Longus Capitis

General information

Longus capitis is a deep, neck muscle situated anteriorly to the cervical spine. The prevertebral layer of neck muscles is comprised of the longus capitis, the rectus capitis anterior, rectus capitis lateralis, longus cervicis and anterior scalene muscles.

Literal meaning

The long muscle of the head.

Interesting information

The longus capitis muscle and the other muscles in the prevertebral layer of the neck are wrapped in the prevertebral layer of the cervical fascia, hence the name.

Origin

Anterior tubercles of transverse processes of C3-C6.

Insertion

Basilar part of occipital bone.

Function

Bilateral contraction - head flexion.

Ipsilateral contraction - head rotation (ipsilateral).

Nerve supply

Anterior rami of spinal nerves C1-C3.

Blood supply

Ascending cervical artery and the inferior thyroid artery.

Longus Capitis

Relevant research

There has been research conducted showing that due to the longus capitis muscle’s redundant function and muscle bulk, it can be used in soft palate reconstructions as a local flap which actually may result in a functioning reconstruction with little morbidity to the donor site.

Gross, J. H., Zenga, J., Sharon, J. D., Jackson, R. S., & Pipkorn, P. (2019). Longus Capitis Reconstruction of the Soft Palate. Otolaryngology--head and neck surgery: official journal of American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, 161(3), 536–538.

Longus capitis exercises

Anterior stabilisation lying head lift and rotation

Anterior stabilisation lying head lift and rotation

Lie flat on your back and place your fingers slightly under the jaw until you feel the front neck muscles. Gently tuck in your chin and slightly lift your head about 1cm off the floor. Then slightly rotate your neck a few centimetres to each side slowly.

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