Obliquus capitis superior

The obliquus capitis superior is located above the neck and at the base of the back of the head, near the skull's occipital bone. The muscle originates from the atlas bone's lateral mass and it inserts into the inferior nuchal line. The atlas bone is also known as the first cervical vertebrae (C1), and as such, it is the uppermost vertebra of the spinal column. The suboccipital nerve provides the muscle innervation and a connection, ultimately, to the brain. The nerve emerges from the spinal column at the space between the atlas bone and the skull. The muscle assists in moving the head. It extends the head, while also helping it to flex. The neck features two obliquus capitas superior muscles symmetrically located on the left and right sides. Although it flexes the neck, it only assists in flexing it to the side it is located on. These actions are in concert with the atlanto-occipital joint, which articulates between the atlas and occipital bones.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Obliquus capitis superior

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