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Bones of the Human Cranium and Face

There are typically 206 bones in the body, though there may be up to about 226.
Of these there are 22 bones of the Skull, which include:

 

8 Cranial Bones:

1 x Ethmoid Bone
1 x Frontal Bone
1 x Occipital Bone
2 x Parietal Bones
1 x Sphenoid Bone
2 x Temporal Bones

14 Facial Bones:

2 x Inferior Nasal Conchae
2 x Lacrimal Bones
1 x Mandible
2 x Maxillae (pl.); Maxilla (sing.)
2 x Nasal Bones
2 x Palatine Bones
1 x Vomer
2 x Zygomatic Bones

The other bone also included in this section is the hyoid bone, which is located in the neck (as illustrated below).

Other bones that may also be required knowledge to pass courses in "Indian Head Massage" and other similar therapies include:

33 Spinal Bones:

33 x Vertebrae, including:
1 x Atlas (1st Vertebra), and
1 x Axis (2nd Vertebra).

Other Bones:

2 x Clavicle
2 x Humerus
2 x Scapula
1 x Sternum

The following two diagrams illustrate the positions of most of the cranial and facial bones required by First Level courses in massage and other therapies.

It is not possible to illustrate all of the bones and parts of bones that may be included on such courses without also including more complicated diagrams illustrating sections cut through the skull (such as sagittal and transverse sections).
To include information about the locations of all of the main features of the skeletal structures of the face and cranium, a table is included below the diagrams, summarising key facts about each.

Diagrams of Cranial and Facial Bones

Temporal Bone Parietal Bone Occipital Bone Lambdoid Suture Frontal Bone Coronal Suture Axis Bone Atlas Bone Sagittal Suture Temporal Bone Parietal Bone Parietal Bone Occipital Bone Occipital Bone Coronal Suture Lambdoid Suture Lambdoid Suture Coronal Suture Axis Bone Atlas Bone Parietal Bone Coronal Suture Zygomatic Bone Sphenoid Bone Maxilla Bone Mandible Bone Lacrimal Bones Ethmoid Bone Zygomatic Bone Sphenoid Bone Nasal Bone Lacrimal Bones Ethmoid Bone Sphenoid Bone Zygomatic Bone Temporal Bone Parietal Bone Occipital Bone Mandible Bone Lambdoid Suture Coronal Suture Sphenoid Bone Zygomatic Bone Maxilla Bone Mandible Bone Ethmoid Bone Zygomatic Bone Sphenoid Bone Parietal Bone Maxilla Bone Maxilla Bone Mandible Bone Mandible Bone Ethmoid Bone Lacrimal Bones Hyoid Bone Zygomatic Bone Sphenoid Bone Parietal Bone Maxilla Bone Maxilla Bone Mandible Bone Mandible Bone Ethmoid Bone Lacrimal Bones Hyoid Bone Maxilla Bone Mandible Bone Sagittal Suture Temporal Bone Occipital Bone Mandible Bone Hyoid Bone Frontal Bone Axis Bone Atlas Bone Mandible Bone Hyoid Bone Hyoid Bone Hyoid Bone Hyoid Bone Frontal Bone Coronal Suture Frontal Bone Zygomatic Bone Frontal Bone Zygomatic Bone Maxilla Bone Mandible Bone Frontal Bone Zygomatic Bone Sphenoid Bone Parietal Bone Maxilla Bone Mandible Bone Ethmoid Bone Lacrimal Bones Ethmoid Bone Zygomatic Bone Vomer Bone Maxilla Bone Mandible Bone Maxilla Bone Mandible Bone Mandible Bone Mandible Bone Mandible Bone


Table Summarising Key Features of Cranial and Facial Bones

   

Location(s)

Function(s) - of specific bones/features

General Features
(of skeletal structure of head)

     
 

Orbit(s)

Definition: The cavity (cavities) in the skull that contain the eye(s).

These cavities are formed from parts of the following bones (also mentioned below): frontal, ethmoid, lacrimal, maxillary, palatine, sphenoid, and zygomatic.

Mechanical protection of the sensitive structures of the eye(s), including the eye balls themselves, together with the associated muscles, nerves, blood supply, and other tissues.

 

Paranasal Sinuses

Definition: air-filled cavities lined with mucous membranes located within some skull bones.

Paranasal sinuses include: frontal sinuses and maxillary sinuses (one pair of each); ethmoid sinuses (many spaces inside the ethmoid bone); two sphenoid sinuses.
These are named after the bones in which they are located - see diagram for positions of bones.

Producing mucus;
Acting as resonating chambers - resulting in personal speaking and singing sounds that differ from person to person.
draining mucus out of the skull via the nasal cavities as necessary (e.g. in case of over-production of mucus).

 

Sutures

Definition: The word "suture" has meanings in both anatomy and surgery. In the context of anatomy, a 'suture' is a type of immovable joint found only between skull bones and consisting of a small amount of connective tissue between the bones.

There are several of these joints in the skull, examples include: Coronal Suture (between frontal and parietal bones); Lamboidal Suture (between the parietal and occipital bones); and Sagittal Suture (between the two parietal bones).

These joints hold the bones of the skull together.

