Author: Dr Peter de Souza
Last modified: 23 November 2023

The semispinalis muscle is one of the transversospinales muscles, which are a group of deep muscles within the back which lie deep to the erector spinae. There are three major muscle groups within the transversospinales: semispinalis, multifidus and rotares.

The semispinalis is the most superficial set of muscles in the transversospinales group and is comprised of three components: the semispinalis capitis, semispinalis cervicis, and the semispinalis thoracis.


  • semispinalis thoracis: transverse processes of T6-10
  • semispinalis cervicis: transverse processes of T1-5
  • semispinalis capitis: transverse processes of C7-T6


  • semispinalis thoracis: spinous processes of C5-T4
  • semispinalis cervicis: spinous processes of C2-C5
  • semispinalis capitis: occiput


  • Extends the neck
  • Rotates head to opposite side


  • Dorsal rami of cervical, and thoracic spinal nerves