Longus Colli

Original Editor - Wendy Walker

Top Contributors - Venus Pagare, Wendy Walker, Tarina van der Stockt and Kim Jackson  


Musculus longus colli or Musculus longus cervicis is one of the four deep cervical flexor muscles (AKA anterior cervical muscles) together with Longus Capitis, Rectus Capitis Anterior and Rectus Capitis Lateralis 
It consists of three portions:

  • Superior Oblique
  • Inferior Oblique
  • Vertical 
Longus colli.png


C3 to T3

Anterior tubercles and anterior surfaces of bodies of C3 to T3

Superior Oblique portion arises from anterior tubercles  of the transverse processes of the third, fourth, and fifth cervical vertebræ

Inferior Oblique portion arises from the front of the bodies of the first two or three thoracic vertebræ

Vertical portion arises from the front of the bodies of the upper three thoracic and lower three cervical vertebræ


Anterior arch of atlas, anterior tubercles of C5-6, anterior surfaces of bodies of vertebrae C2-4

Superior Oblique portion inserts into the tubercle on the anterior arch of the atlas

Inferior Oblique portion into the anterior tubercles of the transverse processes of the fifth and sixth cervical vertebræ

Verticle portion into the front of the bodies of the second, third, and fourth cervical vertebræ.

Nerve Supply


Ventral rami

Blood Supply

The muscle receives blood from the ascending cervical artery, which is a small branch of the inferior thyroid artery from the thyrocervical trunk of the subclavian artery. It also receives blood from the ascending pharyngeal artery. [1]


Cervical flexion, ipsilateral side flexion and some cervical rotation


As well as acting with the other cervical flexors to produce neck flexion, Longus Colli has been shown to have a postural function on cervical curvature, counteracting the lordosis increment related to the weight of the head and to the contraction of the posterior cervical muscles[2].

It is commonly implicated in whiplash[3]

Impaired strength and endurance of the deep neck flexors has been found to be a feature of cervicogenic headache[4].


  1. http://www.anatomyexpert.com/structure_detail/5274/492/
  2. Mayoux-Benhamou MA, Revel M, Vallée C, Roudier R, Barbet JP, Bargy F. Longus colli has a postural function on cervical curvature. Surg Radiol Anat. 1994;16(4):367-71
  3. Jull, GA. Deep Cervical Flexor Muscle Dysfunction in Whiplash. 2000, Vol. 8, No. 1-2 , Pages 143-154
  4. Zito G, Jull G, Story Clinical tests of musculoskeletal dysfunction in the diagnosis of cervicogenic headache IMan Ther. 2006 May; 11(2):118-29