Original Editor - Lucinda hampton

Top Contributors - Lucinda hampton and Kim Jackson  

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Semispinalis muscle

The semispinalis muscle belongs to the transversospinalis muscles. The transversospinalis muscle group is a very deep layer of muscles located on either side of the spine.

The semispinalis muscle is:

  • The most superficial layer of this muscle group.
  • The largest muscle mass in the posterior part of the neck.
  • Responsible for maintaining posture and for movement of the head and the vertebral column.[1]
  • Has the longest fascicles of transversospinalis group, spanning six segments.[2]

Anatomy[edit | edit source]

The muscles in this group are the semispinalis capitis, semispinalis cervicis, and the semispinalis thoracis.

  1. Semispinalis capitis muscle - lies superficial to the semispinalis cervicis muscle and deep to the splenius capitis and cervicis and trapezius
  2. Semispinalis cervicis muscle - fascicles cover the cervical and thoracic multifidus muscles
  3. Semispinalis thoracis muscle - thin, fleshy fascicles with long tendons at either end. Covers the thoracic multifidus muscle
    • origin: T6-T10 transverse processes
    • insertion: C6-T4 spinous processes

Deep Intrinsic Back Muscles[edit | edit source]

Deep Muscles of the back

The Semispinalis muscles belong to the intinsic/ deep muscles of the back . These muscles are well-developed, and collectively extend from the sacrum to the base of the skull. They are associated with the movements of the vertebral column, and the control of posture.

The deep muscles of the back are subdivided in 3 groups

  1. Superficial,
  2. Intermediate and
  3. Deep layers. Transversospinales muscle group lies deep to the Erector Spinae. It consists of 3 major subgroups:
    1. Semispinalis,
    2. Multifidus
    3. Rotatores.

Physiotherapy Implications[edit | edit source]

Cervical intermediate muscles

The semispinalis capitis is the largest muscle in the posterior neck. The semispinalis cervicis and capitis lie deep to the upper trapezius.

  • Muscle pain that emanates from this region is often misdiagnosed as a trapezius injury, when it is a semispinalis problem.
  • The greater occipital nerve (innervates the posterior scalp) pierces through the semispinalis capitis (as well as the upper trapezius)[3]. Occipital neuralgia may on occasion be produced by entrapment of the greater occipital nerve in the perforation site of the semispinalis capitis[4].
  • See Introduction to Cervicogenic Headaches

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Healthline Semispinalis Available: 2.2.2022)
  2. Radiopedia Transversospinalis muscle group Available: 2.2.2022)
  3. Learn Muscles Semispinalis Available: 2.2.2022)
  4. Son BC, Kim DR, Lee SW. Intractable occipital neuralgia caused by an entrapment in the semispinalis capitis. Journal of Korean Neurosurgical Society. 2013 Sep;54(3):268. Available: 3.2.2022)