Muscles Part 2

Have you ever known someone that was called just skin and bones or a bag of bones?  We all would be if it weren’t for the 656 muscles that help hold our parts and pieces together.  Muscles make up about 42 % of the body weight in males and about 36% in females.  The lower the body fats the higher the percentages. 

There are 26 muscles of the head, many of which are used for  expressions.  The obicularis oris encircles the mouth and forms the lips.  It has no specific origin or insertion point and is used in closing the mouth and puckering the lips (all the better to kiss you with, my dear).  Actually, I think the big bad wolf was referring to the orbicularis oculi that surrounds the eye and helps it to open and close.  Without the help of the epicranius, zygomaticus, triangurlis, quadratus labii, buccinator and platysma, Little Red Riding Hood would have been little more than a silhouette through closed eyelids.

The temporalis, located in the temporal fossa of the skull, opens and closes the jaw, as does the masseter.  You can feel the muscle by placing the fingertips on the temples and moving the jaw.  There are two acupressure points along the length of the muscle.  If the area at the rear of the muscle is tender you’ve found one specific to the brain and spinal nerves.  If it’s tender further forward, slightly behind the forward curve of the temple, you’ve discovered the acupoint for the abdomen, excess fluid in the eyes, heart, lungs and stomach.  Acupressure can be a very effective tool.  Other muscles used for mastication are the ptergoids internus and ptergoids externus.

There are three muscles in the tongue, styloglossus, hyglossus and geneoglossus.  The back fence is a favorite place for glosso-muscle exercise.  The stylopharyngeus, constrictor pharyngis superior, c.p. medius and c.p. inferior make up the muscles of the pharynx. And those of the soft palate are the levator veli palatini, palatoglossus, palatopharyngeus, tensor veli palatini and musculus uvulae. 

Once you know some of the doctorese attached to a specific part of the body and/or to specific parts or their function, you can make a little more sense out of what all those long, combined words mean.  Example, levator veli palatini, raises (levator) the palate (palatini), or obicularis (orbits or encircles) oculi (the eyes).

There are 32 muscles of the neck that are involved in moving the head.  They attach to the back of the head, shoulders, upper and middle of the back, upper ribs and side of the neck.  All four muscle types are present and needed in order to turn and move the head from front to back and side to side.  When we have a stiff neck, even if only one muscle, or group of muscles, is sore, the entire range of motion is effected. 

598 muscles make up the balance of the muscles in the trunk and extremities. Each major section of the body has a major muscle group that’s supported by smaller muscles or muscles groups.  For every prime mover in any part of the body there has to be an antagonist that opposes it in order to be able to bring the part back to center.  If you flexed the forearm using the biceps brachii and had no triceps muscle as an antagonist, the arm would stay flexed.  Without a synergist there would be no way to turn the hand.  During the flexing, straightening and turning the fixator keeps the arm from flopping over to one side of the other.  This is the case with the entire organism.

Muscle tone is very beneficial to every muscle in the body.  If osteoporosis is a concern, the correct type of weight-bearing exercise may prove to be the answer.