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Scalenes Anatomy: Origins, Insertions, Actions, Innervations

(Last Updated On: August 10, 2018)
Scalenus_mcl_lg

Muscle Anatomy of the Scalenus Anterior

Origin: Anterior tubercles of the  transverse processes of (C3-C6)
Insertion: Scalene tubercle and cranial crest of first rib
Action: Flexion of the cervical spine, Lateral flexion of the cervical spine,
Innervation: Ventral rami of
(C3-C8)
Blood Supply: Branches of the cervical artery

Primary Actions of the Scalenus Anterior:

1. Flexion of the cervical spine when acting bilaterally

  Agonists:

  • Longus Colli
  • Scalenus Medius

  Antagonists:

  • Longissimus Cervicis
  • Iliocostalis Cervicis
  • Spinalis Cervicis
  • Splenius Cervicis
  • Semispinalis Cervicis

2. Lateral Flexion of the cervical spine when acting unilaterally

  Agonists:

  • Scalenus Medius
  • Scalenus Posterior
  • Iliocostalis cervicis
  • Splenius Cervicis,
  • Semispinalis Cervicis

  Antagonists:

  • Scalenus Anterior,
  • Scalenus Posterior
  • Iliocostalis Cervicis
  • Splenius Cervicis
  • Semispinalis Cervicis on opposite side

Secondary Actions of the Scalenus Anterior:

1. Assists with contralateral rotation of the cervical spine when acting unilaterally

  Agonists:

  • Semispinalis Cervicis
  • Multifidus,

  Antagonists: Same muscles opposite side

  • Semispinalis Cervicis
  • Multifidus

2. Assists with forced inspiration by elevating first rib

  Agonists:

  • Serratus Posterior Superior
  • Levatores Costarum Brevis
  • Levatores Costarum Longi

  Antagonist:

  • Serratus Posterior Inferior
  • Transversus Abdominis

Scalenus Medius

Origin: Posterior tubercles of the transverse processes of (C2-C7)
Insertion: Cranial surface of the first rib
Action: Flexion of the cervical spine, Lateral flexion of cervical spine
Innervation: Ventral rami of (C3-C8)
Blood Supply: Branches of the cervical artery

Primary Actions of the Scalenus Medius:

1. Flexion of the cervical spine when acting bilaterally

  Agonists:

  • Longus Colli
  • Scalenus Anterior

  Antagonists:

  • Longissimus Cervicis
  • Iliocostalis Cervicis
  • Spinalis Cervicis
  • Splenius Cervicis
  • Semispinalis Cervicis

2. Lateral flexion of the cervical spine when acting unilaterally

  Agonists:

  • Scalenus Anterior
  • Scalenus Posterior
  • Iliocostalis Cervicis
  • Splenius Cervicis
  • Semispinalis Cervicis

  Antagonists: Same muscles on opposite side

  • Scalenus Anterior
  • Scalenus Posterior
  • Iliocostalis Cervicis
  • Splenius Cervicis
  • Semispinalis Cervicis

Secondary Actions of the Scalenus Medius:

1. Assists with contralateral rotation of the cervical spine when acting unilaterally

  Agonists:

  • Semispinalis Cervicis
  • Multifidus

  Antagonists: Same muscles on opposite side

  • Semispinalis Cervicis
  • Multifidus

2. Assists with forced inspiration by elevating the first rib

  Agonists:

  • Serratus Posterior Superior
  • Levatores Costarum Breves
  • Levatores Costarum Longi

  Antagonists:

  • Serratus Posterior Inferior
  • Transversus Abdominis

Scalenus Posterior

Origin: By tendons from the posterior tubercles of  the transverse processes of (C4–C6)
Insertion: Outer surface of 2nd rib
Action: Lateral flexion of the neck
Innervation: Ventral rami of (C3-C8)
Blood Supply: Branches of the cervical artery

Primary Actions of the Scalenus Posterior:

1. Lateral flexion of the cervical spine when acting unilaterally

  Agonists:

  • Scalenus Anterior
  • Scalenus Medius
  • Iliocostalis Cervicis
  • Splenius Cervicis,
  • Semispinalis Cervicis

  Antagonists: Same muscles on opposite side

  • Scalenus Anterior
  • Scalenus Medius,
  • Iliocostalis Cervicis
  • Splenius Cervicis
  • Semispinalis Cervicis

Secondary Actions of the Scalenus Posterior:

2. Assists with contralateral rotation of the cervical spine when acting unilaterally

  Agonists:

  • Semispinalis Cervicis
  • Multifidus

  Antagonists: Same Muscles on opposite side

  • Semispinalis Cervicis
  • Multifidus

3. Assists with forced inspiration by elevating the second rib

  Agonists:

  • Serratus Posterior Superior
  • Levatores Costarum Breves,
  • Levatores Costarum Longi

  Antagonists: None

 

For more information see: Scalenes Muscles Pain and Symptoms

Recommended Anatomy Books:

Anatomy 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.

Human Muscle Anatomy

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!

Basic Clinical Massage Therapy

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.

Muscle Anatomy Flashcards

Musculoskeletal Anatomy Flashcards Are you a student or professional therapist who needs to brush up on the musculoskeletal system? Dr. Joseph E. Muscolino DC has developed a comprehensive set of flashcards that will help develop a mind's picture of exactly where the muscles lie under the skin. A highly recommended study aid for students. Great for non students who want an easy comprehensive anatomy guide.

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