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The diaphragm

The change in volume of the thoracic cavity during breathing is due to the alternate contraction and relaxation of the diaphragm    ( [link] ). It separates the thoracic and abdominal cavities, and is dome-shaped at rest. The superior surface of the diaphragm is convex, creating the elevated floor of the thoracic cavity. The inferior surface is concave, creating the curved roof of the abdominal cavity.

Muscles of the diaphragm

This figure shows the inferior view of the diaphragm with the major parts labeled.
The diaphragm separates the thoracic and abdominal cavities.

Defecating, urination, and even childbirth involve cooperation between the diaphragm and abdominal muscles (this cooperation is referred to as the “Valsalva maneuver”). You hold your breath by a steady contraction of the diaphragm; this stabilizes the volume and pressure of the peritoneal cavity. When the abdominal muscles contract, the pressure cannot push the diaphragm up, so it increases pressure on the intestinal tract (defecation), urinary tract (urination), or reproductive tract (childbirth).

The inferior surface of the pericardial sac and the inferior surfaces of the pleural membranes (parietal pleura) fuse onto the central tendon of the diaphragm. To the sides of the tendon are the skeletal muscle portions of the diaphragm, which insert into the tendon while having a number of origins including the xiphoid process of the sternum anteriorly, the inferior six ribs and their cartilages laterally, and the lumbar vertebrae and 12th ribs posteriorly.

The diaphragm also includes three openings for the passage of structures between the thorax and the abdomen. The inferior vena cava passes through the caval opening    , and the esophagus and attached nerves pass through the esophageal hiatus. The aorta, thoracic duct, and azygous vein pass through the aortic hiatus of the posterior diaphragm.

The intercostal muscles

There are three sets of muscles, called intercostal muscles    , which span each of the intercostal spaces. The principal role of the intercostal muscles is to assist in breathing by changing the dimensions of the rib cage ( [link] ).

Intercostal muscles

This figure shows the muscles in the thorax. The left panel shows the ribs, the major bones, and the muscles connecting them. The right panel shows a magnified view of the sternum and labels the muscles.
The external intercostals are located laterally on the sides of the body. The internal intercostals are located medially near the sternum. The innermost intercostals are located deep to both the internal and external intercostals.

The 11 pairs of superficial external intercostal    muscles aid in inspiration of air during breathing because when they contract, they raise the rib cage, which expands it. The 11 pairs of internal intercostal    muscles, just under the externals, are used for expiration because they draw the ribs together to constrict the rib cage. The innermost intercostal    muscles are the deepest, and they act as synergists for the action of the internal intercostals.

Muscles of the pelvic floor and perineum

The pelvic floor is a muscular sheet that defines the inferior portion of the pelvic cavity. The pelvic diaphragm    , spanning anteriorly to posteriorly from the pubis to the coccyx, comprises the levator ani and the ischiococcygeus. Its openings include the anal canal and urethra, and the vagina in women.

The large levator ani    consists of two skeletal muscles, the pubococcygeus    and the iliococcygeus    ( [link] ). The levator ani is considered the most important muscle of the pelvic floor because it supports the pelvic viscera. It resists the pressure produced by contraction of the abdominal muscles so that the pressure is applied to the colon to aid in defecation and to the uterus to aid in childbirth (assisted by the ischiococcygeus    , which pulls the coccyx anteriorly). This muscle also creates skeletal muscle sphincters at the urethra and anus.

Muscles of the pelvic floor

This image shows the superior view of the pelvic diaphragm.
The pelvic floor muscles support the pelvic organs, resist intra-abdominal pressure, and work as sphincters for the urethra, rectum, and vagina.

The perineum    is the diamond-shaped space between the pubic symphysis (anteriorly), the coccyx (posteriorly), and the ischial tuberosities (laterally), lying just inferior to the pelvic diaphragm (levator ani and coccygeus). Divided transversely into triangles, the anterior is the urogenital triangle    , which includes the external genitals. The posterior is the anal triangle    , which contains the anus ( [link] ). The perineum is also divided into superficial and deep layers with some of the muscles common to men and women ( [link] ). Women also have the compressor urethrae    and the sphincter urethrovaginalis    , which function to close the vagina. In men, there is the deep transverse perineal    muscle that plays a role in ejaculation.

Muscles of the perineum

The left panel shows the muscles of the perineum in the male, and the right panel shows the muscles of the perineum in the female.
The perineum muscles play roles in urination in both sexes, ejaculation in men, and vaginal contraction in women.

