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Splenius muscle

German: Musculus splenius

1 Definition

The splenius muscle is a skeletal muscle belonging to the muscles of the back. It is part of the lateral tract of the erector spinae muscles.

2 Devolution

The splenius muscle basically passes from the spinous process to the transverse process. The splenius muscle consists of two separate parts:

  • Splenius capitis muscle
  • Splenius cervicis muscle

2.1 Splenius capitis muscle

In the area close to the head, the splenius capitis muscle origins at the spinous processes of the 3rd to the 7th cervical vertebra, as well as the 1st to the 3rd Thoracic vertebra and the nuchal ligament. It inserts at the mastoid process of the temporal bone, as well as the lateral parts of the superior nuchal line.

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2.2 Splenius cervicis muscle

The splenius cervicis muscle has its origins at the spinous process of the 3rd to the 5th thoracic vertebra, according to some authors to the 6th, and it inserts in the posterior tubercles of the transverse processes of the 1st to the 3rd cervical vertebra.

3 Innervation

The innervation of the splenius muscle is provided by the lateral branches of the posterior branches (Rami posteriores) of the segmental spinal nerves. Spinal cord segments C2 to Th3, according to some authors also to Th6, contribute to the innervation.

4 Function

With unitlateral contraction of the splenius muscle, the head or the cervical spine, respectively, is inclined to the same side. Bilateral contraction leads to a reclination of the head, which means that the cervical spine is extended.

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