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Semispinalis Cervicis – Functional Anatomy


Semispinalis cervicis fits between the deeper multifidi and the more superficial erectors and serratus anterior. It is a thin muscle that connects the transverse processes of the upper thoracic vertebrae with the mid-cervical vertebrae. Consequently, It is in a position to trap and compress the lower cervical vertebrae. Interestingly, the posterior rami of those lower cervical vertebra also innervate it.


  • transverse processes of T1-T5 or T6


  • spinous processes of C2-C5


  • extension,
  • lateral flexion
  • some rotation of the lower cervicals


  • posterior rami of local vertebrae
Semispianlis muscles

Semispinalis Muscle Group

The semispinalis muscle group includes:

Capitis attaches to the cranium base, but the other two muscles are the interspinous muscles. These muscles are deep to the extrinsic back muscles and superficial interspinous muscles. They provide another layer of paraspinal erectors to support the cervical muscles on the thoracic column.

All of these muscles have statistically significant variations in their structure.

Note how this muscle skips the atlas so that these muscles easily drive it anteriorly.

Wikipedia entry for semispinalis cervicis

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