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Exploring the Core of Movement: A Comprehensive Guide to Functional Anatomy of the Trunk

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Table of Contents

The trunk, or the core, is a vital human body part that connects the upper and lower extremities. It comprises several muscles, bones, and organs that work together to provide stability and mobility during everyday activities.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the functional anatomy of the trunk, including its muscles, bones, and organs. We will also discuss the common injuries and conditions that can affect the trunk and the best practices for preventing and treating these issues.

Bones of the Trunk

The trunk contains several bones, including the spine, ribs, and pelvis. The spine, also known as the vertebral column, comprises 33 vertebrae that provide support and protection to the spinal cord.

The ribs are 12 pairs of bones that protect the organs in the chest, including the heart and lungs. The pelvis is a bone ring connecting the trunk to the lower extremities.

Muscles of the Trunk

The trunk contains several muscles that work together to provide movement and stability. These muscles can be divided into three main groups: the abdominal muscles, the back muscles, and the pelvic floor muscles.

The abdominal muscles include the rectus abdominis, external obliques, internal obliques, and transversus abdominis. These muscles are responsible for flexing and rotating the trunk and providing stability and support to the spine.

The back muscles include the erector spinae, latissimus dorsi, and trapezius. These muscles are responsible for extending and rotating the trunk and providing support and stability to the spine.

The muscles of the pelvic floor include the levator ani and the coccygeus. These muscles are responsible for supporting the pelvic organs and maintaining continence.

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Organs of the Trunk

The trunk contains several organs, including the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys. These organs are vital for maintaining the body’s overall function and health.

The heart is a muscular organ that pumps blood throughout the body. The lungs are responsible for oxygenating the blood and removing carbon dioxide. The liver is responsible for filtering toxins from the blood, while the kidneys filter waste products from the blood and produce urine.

Common Injuries and Conditions

The trunk is prone to several injuries and conditions, including:

Low back pain

This common condition affects the muscles and ligaments in the lower back. It can be caused by poor posture, overuse, or injury.

Herniated disc

This is a condition in which the soft tissue between the vertebrae in the spine becomes compressed or displaced. It can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the legs.


This is a condition in which the spine curves to the side. It can cause pain and discomfort and affect the body’s overall function.

Pelvic floor dysfunction

This is a condition in which the muscles of the pelvic floor become weak or tight, leading to incontinence, pain, and discomfort.

Prevention and Treatment

The best way to prevent injuries and conditions in the trunk is to practice proper technique and form during activities that involve the trunk, such as lifting and bending. It is also important to maintain good posture and to exercise regularly to keep the muscles and bones strong and healthy.

If you experience pain or discomfort in the trunk, it is important to seek medical attention. Treatment options may include physical therapy, medication, or in some cases, surgery.


The trunk is a complex system of bones, muscles, and organs that plays a crucial role in our daily lives. By understanding the functional anatomy of the trunk and taking steps to prevent injuries, we can ensure optimal function and mobility throughout our lives.


  1. What is the function of the trunk?

    The trunk provides stability and mobility to the body and protection for the vital organs in the chest and abdomen.

  2. What are the main bones in the trunk?

    The main bones in the trunk are the spine, ribs, and pelvis.

  3. What are the main muscles in the trunk?

    The main muscles in the trunk are the abdominal muscles, back muscles, and muscles of the pelvic floor.

  4. What common injuries and conditions can affect the trunk?

    Some common injuries and conditions include low back pain, herniated discs, scoliosis, and pelvic floor dysfunction.

  5. How can I prevent injuries in the trunk?

    You can prevent injuries by practicing proper technique and form, maintaining good posture, and exercising regularly.

Editor’s note: The content on Base Strength is meant to be informative in nature, but it shouldn’t take the place of advice and/or supervision from a medical professional. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. Speak with your physician if you have any concerns. Please also see our disclaimers.

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