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Obliquus capitis inferior

The obliquus capitis inferior (Latin: musculus obliquus capitis inferior) is a small, slender muscle of the neck that stretches between the first two cervical vertebrae. It is positioned in the posterior compartment of the neck. Therefore, the obliquus capitis inferior is one of the posterior neck muscles. It is located in the deepest layer of the group. As the obliquus capitis inferior is situated below the occipital bone of the skull, it is classified as the suboccipital muscle. It acts at the atlanto-axial joint.

Obliquus capitis inferior
OriginSpinous process of axis (C2)
InsertionTransverse process of atlas (C1)
ActionUnilateral contractions - Head rotation (ipsilateral)
Innervation Suboccipital nerve (posterior ramus of 1st cervical spinal nerve (C1))
Blood supply Branches of vertebral and occipital arteries



The obliquus capitis inferior muscle originates from the spinous process of the axis (C2).

Obliquus capitis inferior, Suboccipital muscles, Posterior neck muscles, Neck muscles, Head and neck muscles, Posterior view, Obliquus capitis inferior muscle colored blue
Obliquus capitis inferior muscle by



The obliquus capitis inferior inserts on the transverse process of the atlas (C1).



The primary function of the obliquus capitis inferior muscle is the rotation of the head to the ipsilateral side.



The obliquus capitis inferior is innervated by the suboccipital nerve - the posterior ramus of the 1st cervical spinal nerve (C1).


Blood supply

The obliquus capitis inferior muscle receives arterial blood supply from the branches of the occipital and vertebral arteries.