rectus capitis posterior major muscle (anatomy)

Last reviewed 01/2018

Rectus capitis posterior major is one of the muscles of the suboccipital triangle in the neck. It arises from the spinous process of the axis vertebra (C2). On each side it ascends superolaterally a short distance to insert into the lateral half of the inferior nuchal line of the skull.

It is innervated by the suboccipital nerve (dorsal ramus of first cervical nerve).

Rectus capitis posterior major acts to:

  • extend the atlanto-occipital joint
  • rotate the atlanto-occipital joint ipsilaterally