This is a broad, flat muscle that wraps around the lateral neck. It anchors in the upper thoracic vertebrae and inserts on the upper cervical vertebrae. This makes it a “jack of all trades, master of none,” as it assists in extension, rotation, side-bending, and strapping things down.
- spinous processes of T3-T6
- anterior aspect of the transverse processes of C1-C3
- unilaterally this is involved in rotation and side-bending of the neck. Bilaterally, these muscles extend the neck.
The splenii muscles have a long attachment along the center of the spine. Inferiorly, this sheet of muscle anchors from about C4 on the nuchal ligament to the spinous process of T6.
They form a broad, flat veneer of muscle the splits to become splenius capitis and splenius cervicis. This strap-like structure wraps around the lateral muscles of the neck. Along the way, the myofascial sheet divides into two sections as it extends superiorly. The splenius capitis attaches to the occipital bone and temporal bone while the splenius cervicis wraps around lateral neck musculature to attach to the spinous processes of C1-C3.
As you can see from the illustration, the bones of origin (in blue) form a broad base from which the head and neck can be turned and extended.
A portion of the origin attaches through the nuchal ligament to the lower cervical vertebrae. There is stability along the lower cervical vertebrae with flexibility against contralateral musculature. This flexible attachment allows for play between the stable origin on the thoracic vertebrae and the bony attachments along the upper cervical vertebrae and cranial base.
Posts Related to Splenius Cervicis
Support Integrative Works to
and produce great content.
You can subscribe to our community on Patreon. You will get links to free content and access to exclusive content not seen on this site. In addition, we will be posting anatomy illustrations, treatment notes, and sections from our manuals not found on this site. Thank you so much for being so supportive.
Does Your Shoulder Hurt From the Covid-19 Vaccine?
This post offers quick, lasting relief from the pain in your shoulder that came from the vaccine. You will need an ice cube and about 2 minutes.
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.
*This site is undergoing significant 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 inconsistencies in formatting, content presentation, and readability. Until we get older posts updated, please excuse our mess.