Rectus capitis posterior major

The rectus capitis posterior major is a muscle that arises from the attached area of the axis, which is the second cervical vertebra of the spine. Also called the rectus capitis posticus major, it is located at the back of the neck where it significantly widens as it rises into the bottommost part of the skull. The blood supply to the muscle is provided by the vertebral artery and its muscular branches, while the nerve supply is provided by the suboccipital nerve. Functionally, the muscle works to promote certain head movements. Together with other structures within the neck, such as bones, joints, and muscles like the rectus capitis posterior minor, movements such as flexing, extending, adducting, and rotating the head are made possible. A connection of soft tissues also exists from the muscle to the internal membrane lining the vertebrae. This connection plays a role in the tension among the neck muscles. The rectus capitis posterior major muscle because of its location on the neck may be severely affected by whiplash and vehicular collisions. The muscle may also be susceptible to strains, ruptures, atrophy, tears, lacerations, contusions, infections, and some neuromuscular diseases.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Rectus capitis posterior major

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