The hyoid bone is a horseshoe-shaped bone located in the anterior midline of the neck between the chin and the thyroid cartilage . At rest, it lies at the level of the base of the mandible or lower jaw in the front and the third cervical vertebrae(C3) behind.
Unlike other bones, the hyoid is not attached to other bones by muscles or ligaments. The hyoid is anchored by muscles from the anterior, posterior and inferior directions, and aids in tongue movement and swallowing. The hyoid bone provides attachment to the muscles of the floor of the mouth and the tongue above, the larynx below, and the epiglottis and pharynx behind.
It is located in the front, middle of the throat between the lower jaw and the larynx, which is also called the voice box. The hyoid bone is involved in several functions of the throat, including breathing, swallowing, and talking.
A hyoid bone dislocation occurs when this bone is moved from its normal position in the throat. Common causes of hyoid bone dislocations include car accidents, strangulation, and direct trauma to the neck including surgery for thyroid problems or other anterior neck problems
Symptoms of a dislocated hyoid bone include: pain, especially when swallowing. difficulty swallowing and talking, swelling of the neck and severe dislocations may cause difficulty breathing. Intubation for a surgical procedure that is not positioned correctly can affect the position of the hyoid.
The historical importance of the hyoid traces back to the Neanderthals and Homo sapiens for the origin of speech. Unlike in other mammals, the human hyoid bone works together with the tongue and the larynx to produce effective speech as it is responsible for the movement of many small muscles. So an imbalance in the position of the hyoid and the muscles attachments to the tongue, larynx and pharynx .
One other observation with the hyoid bone is that it can act as one of the body’s gyroscopes; movement of the hyoid bone can affect movement throughout the body and vice versa. Look at the above picture and imagine the change in position of the hyoid and the cervical (neck) spine if, for example, there was a break in the rt. clavicle..destroying muscle control of all the muscles on the right. We know of cases from martial arts that some students have problems with their balance after being kicked in their throats .
Look again at the attachment of muscles above the hyoid and how they attach to the bottom of the jaw or mandible ; making the hyoid and its muscles part of an examination of TMJ (jaw) problems.
As the TMJ is part of the skull and the the cranial bones are checked for alignment ,and we know that the stylohyoid ligament runs from the temporal lobe of the skull to the lesser cornua of the hyoid bone.
Copyright – 2018-Dr. Vittoria Repetto
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