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Muscular System: Injuries & Disorders

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  • 0:01 What Is the Muscular System?
  • 1:02 Injuries of the…
  • 2:33 Diseases & Disorders…
  • 4:12 Importance of Exercise
  • 5:32 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: David Wood

David has taught Honors Physics, AP Physics, IB Physics and general science courses. He has a Masters in Education, and a Bachelors in Physics.

What is the muscular system? And what can affect it? Learn about some of the injuries and disorders that are possible for the muscular system, and see how to prevent them using varied exercise.

What Is the Muscular System?

You're running across a football field when you suddenly lose your footing and fall to the ground. Suddenly, every step hurts, and your muscle isn't in good shape. When you damage a muscle, it isn't very nice. Muscles are involved in every movement that we make, and it's practically impossible to rest all of them at once. They are central to the way our body works.

The muscular system is one of the organ systems of the body that allows us to move and maintain posture, and includes skeletal muscles, smooth muscles, and cardiac muscles. The parts of muscle include the muscle material itself; the tendon, which is a fibrous connective tissue attaching that muscle to the bone; and the ligament, which attaches nearby bone to bone for stability. It's an important system, and when something goes wrong, it's hard to function. In this lesson, we are going to discuss some of the injuries and diseases that can affect this system.

Injuries of the Muscular System

There are several types of possible injuries to the muscular system: sprains, strains, cramps, spasms, splints, and tendinitis.

Sprains and strains both involve a stretch and/or tear of part of the muscular system. A sprain is a stretch or tear of a ligament, and a strain is a stretch or tear of a muscle or tendon. Treatment involves the RICE method: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Strains can be especially slow to heal.

A cramp or spasm is a sudden involuntary muscle contraction after over-activity or due to dehydration. It's treated through rest, drinking water, stretching, and electrolyte replacement.

Splints (most commonly shin splints) are an injury involving inflammation of the muscles due to repetitive stress or over-activity, like running. Treatment includes rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medication, and changes to footwear and activity intensity.

Tendinitis is the inflammation of the tendon, often because of chronic damage, though we now know most cases have no such inflammation and are purely muscle damage. This can happen when an injury is made worse by not resting or an action is done repeatedly to the point that multiple injuries occur. Treatments involve pain management and physical therapy to strengthen muscles.

Diseases & Disorders of the Muscular System

Diseases and disorders of the muscular system include dystrophy, tendinosis, FMS, mitochondrial myopathy, myasthenia gravis, and tetanus.

Muscular dystrophy is a group of diseases that weaken the muscular system and make it harder to move. The diseases are usually progressive - they get worse over time - and affect proteins causing the death of muscle cells.

Tendinosis is a degenerative disease that causes tendons to break down and form scar tissue when the tendons are no longer able to repair themselves after an injury. There are many commonly used treatments, but they're not very effective.

Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is basically widespread chronic pain. It is often resistant to treatment and so the focus is usually on learning how to live with the issue.

Mitochondrial myopathy is a defect in how ATP is produced in mitochondria. It makes it hard for the mitochondria to produce energy from your food, which causes muscle cells to become damaged and feel weak. Again, we can only treat symptoms and not stop the progression of the disorder itself.

Myasthenia gravis is where the immune system attacks the junction between the nerves and muscles, making it hard for your brain to communicate with the muscles. This also makes muscles feel weak. Treatments include plasma exchange and various drugs.

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