And the Answer Is…

Occiput  via Pinterest

via Pinterest

For those of you who were absent for yesterday’s pop Anatomy Quiz, here’s the question:

The Occiput:  What is it? and Where does it live in your body?  Discuss.   Extra Credit for naming any muscles associated with it.

The Occiput (aka Occipital Bone) is the bone at the base of your cranium.

  • It articulates with the temporal and parietal bones of your cranium and serves to cradle, support, and protect your Amazing Brain.
  • It also articulates with your first cervical vertebra (aka C1, the Atlas Bone).
  • There’s a circular hole in the bottom of your Occiput called the Foramen Magnum (Great Hole).  Your spinal cord leaves your brain and passes through this space, then begins its journey down your spinal column.
  • Like Deb pointed out in her comment yesterday, some important muscles attach at your occiput:  Your suboccipitals, splenii, and upper trapezius are among them.  (You will not be quizzed on those names.)
  •  If you’d like a more scholarly description of the Occiput, please read Deb’s comment from yesterday.  But don’t let her scare you, she has a graduate degree in this stuff.

During your massage session, when you’re lying on your back, I’ll hold your cranium in my hands and my fingers will wrap around your occiput.   You might be surprised at the tension and discomfort you hold in this region.  But when you think about it, it makes sense.  These muscles help hold your heavy head (brain and all) up on top of your spine.  They work hard all the time stabilizing and balancing that mighty head of yours.  Muscular tension in the occipital region can be the source of (chronic) headaches.  Massage, of course, can resolve this tension and be a source of tremendous relief.

Many thanks and great job to those of you who participated in the quiz.  I LOVED your answers, both the text book and the creative.  Join me again next Monday for the next Pop Anatomy Quiz.  Don’t be shy, ALL answers are appreciated.  And there’s no right or wrong.


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