Cervical Spinal Muscles
There are three type of muscles in the back that are involved in the function of the spine; These are the extensors, the flexors, and the oblique back muscles. Extensor muscles are connected to the back of the spine and allow a person to stand and to lift objects. The flexor muscles are at the front of the spine and enable bending forward, lifting, and arching of the back. Oblique muscles allow rotation to occur as they are attached to the sides of the spine. Ligaments and muscles work in combination to support the spine at rest and when in motion. All three types are involved in maintaining good posture, with the obliques under particular strain in this regard. Weakness in the spinal muscles can cause improper posture and excessive strain on other muscles in the body. Inflexibility is also a problem, with tight muscles having the potential to also alter posture, and to create pain. Correct posture helps with healthy weight distribution making trauma or injury to any of these muscles have the potential to overload others in turn.
The nomenclature used when naming muscles involves their shape and location, with the added feature of their function – such as flexion, extension, or rotation. Forward flexors are generally in the front (anterior) of the spine, lateral flexors, and rotators, are at the sides of the spine, and extensors are usually in the posterior (back) of the spine. Muscles have several layers created by a stratification of muscle fibers and fascias. Fascia is the thick connective tissue that surrounds a muscle or group of muscles. As suggested by the name, superficial fascia is located shallowly, directly under the skin. Other types of fascia are the epimysium which covers the exterior of the muscle, perimysium which divides the muscle fibers into bundles, also referred to as fascicles, and endomysium which covers each muscle fiber individually. It is through these fascias that the muscle fibers grouped together to form a single muscle whilst maintaining the ability for individual fibers to slide across each other when in motion.
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