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THE SKELETAL SYSTEM

Skeletal System

WHAT IF YOU DIDN'T HAVE BONES?

You'd be floppin' around like a Raggedy Ann doll. You wouldn't even be able to stand up, walk or even sit up in a chair. Without your bones you'd simply be a pile of organs, guts, skin, water and biochemical goo on the floor. When your muscles contract, they act as levers and pull on the joint between two bones creating movement. Look at your finger and then move it. The muscle contracted, pulled on the joint between two small bones and bent your finger. If you didn't have bones, a muscle would have nothing to attach itself to.

By the way, the end of muscles turn to tissue called "tendons" and it is the tendon that actually pulls on the bone. *(See additional picture below.)

Bones serve two purposes:

Bones like your spine (backbone), provides stability and structure so that you can stand up, sit up or hold yourself upright in order to walk; otherwise you'd just lay there, unable to move so much as your little pinky.

Other bones protect the delicate and sometimes soft tisses and organs inside of your body.

For instance, your skull is a group of fused bones. These fused bones serve as a hard-hat or protective helmet for your brain. Imagine if your brain was just covered with skin!!! The bones of your spinal column are called vertebrae, which surround your spinal cord and the spinal cord is a complex bundle of nerves. Imagine if you didn't have a rib cage to protect your heart, lungs and liver! These are vital organs; meaning you need them to survive!

HOW MANY BONES DO YOU HAVE?

In-utero you had over 300 bones! As you grew inside your mom and then were born, some of these bones began to fuse together. As a result, a full grown adult has only 206 bones!

Skeletal System

WHAT PURPOSE DO JOINTS SERVE?

Joints provide flexible connections between your bones. Imagine if you didn't have knee joints or hip joints. You'd walk around stiff-legged and you wouldn't be able to cross your legs or even squat on the toilet. Going up the stairs and even driving a car would be impossible.

Your body has different kinds of joints. Some, such as those in your knees, work like door hinges that help you to move back and forth. The joints in your neck help your bones to pivot so that you can turn your head. And other joints such as in the shoulder enable you to rotate your arms 360 degrees much like a shower head.

WHAT ELSE DO BONES DO?

Bones are made of "biochemical stuff" that give them strength. This "biochemical stuff" helps them grow and repair themselves. Just like other cells in your body, the bone cells rely on blood to keep them alive because the blood brings the bones food and oxygen and then removes the waste.

Skeletal System

Bones are alive because they are made of living cells. When there is a break in tissue or bone, your bone cells are busy growing and multiplying to repair the break! When you break your arm, blood clots form to close up the space between the broken segments, then your body will call in the troops (bone cells) to deposit more of the hard stuff to create a bridge in the break. The bridge joins both sides and heals the break.

WHAT IS BONE MARROW?

Many bones are hollow and this makes them light, although strong. The center of many bones is where bone marrow creates new red and white blood cells. Red blood cells distribute oxygen to all parts of your body and white blood cells assist you in fighting disease, critters and germs.

JUST THE FACTS:

  • Humans and giraffes have the same number of bones in their neck. Giraffe neck bones are just bigger.

  • You have over 230 moveable and semi-moveable joints in your body.

  • You have 27 bones in your hand.

  • You have 14 bones in your face.

  • The smallest bone in your body is the stirrup bone in the ear, which measures 1/10 of an inch.

  • The longest bone in your body is the femur (thigh bone), which is about 1/4 of your height.

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DISCLAIMER

**This web site's goal is to provide you with information that may be useful in attaining optimal health. Nothing in it is meant as a prescription or as medical advice. You should check with your physician before implementing any changes in your exercise or lifestyle habits, especially if you have physical problems or are taking medications of any kind.