extensive self-care, illustrations, therapist notes, anatomy, and protocols. We appreciate your input and feedback. You will see us adding posts and updating older posts as time permits.




Weekly Featured Post

This patient had recovered from a frozen shoulder but developed shoulder pain at the end of his golf swing. More traditional neuromuscular techniques weren’t working. Chiropractic wasn’t working. Integrative Craniosacral was the right solution for lasting relief.

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.

Question? Comment? Typo?
IntegrativeWorks.com
(404) 226-1363
integrativeworks@gmail.com

*This site is undergoing major changes. We are reformatting and expanding the posts to make them easier to read. The result will also be more accessible and will include more patterns with better self-care. In the meanwhile, there may be inconsistency in formatting, content presentation, and readability. Until we get older posts updated, please excuse our mess.