Suboccipital Anatomy: Rectus Capitis Posterior Major and Minor, Obliquus Capitis Superior and Inferior

Suboccipital Anatomy Study: Origin, Insertion, Action and Innervation

Suboccipital Anatomy: Rectus Capitis Posterior Major

Rectus Capitis Posterior Major

Origin: Spinous process of axis (C2)
Insertion: Lateral half of the inferior nuchal line of the occipital bone
Action: Extension of the head
Innervation: Posterior Primary Ramus of C1
Blood Supply: Branches from the vertebral artery

Primary Actions of the Rectus Capitis Posterior Major:

1. Extension of the head on the neck when acting bilaterally

    • Agonists: Rectus Capitis Posterior Minor, Obliquus Capitis Superior
    • Antagonists: Rectus Capitis Anterior

2. Ipsilateral rotation of the cervical spine when acting unilaterally

    • Agonists: Obliquus Capitis inferior
    • Antagonists: Obliquus Capitis inferior on opposite side

Rectus Capitis Posterior Minor:

Subocciptal Anatomy: Rectus Capitis Posterior Minor
Origin: Posterior tubercle of atlas (C1)
Insertion: Lateral half of the inferior nuchal line of the occipital bone.
Action: Extension of  the head
Innervation: Posterior Primary Ramus of C1
Blood Supply: Branches from the vertebral artery

Primary Actions Rectus Capitis Posterior Minor:

1. Extension of the head on the neck when acting bilaterally

    • Agonists: Rectus Capitis Posterior Major, Obliquus Capitis Superior
    • Antagonists: Rectus Capitis Anterior

2. Ipsilateral rotation of the cervical spine when acting unilaterally

    • Agonists: Obliquus Capitis inferior
    • Antagonists: Obliquus Capitis inferior on opposite side

 

Obliquus Capitis Superior

Subocciptal Anatomy: Obliquus Capitis Superior
Origin: Superior surface of the transverse process of C1 (atlas)
Insertion: Lateral half of the inferior nuchal line of the occipital bone
Action: Extension of the head, lateral flexion of the head
Innervation: Posterior Primary Ramus of C1
Blood Supply: Branches from the vertebral artery

Primary Actions Obliquus Capitis Superior:

1. Extension of the head on the neck when acting bilaterally

  • Agonists: Rectus Capitis Posterior Major, Rectus Capitis Posterior Minor
  • Antagonists: Rectus Capitis Anterior

2. Lateral flexion of the head on the neck when acting unilaterally

  • Agonists: Rectus Capitis Lateralis
  • Antagonists: Rectus Capitis Lateralis on opposite side

Obliquus Capitis Inferior

Subocciptal Anatomy: Obliquus Capitis Inferior
Origin: Lateral surface of the spinous process and adjacent laminae of C2 (axis)
Insertion: Inferoposterior aspect of the transverse process of C1 (atlas)
Action: Rotates the head to the contracted side
Innervation: Posterior Primary Ramus of C1
Blood Supply: Branches from the vertebral artery

Primary Actions of the Obliquus Capitis Inferior:

1. Ipsilateral rotation of the cervical spine when acting unilaterally

  • Agonists: Rectus Capitis Posterior Major
  • Antagonists: Rectus Capitis Posterior Major on opposite side

For pain and symptom information see: Suboccipital Muscles Pain and Symptoms


Books to Learn Human Anatomy

Anatomy Coloring Book

coloring_book

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.

Basic Clinical Massage Therapy

basic_clinical_massa

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.

References:

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

 

 

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