 

 

 

Bones of the Cranium

     

 

Ethmoid

Floor of the cranium, inferior to the frontal bone and anterior to the sphenoid.
Non-technically: Centre of the face, behind the nose.

Forms part of the nasal cavity and the orbits.
Main support structure of the nasal cavity

 

Frontal

Forehead, extending down to form the upper surfaces of the orbits. Anterior roof of the skull.

 

 

Occipital

Back and base of the cranium, forms the back of the skull.
Non-technically: Lower back of the head.

The occipital condyles (rounded surfaces at the base of the occipital bone) articulate with the atlas (first vertebra of the spine), enabling movement of the head relative to the spine.
Has a large opening called the Foramen Magnus which the spinal cord passes through.

 

Parietal

Top and sides of the cranium, posterior roof of the skull.

 

 

Sphenoid

Anterior to the temporal bones and forms the base of cranium - behind the orbitals.
Consists of a body, two "wings" and two "pterygoid processes" (not labelled on diagrams) that project downwards.

Articulates with the frontal, parietal and temporal bones.

 

Temporal

Sides of the skull, below the parietal bones, and above and behind the ears

 

Bones of the Face

 

Hyoid

In the neck, below the tongue (held in place by ligaments and muscles between it and the styloid process of the temporal bone).

Supports the tongue, providing attachment sites for some tongue muscles, and also some muscles of the neck and pharynx.
(Commonly fractured during strangulation, so studied in autopsies if strangulation suspected.)

 

Lacrimal

Behind and lateral to the nasal bone, also contribute to the orbits.
(Smallest bones in the face.)

Contain foramina for the nasolacrimal ducts (tear ducts).

 

Mandible

Known as the lower jaw bone. Also forms the chin and sides of the face.
(Largest, strongest facial bone.)

Bone into which the lower teeth are attached.
The only moveable facial bone; motion of this bone is necessary for chewing food (the first stage of the digestion process).
Each side of the mandible has a condyle and a coronoid process. The condyle articulates with the temporal bone to form the temporomandibular joint.

 

Maxilla

Upper jaw bone, which also forms the lower parts of the orbits.

Bone into which the upper teeth are attached.
Each maxilla contains a maxillary sinus that drains fluid into the nasal cavity.

 

Nasal

Pair of small oblong bones that form the bridge and roof of the nose.

 

 

Palatine

Back of the roof of the mouth (hence not illustrated above). Small "L-shaped" bones.

Form the bottom of the orbitals and nasal cavities, and also the roof of the mouth.

 

Turbinator

Also known as Turbinate Bone and Nasal Concha. These terms refer to any of three thin bones that form the sides of the nasal cavity (not illustrated in the diagrams above).

Form the nasal cavities.

 

Vomer

Thin roughly triangular plate of bone on the floor of the nasal cavity and part of the nasal septum.

Separates the nasal cavities into left and right sides.

 

Zygomatic

Also known as Zygoma and Malar Bone.
Commonly (non-medically) referred to as the
Cheek Bone because it forms the prominent part of the cheeks. Also contributes to the orbits.

Articulates with the frontal, maxilla, sphenoid and temporal bones.

The functions stated above are in addition to the general functions for the category of bones, that is:

 

Type of Bone(s)

Function

   

 

Cranial

Protection of the brain;
Inner-surfaces attach to membranes that stabilise the positions of the brain, blood vessels, and nerves;
Outer-surfaces act as areas of attachment for muscles that move the head in various ways;
Protect and support organs for the senses of vision, taste, smell, hearing and equilibrium/balance.

 

Facial

Form the mechanical framework of the face;
Protect and support entry points of both the digestive, and the respiratory systems;
Provide attachment for some muscles of facial expression;
Protect and support organs for the senses of vision, taste, smell, hearing and equilibrium/balance.

Table Summarising Key Features of other Related Bones

 

Bone

Location(s)

Function(s)

   

 

Atlas

The first (upper-most) vertebra.
See diagram above.

Supports and balances the head.
Allows flexion and extension of the head.

 

Axis

The second vertebra, immediately below the Atlas.
See diagram above.

Allows rotation of the head.

 

Clavicle

Long bone(s) positioned in an approximately horizontal orientation between the base of the neck and the shoulders. Forms the anterior aspect of the shoulder girdle and is sometimes (non-medically) referred to as the "collar bone".

Articulates with the sternum (medially) and the scapulae (laterally).

 

Humerus

Long bone located in upper-arm
(the longest bone in the upper-skeleton)

Providing the mechanical structure of the upper-arms. Articulates with the scapula, enabling movement of the arms at the shoulder joints.

 

Scapula

Large, flat, triangular bones that form the posterior shoulder girdle (one scapula is located on each side of the body).

Providing mechanical structure for the upper-body. Articulates with the clavicle and humerus, enabling movement of the arms at the shoulder joints.

 

Sternum

Center of the chest, sometimes (non-medically) referred to as the "breast bone".

Point of attachment for some (though not all) ribs.

 

Vertebrae

The spine consists of 33 vertebrae, each of which articulates with the adjoining vertebrae (above and below).

Provides mechanical structure for the body, enabling movement.
The spinal cord (i.e. of the central nervous system - CNS) passes through, and is protected by all the vertebrae.

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