The levator scapulae muscle is located at the side and back of the neck. It is one component of the muscle system of the shoulder. Its primary function is to lift the scapula, which is the bone that connects the upper arm bone (humerus) with the clavicle (collar bone). If a person experiences a stiff shoulder and neck, the levator scapulae muscle is involved. When the shoulder is shrugged, this muscle is at work. When a heavy bag is carried, the levator scapulae muscle helps the body bear the burden. This muscle begins at the vertebrae just below the skull. It is attached to the transverse processes, which are extensions of the clavicles.The number of attachments to the vertebrae varies. The other end of the muscle is attached to the superior angle of the scapula. The blood supply for this muscle comes from the dorsal scapular artery. The upper part of the levator scapulae muscle is covered by the sternomastoid muscle, the muscle that rotates and flexes the head.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
In Depth: Levator scapulae