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The Nuchal and Supraspinous Ligaments.

new-kal   soopra-spy-nus

Lying on the median plane, the nuchal ligament and supraspinous ligament form a continuous strip of connective tissue from 'head to tail' at the posterior (back) of the body.

the nuchal ligament and supraspinous ligament form one continuous structure on the median plane at the posterior (back) of the body.  2D from the side, a 1 dimentional line from the front or back.

The Nuchal Ligament

Also known as the ligamentum nuchae.

  nuchae = "nape" (back of the neck).

the nuchal ligament in the back of the neck attaching to the skull and cervical vertebrae.  a 2D triangle like ligament when seen from the side.

The nuchal ligament - a sheet of connective tissue, midline in the back of the neck attaching to the skull and cervical vertebrae.

The nuchal ligament attaches to the midline bump on the back of the skull (external occipital protuberance) and the medial nuchal line (a.k.a the external occipital crest) of the skull.

Attaches to the spinous processes of the cervical vertebrae.

At the base of the neck (7th (last) cervical vertebra) the nuchal ligament continues as the cord-like supraspinous ligament.

The nuchal ligament is fibro-elastic, consisting of tough collagen fibres with elastic fibres too.

You should be able to easily feel the nuchal ligament in your neck (I could not!). Extend your head backward and press your fingers on the midline of the back of your neck. Then tilt your head forward and should be able to feel the nuchal ligament 'popping out' as it tightens to limit the forward bending of your head and neck.

A septum - "dividing wall" - situated between the trapezius muscles.

off-center front view of the trapezius muscle and where they attach.

Supraspinous Ligament.

Continuous with the nuchal ligament , the supraspinous ligament is a strong, fibrous cord that attaches to the spinal column from the base of the neck to the lower back.

The supraspinous ligament attaches to each vertebrae from the last cervical, all 12 thoracic vertebrae and the lumbar vertebrate to l3 l4 or l5.    The supraspinous ligament attaches to each spinous process that sticks out from each vertebrae.  Like a rope over a row of pillars on the median plane.

The supraspinous ligament attaches to the spinous processes of the seventh cervical vertebra, the twelve thoracic vertebrae and the upper lumbar vertebrae, usually terminating at L3, L4 or L5.

the trapezius muscle

The collagen fibres of the supraspinous ligament are arranged in bundles and layers.   The deepest fibres connect to the spinous processes of adjacent vertebrae, the middle fibres run between 2-3 vertebrae and the most superficial fibres span 3-4 vertebrae.

At the points of attachment to the tips of the spinous processes fibrocartilage is developed in the ligament. Intimately blended with the interspinal ligaments and neighbouring fascia.

the nuchal ligament attaching to the back of the skull, running down the back of the neck, becoming the supraspinous ligament to the sacrum.  The left and right trapezius muscles attach to the nuchal ligament and thoracic part of the supraspinous ligaments on the median plane, our midline.  The nuchal and supraspinous ligaments should align with the linea alba at the front of the body between the rectus abdominis muscles. Note the size and shape of the trapezius muscles - large, kite-like sheets of muscle that extend out towards the shoulders from midline head to mid-back.

The left and right trapezius muscles emerge from the nuchal ligament and the thoracic portion of the supraspinous ligament. Focusing on the trapezius muscles allows us to feel the relative positioning of these ligaments.

The nuchal and supraspinous ligaments should be free to fully extend and align with the linea alba.

References:

The Vertebral Column - ligaments

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Connect mind and body. Heal yourself.

 OPTIMISING THE USE OF YOUR MUSCLES = BETTER HEALTH.

USE YOUR BASE-LINE TO FEEL YOUR ALIGNMENT.

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