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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


  • Superficiial


  • Manubrium sterni
  • Extremitas sternalis clavicula


  • Processus mastoideus
  • Linea nuchae superior

Main function

  • Neck
    • Flexion
    • Lateral flexion
    • Contralateral rotation

Secondary function

  • Neck
    • Extension
  • Sternum
    • Elevation
  • Clavicula
    • Elevation

Nerve innervation

  • C2-C3

Arterial supply

  • Occipital artery
  • Posterior auricular artery


  • Patient position
    • Sitting
  • The patient is asked to rotate the head to the side
  • Stand on the opposite side of the direction the patient has rotated the head
    • Palpate anterolateral on the patient's throat
  • Place your other hand on the side of the patient's head (same side as you are standing) and give resistance
  • Feel for contraction of the muscle while the patient gives counterforce

Strength test

  • Patient position
    • Supine
  • This test does not isolate the sternocleidomastoideus, but also tests the scaleni muscles
  • Ask the patient to place the arms out to the side of the body in a 90° abduction and with the arms in a lateral rotation, as well as the elbow bent to 90°
    • The arms should be resting on the bench
  • Place a hand on the temporal region ipisilateral to the side being tested and give resistance in a oblique posterior direction so that the patient is giving force towards anterolateral neck flexion