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What Are Axial Movements?

The axial skeleton consists of the skull, vertebral column and rib cage. These bones form a ring around the central axis of the body, which is formed by the spinal cord. The vertebrae are stacked one above the other and joined by intervertebral discs that act as shock absorbers for movement.

Axial muscle contractions produce movement in the head and neck, which includes flexion (forward bending), extension (backward bending), rotation (turning side to side), lateral flexion (bending sideways) and nodding. These movements occur with little resistance because they involve only small muscle groups and joints within their range of motion.

The axial muscles include those that control eye movements, chewing, swallowing and speech production. They also support body weight during standing or sitting upright, as well as while walking or running.

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Last modified: October 15, 2022