Question:

What causes a spasm of the diaphragm?

Answer:

Phrenic nerves control the movement & sensation of the diaphragm. Any irritation to these nerves induces a spasm of the diaphragm.

More Info:

diaphragm Anatomy

The phrenic nerve is a nerve that originates in the neck (C3-C5) and passes down between the lung and heart to reach the diaphragm. It is important for breathing, as it passes motor information to the diaphragm and receives sensory information from it. There are two phrenic nerves, a left and a right one.

The phrenic nerve originates mainly from the 4th cervical nerve, but also receives contributions from the 5th and 3rd cervical nerves (C3-C5) in humans. Thus, the phrenic nerve receives innervation from parts of both the cervical plexus and the brachial plexus of nerves.

In the anatomy of mammals, the thoracic diaphragm, or simply the diaphragm (Ancient Greek: διάφραγμα diáphragma “partition”), is a sheet of internal skeletal muscle that extends across the bottom of the rib cage. The diaphragm separates the thoracic cavity (heart, lungs & ribs) from the abdominal cavity and performs an important function in respiration: as the diaphragm contracts, the volume of the thoracic cavity increases and air is drawn into the lungs.

A "diaphragm" in anatomy can refer to other flat structures such as the urogenital diaphragm or pelvic diaphragm, but "the diaphragm" generally refers to the thoracic diaphragm. Other vertebrates such as amphibians and reptiles have diaphragm-like structures, but important details of the anatomy vary, such as the position of lungs in the abdominal cavity.

Spasm

A medical sign is an objective indication of some medical fact or characteristic that may be detected by a physician during a physical examination or by a clinical scientist by means of an in vivo examination of a patient.

Signs may have no meaning to the patient, and may even go unnoticed, but may be meaningful and significant to the healthcare provider in assisting the diagnosis of medical condition(s) responsible for the patient's symptoms.

A bladder spasm is a contraction of the bladder which generates an urge to urinate, sometimes accompanied by extreme pain. Incontinence may occur if the bladder spasm continues, as the contraction will force urine out. Any resulting stream of urine may be impossible to stop, as the patient does not have control over his or her bladder.

A number of conditions can lead to bladder spasm; all should be addressed by a doctor.

Kehr's sign is the occurrence of acute pain in the tip of the shoulder due to the presence of blood or other irritants in the peritoneal cavity when a person is lying down and the legs are elevated. Kehr's sign in the left shoulder is considered a classical symptom of a ruptured spleen. May result from diaphragmatic or peridiaphragmatic lesions, renal calculi, splenic injury or ruptured ectopic pregnancy.

Kehr's sign is a classical example of referred pain: irritation of the diaphragm is signalled by the phrenic nerve as pain in the area above the collarbone. This is because the supraclavicular nerves have the same cervical nerves origin as the phrenic nerve, C3 and C4.

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