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Levator Scapulae Muscle: Origin, Insertion, Action, Innervation

Levator Scapulae Anatomy Study

Origin: Posterior tubercles of the transverse processes of C1-C4
Insertion: Superior part of the medial border of the scapula
Action: Elevation of the scapula, downward rotation of the scapula
Innervation: Anterior primary rami of (C3 and C4), dorsal scapular nerve (C5)
Blood Supply:  Dorsal Scapular Artery

Synergist: Trapezius (middle part), Rhomboid major and minor.

Antagonist: Latissimus dorsi, Pectoralis major and minor, Serratus anterior, Subclavius, Trapezius


Primary Actions of the Levator Scapulae:

1. Elevation of the scapula

  • Agonists: Trapezius (upper fibers)
  • Antagonists: Trapezius (lower fibers), Serratus Anterior (lower fibers) Pectoralis Minor

Secondary Actions of the Levator Scapulae:

1. Downward rotation of the scapula

  • Agonists:  Serratus Anterior (upper fibers), Rhomboid Major, Rhomboid Minor, Pectoralis Minor, Trapezius (middle fibers)
  • Antagonists: Trapezius, Serratus Anterior (lower fibers)

Stabilizer: Trapezius (middle fibers)

For more information see: Levator Scapulae Muscle: Neck, Shoulder, Headache, Pain


Recommended Anatomy Books

The Anatomy Coloring Book is one of the best study and reference books for beginning anatomy students. The diagrams are clearly labeled and allow you to see the relationship and placement of the various structures of the body. You will also be surprised how the act of coloring will help with recall. But this is not just a beginners book, it is also great for practitioners and therapists to have on hand to use with clients and patients to use as a visual reference.

Out of the scores of books in my office Basic Clinical Massage Therapy is by far the most referenced book in my library. The musculoskeletal system is overlaid on human models allowing you to learn the precise location, origin and insertions of each muscle. The models are pictured in various poses throughout the book which also helps you visualize muscles in motion and their actions relationship with the skeletal structure and other muscles. Though it is written for massage therapists, it is an excellent book for anyone who wants to learn about the muscular system. MT’s will benefit from recommended treatments for each muscle.

Trail Guide To The Body


The Trail Guide To The Body is another excellent book to help you learn the musculature of the human body. Though the book is geared toward massage therapists and physical therapist assistants, the book with its illustrations and text helps anyone gain a thorough understanding of the human musculoskeletal system and movement. I highly recommend this book for anyone studying anatomy and believe that MTs, PTAs, and teachers of body movements should have this book in their possession. I also highly recommend this book for the lay person who wants to gain understanding of the muscle, skeletal system and how our bodies move.  This book will not disappoint!



The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook – Claire Davies, Amber Davies, and David G. Simons

Basic Clinical Massage Therapy: Integrating Anatomy and Treatment – James H. Clay and David M. Pounds

Trigger Point Therapy for Myofascial Pain – Donna Finando and Steven Finando

Massage Therapy Principles and Practice – Susan Salvo

Theory & Practice of Therapeutic Massage – Mark Beck



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