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The Semispinalis is a member of the Transversospinalis (Paraspinal*) group, composed of:
*The term paraspinal usually denotes the muscles of the erector spinae group as well as the muscles of the transversospinalis group.
The Semispinalis has three parts: Semispinalis Thoracis, Semispinalis Cervicis, and Semispinalis Capitis.
- From T10 to the head.
- Transverse processes of C7-T10 and the articular processes of C4-C6 to the spinous processes of C2-T4 and the occipital bone.
- The superior attachment is onto the occipital bone between the superior and inferior nuchal lines.
- Extends the head, neck, and trunk at the spinal joints.
- Laterally flexes the head, neck, and trunk at the spinal joints.
- Contralaterally rotates the neck and trunk at the spinal joints.
- Transversospinalis musculature generally runs from transverse processes inferiorly (transverso) to spinous processes superiorly (spinalis).
- Semispinalis musculature attaches from the transverse process of a vertebra below to the spinous process of a vertebra 5 or more levels above.
- The semispinalis capitis is the largest muscle in the posterior neck.
- The semispinalis cervicis and capitis lie deep to the upper trapezius. The trapezius is often blamed for muscle pain in this area that actually emanates from the deeper semispinalis musculature.
- The greater occipital nerve, which innervates the posterior scalp, pierces through the semispinalis capitis (as well as the upper trapezius). A tight (overly facilitated) semispinalis capitis can compress this nerve, causing greater occipital neuralgia.