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Suboccipital muscles – Functional Anatomy

This post reviews the anatomy of the posterior suboccipital muscles. Anterior suboccipital muscles are found in this post. The posts related to anterior suboccipital muscles are included in the grid below.

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.

Origin

  • atlantoaxial vertebrae

Insertion

  • atlantooccipital bones

Function

  • Secure head on the neck
  • fine-tune movements of the head

Innervation

  • suboccipital nerve

Functional Considerations

This study shows how significant this tiny muscle is as a postural muscle and in relationship to the dural membranes. Another study shows how the atrophy of the muscles relates to trigger points. Still, another study shows how fat infiltrates of these muscles influence headaches in older women.


Rectus Capitis Posterior Major

Rectus Capitis Posterior Major

Origin

  • transverse process of the axis

Insertion

  • inferior nuchal line

Function

  • extension of the head
  • rotation of the head
Rectus Capitis Posterior Minor

Rectus Capitis Posterior Minor

Origin

  • posterior tubercle of the atlas

Insertion

  • superior nuchal line

Function

extension of the head

Obliquus Capitis Superior

Obliquus Capitis Superior

Origin

  • transverse process of the atlas

Insertion

  • inferior nuchal line

Function

  • extension of the head
Obliquus Capitis Interior

Obliquus Capitis Inferior

Origin

  • spinous process of the axis

Insertion

  • transverse process of the atlas.

Function

  • extension and of the atlas on the axis
  • rotation of the atlas on the axis

Click here for the Wikipedia entry for Suboccipital muscles


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