Muscles of the perineum common to men and women

This table describes the muscles of the perineum that are common to men and women. The levator ani pubococcygeus and levator ani iliococcygeus control movements during defaction, urination, coughing, and giving birth. They originate in the pubis and ischium. The superficial transverse perineal supports the perineal body maintaining the anus at the center of the perineum. It originates in the ischium. The bulbospongiosus is a superficial muscle that causes an involuntary response that compresses the urethra when excreting urine in both sexes or while ejaculating in males; it also aids in erection of the penis in males. It originates in the perineal body. The ischiocavernosus is a superficial muscle that compresses veins to maintain erection of the penis in males and erection of the clitoris in females. It originates in the ischium, ischial rami, and pubic rami. The external uretral sphincter is a deep muscle that voluntarily compresses the urethra during urination. It originates in the ischial rami and pubic rami. The external anal sphincter is a deep muscle that closes the anus. It originates in the anoccoccygeal ligament.

Chapter review

Made of skin, fascia, and four pairs of muscle, the anterior abdominal wall protects the organs located in the abdomen and moves the vertebral column. These muscles include the rectus abdominis, which extends through the entire length of the trunk, the external oblique, the internal oblique, and the transversus abdominus. The quadratus lumborum forms the posterior abdominal wall.

The muscles of the thorax play a large role in breathing, especially the dome-shaped diaphragm. When it contracts and flattens, the volume inside the pleural cavities increases, which decreases the pressure within them. As a result, air will flow into the lungs. The external and internal intercostal muscles span the space between the ribs and help change the shape of the rib cage and the volume-pressure ratio inside the pleural cavities during inspiration and expiration.

The perineum muscles play roles in urination in both sexes, ejaculation in men, and vaginal contraction in women. The pelvic floor muscles support the pelvic organs, resist intra-abdominal pressure, and work as sphincters for the urethra, rectum, and vagina.

Questions & Answers

what is metabolism
fred Reply
Chemical reaction that takes in place in the cell of a living organism that includes anabolism and Catobolism.
Norman
Catabolism*
Norman
metabolic chemical reaction is of two types, anabolism and catabolism. The break down of larger molecules into smaller molecules is called catabolism.
Ahmad
Metabolism is the chemical reaction that includes anabolism and catabolism
Kedha's
Anabolism is the chemical reaction that combines all the smaller quantities to make large
Kedha's
Catabolism is the chemical process that breaks larger quantities into small
Kedha's
what's abdominal police?
Mohamed
hcl
Annette
hydrochloric acid is the stomach police
Annette
its the stomach omentum
Agama
description of the ears
Nana Reply
which component of mucus allows it to maintain local level of hydration
Loriann Reply
can the teeth be classify under bones?
Ojaga Reply
Bony prominents
guka
What is the largest muscle in the lower leg
Gwen Reply
what's a nervous system
Dante Reply
Is a the group of neurons and glial cells that work together to receive, integrate and responds appropriately to stimulus in the periphery, spinal cord and brain.
Hertzo
study about internal structure, outer structure and their functions
Navdeep Reply
circulatory system on blood pressure
Lakhu Reply
What is ELISA
POULAMI Reply
(enzyme linked immunosorbent assay) is a test that uses antibodies and color change to identify a substance.
luke
tr
Mohamed
what's defense mechanism?
Saintina
psychological strategies that are unconsciously used to protect a person from anxiety arising from unacceptable thoughts or feelings.
Henry
difference between apocrine sweat glands and merocrine sweat glands
Binkheir Reply
I believe the apocrine sweat gland uses a sac under the hair follicle and the merocrine sweat gland releases directly on to the surface of the skin
Mark
normal blood volume in our body
pankaj Reply
5Litres
Albert
Normal blood volume in adults is 6 litres
Kedha's
4.7 to 5ltr.. normal for adult
Clangbhelle
what are the advantages of the concave shape of red blood cells?
Amy Reply
This structure is VERY flexible. It can allow these cells to get into the most tiny places in our bodies. a VERY good design! The advantage of red blood cells' biconcave shape is that the surface area is increased to allow more haemoglobin to be stored in the cell.
Saafi
They can stack so that they can move to capillaries
Nejat
what is the difference between phagocytosis and Pinosis
fred
action of gluteus medius and minimus
Green Reply
Lateral rotation of the hip joint
Hertzo
Briefly explain location of ecg on a patient
Prince Reply
it is a machine that gives a graphical representation of heart beat
Nani
Briefly explain location of ecg leads on a patient?
Prince
in ecg we use electrical leads over the chest ,ancle and wrist
Nani
what is the anatomical and function difference between paravertebral and prevertebral ganglia ?
Rada Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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