Obliquus Capitis Superior

Origin: The superior surface of the Atlas trasverse process.

Insertion: Between the superior and inferior nuchal lines of the occiput (running obliquely up and medialward toward its insertion).

Located: The palpable portion of the muscle is found directly posterior to the insertion of the sternocleidomastoid and in intimate contact with the occiput.  Its bands are not to be confused with those of the sternocleidomastoid which again is directly anterior.  The obliquus capitis superior is palpable closer to its (own) insertion.  To find the obliquus capitis superior, gently raise the patient’s head, while he is in the supine position, rotate the head contralaterally (or opposite the side to be palpated), then as the surrounding muscles are stretched and tightened, a small depression is formed behind the sternocleidomastoid, and this is where the obliquus capitis superior is palpable – but return the patient’s head to the relaxed supine position before palpation.

Listing Involvement:  The obliquus capitis superior is in a synergistic complex with the first branch of the levatores (of the opposite side) when working for Atlas correction.  It is palpable upon Atlas laterality to the opposite side.

Working Sensation:  Upon palpation of the obliquus capitis superior, tension can be interpreted most often only to a notable, and occasionally to a relatively firm, degree.  It is palpated as a small consolidation of muscle mass when working and can demonstrate a fleshy resistent consistency only notable when simultaneously compared to the opposing obliquus capitis superior.