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Levator Scapula – Functional Anatomy

Overview of the Anatomy of Levator Scalupa.

The Levator scapula is a ropy extrinsic back muscle that connects the scapula to the upper cervical vertebrae through the clavicle, manubrium, first rib, and lower cervical vertebrae.

Levator scapula is stretched by Forward-Head Posture, elevating and protracting the scapula.

Studies show that there are statistically significant variations in the structural anatomy of levator scapula. The upper portion may attach to a varying number of vertebrae as well as the occiput. The distal end may blend with serratus anterior, serratus posterior superior, or connect to the top two ribs.

Origin: Transverse processes of C1 through C4

Insertion: medial border of the scapula between the spine of the scapula and the superior angle.

Action: As the name implies, it elevates the scapula. This action assists in the downward rotation of the scapula. The sections that attach on the lower vertebrae and run more transversely toward the superior angle assist in retraction of the scapula. Anchoring the upper extrmity permits the upper sections to help rotate the upper cervicals and extend the neck. At the same time, it helps to rotate the scapula downwardly when the neck is stable. Wikipedia explores these variations with associated references. There are also numerous cadaver studies on the web.

Wikipedia entry for Levator Scapula

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