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The suboccipital muscles are a group of four muscles that are located at the base of the head. These muscles serve as postural support and allow extension and rotation movements of the neck. 

The vertebral artery travels a torturous course behind the suboccipital muscles while giving off branches that supply the suboccipital muscles.

Clinically, the suboccipital muscles have importance regarding their close relationship to the vertebral artery. [1]

Restoring the normal function of the suboccipital muscles can improve the headache and neck pain.[2],[3] 


[1] George T, Tadi P. Anatomy, Head and Neck, Suboccipital Muscles. [Updated 2021 Jan 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from:

[2]Cho, Sung Hak. ‘The Effect of Suboccipital Muscle Inhibition and Posture Correction Exercises on Chronic Tension-type Headaches’. 1 Jan. 2021 : 1 – 8.

[3]Jiang, Wenbin et al. “Effectiveness of physical therapy on the suboccipital area of patients with tension-type headache: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” Medicine vol. 98,19 (2019): e15487. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000015487

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