Joe Muscolino

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Semispinalis muscles of the transversospinalis (paraspinal) group.

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.





  1. Transversospinalis musculature generally runs from transverse processes inferiorly (transverso) to spinous processes superiorly (spinalis).
  2. Semispinalis musculature attaches from the transverse process of a vertebra below to the spinous process of a vertebra 5 or more levels above.
  3. The semispinalis capitis is the largest muscle in the posterior neck.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.