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Levator scapula



General information

  • This section is strictly limited to anatomy, you might be looking for clinical relevant information which is found under the clinical chapters -- muscles section, click here to go to that page


  • Deep


  • Processus transversi C1-C4


  • Angulus superior scapula
  • Superior medial aspect of scapula
  • Root of spina scapula

Main function

  • Scapula
    • Elevation
  • Neck
    • Extension
    • Lateral flexion

Secondary function

  • Neck
    • Ipsilateral rotation
  • Scapula
    • Downward rotation
    • Retraction

Nerve innervation

  • Segmental
    • C3-C5
  • Peripheral
    • Dorsal scapular nerve

Arterial supply

  • Dorsal scapular artery


  • Patient position
    • Sitting
  • Ask the patient to place his hand on his/her back so that the shoulder is medially rotated
  • Place your hand just cranially to angulus superior at the scapula
  • Have the patient elevate the shoulder blade while you feel for the contraction in the muscle

Strength test

  • Patient position
    • Prone
  • Note! This also tests the rhomboids
  • Ask the patient to hold the elbow in full flexion while the upper arm is held into the side of the body (adduction), place the upper arm so that the shoulder is in lateral rotation and extension
  • Place a hand medially on the elbow and the other at the cranial part of acromion
  • Give resistance to the patient towards abduction of the elbow and depression of the shoulder girdle, so that the patient is giving force towards adduction and elevation of the shoulder