Connection lost. Please refresh the page.
Get help How to study Login Register

Main muscles of the head and neck

Learning objectives

After completing this study unit you will be able to:

  1. Learn the major groups of the muscles of the head and neck.
  2. Understand the anatomical relationships between those muscles.

Watch videos

According to their functions, the muscles of the head are divided into two main groups; muscles of facial expression and muscles of mastication. The former allow us to express our feelings by producing a myriad of facial expressions, while the latter act on the temporomandibular joint to allow us to chew food.

The muscles of the neck, however, are divided by their location relative to the vertebral column. They are distributed into three compartments; the anterior, lateral and posterior. These muscles produce the movements of the cervical spine (neck) and allow our head to move in various directions.

This video tutorial will introduce you to the main muscles of the head and neck and prepare you for the next steps in your learning path of this topic.

For a more detailed approach, check out the videos below:

Take a quiz

Take our quiz to solidify your knowledge of the head and neck muscles.

To adjust your focus and choose your own topics to get quizzed on, try out our customizable quiz:

Browse atlas

Review the anatomy of the major head and neck muscles with our atlas gallery.


Muscles of the head and neck
Masticatory muscles Temporalis, masseter, medial pterygoid, lateral pterygoid muscles
Muscles of facial expression Occipitofrontalis, orbicularis oculi, corrugator supercilii, procerus, nasalis, orbicularis oris, levator labii superioris, zygomaticus minor, buccinator, zygomaticus major, levator anguli oris, risorius, depressor anguli oris, depressor labii inferioris, mentalis, platysma
Anterior muscles of the neck Superficial muscles: Platysma, sternocleidomastoid
Suprahyoid muscles:
Digastric, mylohyoid, geniohyoid, stylohyoid
Infrahyoid muscles:
Sternohyoid, sternothyroid, thyrohyoid, omohyoid
Anterior vertebral muscles:
Rectus capitis, longus capitis, longus colli
Lateral muscles of the neck Anterior, middle, posterior scalene muscles
Posterior muscles of the neck Trapezius, splenius capitis, splenius cervicis, semispinalis capitis, semispinalis cervicis, rectus capitis posterior major, rectus capitis posterior minor, obliquus capitis superior, obliquus capitis inferior

Well done!

Related articles

Continue your learning

Register now and grab your free ultimate anatomy study guide!