Rectus capitis anterior

At the atlanto-occipital joint, the rectus capitis anterior muscle takes care of flexing the neck. This takes place at a low region on the back the skull. The muscle extends for much of the neck, originating at the atlas bone of cervical vertebrae and inserting into the skull's occipital bone. This is near the basilar part of the occipital bone, and near the foramen magnum. The first cervical spinal nerve (C1) innervates the muscle. This nerve extends from the atlas bone, which is also known as the first cervical vertebra. During its course, it extends upwards, servicing more than just the rectus capitis anterior muscle. The nerve also innervates the geniohyoid, the rectus capitis posterior major and other muscles. Damage, strain, deterioration or tears to the muscle could limit the neck's range of motion. However, compared to the other rectus capitis muscles, the rectus capitis anterior is relatively short in comparison. Injury to the muscle is not as likely as it would be with other muscles in the neck.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Rectus capitis anterior

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