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Nuchal ligament

Recommended video: Overview of the cervical spine [03:36]
Overview of the features of the typical cervical vertebrae and atypical cervical vertebrae.

The nuchal ligament is a strong and broad ligament located in the posterior region of the neck (nuchal region). It is a continuation of the supraspinous ligament in the cervical spine, extending from the spinous process of C7 vertebra to the external occipital protuberance. In between, it attaches to the posterior tubercle of the atlas and to the tips of the spinous processes of the cervical vertebra.

The nuchal ligament serves as an attachment point for the prevertebral and investing layers of the deep cervical fascia, as well as several muscles, including: trapezius (superior fibers), rhomboid minor, serratus posterior superior, splenius capitis and spinalis. It also resists hyperflexion of the neck. 

Terminology English: Nuchal ligament
Latin: Ligamentum nuchae
Attachments External occipital protuberance -> C7 spinous process
Function Limits hyperflexion of the neck. Accommodates attachment of trapezius, rhomboid minor, serratus posterior superior, splenius capitis and spinalis muscles.

Learn more about the anatomy of the cervical spine with this study unit (and article):

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