Rectus capitis lateralis

The rectus capitis lateralis (also rectus capitis lateralis muscle, lateral rectus capitis, latin: musculus rectus capitis lateralis) is a short muscle situated anterior to the vertebral column that extends between the atlas and the base of the skull and is involved in lateral flexion of the neck. Along with the rectus capitis anterior it also belongs to the anterior suboccipital muscles.


The rectus capitis lateralis originates from the upper surface of the transverse process of the atlas (C1).


The rectus capitis lateralis inserts onto the inferior surface of the jugular process of the occipital bone.


Upon contraction the rectus capitis lateralis aids in lateral flexion of the neck, as well as stabilization of the atlanto-occipital joint.


The nerve supply to rectus capitis lateralis is provided by branches arising from the loop between the anterior rami of the 1st and 2nd cervical spinal nerves (C1 - C2).