Human Movement Science & Functional Anatomy of the:

Levator Scapulae

by Brent Brookbush DPT, PT, MS, PES, CES, CSCS, ACSM H/FS

Levator Scapulae - http://classconnection.s3.amazonaws.com/228/flashcards/504228/jpg/heaposmusmhnlevator_20scapulae_20m_1351523887828.jpg

 

What’s in a name:

  • levator (n.) from medical latin levator “a lifter,” from Latin levatus, past participle of levare “to raise” (see lever).(Etymology Online)
  • scapula (n.) “shoulder blade,” 1570s, Modern Latin, from Late Latin scapula “shoulder,” from Latin scapulae (plural) “shoulders, shoulder blades,” perhaps originally “spades, shovels,” on notion of similar shape, but animal shoulder blades might have been used as scraping tools in primitive times, from PIE *skap-, variant of *skep- “to cut, scrape” (see scabies).(Etymology Online)

    • A lifter of the scapulae

Levator Scapulae - http://classconnection.s3.amazonaws.com/443/flashcards/1157443/jpg/levator_scapulae1329438979051.jpg

 

Levator Scapulae:

Origin: Transverse process of the first four cervical vertebrae (posterior tubercles of C3 and C4 transverse processes) (8, 11).

Insertion: Medial border of the scapula from pointed edge close to origin of the spine of the superior angle of the scapula (11, 19)

Nerve: Primarily innervated by cervical nerves 3 and 4, via the cervical plexus, originating from cervical roots 3 and 4. Additional innervation from the dorsal scapular nerve and the C5 trunk of the brachial plexus (with communicating nerves from cervical nerve 4), which continues on to innervate the rhomboids (8, 11, 20).

 

 

Note the 3rd cervical nerve arising between the posterior and middle scalene to innervate the levator scapulae - http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ef/Gray794.png

 

Action:

  • Cervical Spine: Extension, lateral flexion and ipsilateral rotation (8, 11)
  • Scapula: Elevation and downward rotation