Pain / Inflammation
Section 1: How a HEALTHY Musculoskeletal system works
- Section 1: How a HEALTHY Musculoskeletal system works
- Section 2: Painful Diseases
- Section 3: Self-evaluation
- Section 5: Glossary of Terms
How a HEALTHY Musculoskeletal system works
The SKELETON forms the framework for the body, and is made up of 206 bones. The skull, facial bones, spinal (vertebral) column, and ribcage (thorax) form the ‘axial skeleton’, while the shoulder girdles, pelvic girdle, upper & lower extremities arms and legs) are part of the ‘appendicular skeleton’. The entire skeleton is made up of a combination of largely ‘long’ bones, ‘short’ bones, ‘flat’ bones, and ‘irregular’ bones. Generally, bones are not meant to bend without being damaged, but we achieve a degree of mobility through joints, which are the points where bones are connected together. These joints (also called ‘articulations’) are made up of connective tissue, which is strong but also flexible, and therefore keeps them stable and securely in position. It is also called a joint when bone is attached to cartilage (a strong material that is softer than bone, but also has some cushioning properties) or connected to teeth, such as in your jawbone.
Most of the joints in the body are bound together by fibrous tissue, or ligaments, which are made up of strong tissue with elastic properties to allow movement. Many joints also have a type of sac in which they are enclosed, called a synovial cavity – they are then called synovial joints. These types of joints also allow the greatest range of movement.
Diagram of normal, healthy joint
The distinguishing feature of a synovial joint is the cavity that is located between the articulating bones. The inner lining (membrane) of this cavity secretes synovial fluid, which acts as a lubricant to cushion the ends of the bones. If the synovial joint (in diagram) is immobile for some time, the fluid inside may become a little viscous (gel-like), and make it difficult at first to move the joint properly. The benefit of exercise is that the synovial membrane is stimulated to produce synovial fluid, and the joint is therefore well ‘oiled’.
Diagram of body with muscles
The skeleton is the superstructure upon which the muscles are attached. Muscles are necessary to generate movement of the bones of the skeleton. Muscles contract and relax to move the body in different directions, and to perform a wide range of physical tasks.
The type of muscle that is attached to the bones is appropriately called ‘skeletal’ muscle. Most of these muscles are under our conscious control (ie. we decide when to move them, and direct their action).
Healthy muscles are elastic, extensible, and contract quickly and with force. This control happens through the nervous system, which has a connection with each muscle in the body, and every muscle fibre within an individual muscle. Importantly, healthy muscles also have a rich supply of blood to provide nutrients and oxygen for them to perform their work.
 The health information contained herein is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace discussions with a healthcare provider. All decisions regarding patient care must be made with a healthcare provider, considering the unique characteristics of the patient.