Rectus capitis lateralis is one of the deep muscles of the neck. On both sides, it originates from the lateral mass of the atlas (C1 vertebra). Passing superiorly and slightly medially, it inserts into the jugular process of the occipital bone.
It is innervated by the anterior primary rami of the first cervical spinal nerve (C1).
Rectus capitis lateralis acts to:
- stabilize the head
- flex the head on the neck at the atlanto-occipital joint