Massage & Bodywork

MAY | JUNE 2020

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34 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k m a y / j u n e 2 0 2 0 FUNCTIONAL ANATOMY education SPLENIUS CERVICIS Attachments • Origin: Spinous processes of T3–T6 • Insertion: Posterior tubercles of transverse processes C1–C3 Actions • Extends the head and neck (bilateral action) • Laterally flexes the head and neck (unilateral action) • Rotates the head and neck toward same side (unilateral action) Innervation • Cervical spinal nerves The splenius cervicis muscle is located on the posterior neck and upper back and lies deep to the trapezius and rhomboids and superficial to the splenius capitis and levator scapulae. It connects the spinous processes of the upper thoracic vertebrae to the transverse processes of the upper cervical vertebrae. The splenius cervicis shares its attachments on the cervical transverse processes with the levator scapula posteriorly and the scalenes anteriorly. The fiber orientation of the splenius cervicis—vertical and slightly oblique—makes it a powerful extensor and weak rotator of the cervical spine. It is a direct synergist to the splenius capitis in cervical extension and lateral flexion but has less leverage for rotation than its more obliquely oriented counterpart. The splenius cervicis muscle is part of a complex system of stabilizers and prime movers of the posterior cervical spine. Both the splenius cervicis and splenius capitis are part of a larger system of intrinsic back muscles that span the entire posterior trunk from the pelvis to the head. These muscles vary in size and span, functionally providing stabilization and movement of the vertebral column. Muscles are divided into a medial tract that includes the spinalis, interspinales, semispinalis, rotatores, and multifidi muscles, and a lateral tract that includes the longissimus, iliocostalis, splenius capitis, splenius cervicis, intertransversarii, and levatores costarum muscles. Where the muscles of the medial tract lie deep and close to the midline, those of the lateral tract, including the splenius cervicis, lie more superficially and insert more laterally. The two splenii muscles form the spinotransverse system of the lateral tract as both originate on spinous processes and have fibers that run laterocranially to transverse processes. Splenius Cervicis By Christy Cael Splenius cervicis

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