Massage & Bodywork

May/June 2009

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functional anatomy BY CHRISTY CAEL LEVATOR SCAPULA The levator scapula is a deep, linear muscle that anchors the upper corner of the scapula to the lateral cervical spine. This muscle lies deep to the broad trapezius muscle at the same depth as the rhomboids. Its primary function is to elevate the scapula when performing a shrugging motion or lifting with the arms. LEVATOR SCAPULA Attachments • Origin: transverse processes of C1–4 • Insertion: superior angle of the scapula Actions • Elevates and downwardly rotates the scapula Innervation • Dorsal scapular nerve • C3–5 • Extends, laterally flexes, and rotates the neck to the same side (ipsilaterally) The levator scapula and the upper fibers of the trapezius work together to elevate the scapula and extend the head. At other times, levator scapula opposes the upper and lower fibers of the trapezius to rotate the scapula inferiorly, pointing the shoulder down toward the floor. The rhomboid major and minor assist the levator scapula with this downward rotation, helping to position the glenoid fossa during movements of the upper extremity. This "steering" of the glenoid enhances the motion of the glenohumeral joint, particularly in adduction. Co-contraction of these and the other scapular stabilizers (pectoralis minor and serratus anterior) help anchor the scapula to the rib cage during weight-bearing activities such as pushing and lifting. The distinctive twist near its attachment on the transverse processes of the cervical visit to access your digital magazine 97

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