Massage & Bodywork

May/June 2010

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functional anatomy BY CHRISTY CAEL RECTUS CAPITIS POSTERIOR MINOR The rectus capitis posterior minor is one of four pairs of muscles that make up the suboccipitial group (sub meaning "below," occipital referring to "the occipital bone"). The other three suboccipital muscles include the rectus capitis posterior major, obliquus capitis superior, and obliquus capitis inferior. Located deep between the base of RECTUS CAPITIS POSTERIOR MINOR Attachments • Origin: atlas (C2), tubercle on posterior arch • Insertion: occiput, medial part of inferior nuchal line Actions • Extends the head (bilateral action) Innervation • Suboccipital nerve the skull and first two cervical vertebrae, these muscles maintain alignment between the occiput and upper cervical vertebrae. This supports proper function of associated nervous and circulatory structures. The suboccipitals also generate fine movements of the head, like when you read or scan the road as you walk or drive. These subtle movements are especially important in maintaining spatial orientation and awareness of head position while the body is in motion. Rectus capitis posterior minor lies at an oblique angle and extends between the first cervical vertebra and the occiput. This muscle is mainly postural and helps stabilize the atlantooccipital and atlantoaxial joints. It also helps maintain the relative position of the upper vertebral foramen to the foramen magnum. Proper alignment in this region supports the flow of blood and cerebrospinal fluid—fluid that cushions and nourishes the brain and spinal cord—to connect with your colleagues on massageprofessionals.com 83

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