Functional Anatomy – Levator Scapula

Levator scapula is a ropy 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 muscle attachments at both ends. The upper portion may attach to 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. When the arm is anchored, it helps to rotate the upper cervicals and extend the neck.


Wikipedia entry for Levator Scapula

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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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