Digastric Muscle: Action, Origin & Insertion

The digastric muscle is a small muscle located in the neck, beneath the lower jaw. In this lesson, learn about the origin, insertion, and action of the digastric muscle.
Digastric Muscle
Is your digastric muscle working correctly? To find out, perform this quick physical assessment.
Open and then close your mouth
If you were able to do these two steps, your digastric muscle is most likely working just fine. The digastric muscle is a small muscle located in the neck, just below the lower jaw.
The name comes from the fact that this muscle has two different muscle bellies, anterior belly and posterior belly, that are joined together by a tendon. ”Di-” means ”two,” while ”-gastric” refers to the stomach or belly.
Digastric Muscle: Origin
So where does this muscle begin? Since the digastric muscle has two different bellies, it has two different points of origin.
The anterior (front) belly originates from the inner, back surface of the mandible (lower jaw) in an area called the digastric fossa. The digastric fossa is located on the inner jaw, right behind the middle point of the chin.
The posterior (back) belly of the digastric muscle originates from the mastoid process of the temporal bone. The mastoid process is a cone-shaped bone that protrudes from a bone located at the side of the skull called the temporal bone.
The Digastric Muscle: Insertion
So where does the digastric muscle end? The insertion point of a muscle refers to the location of the body where a muscle ends or attaches to another body part.
The digastric muscle inserts on the hyoid bone, which is a horseshoe-shaped bone located in the middle front of the neck just above the larynx, or voice box. The digastric muscle inserts on the hyoid bone by the tendon that connects the anterior and posterior bellies of this muscle.
Digastric Muscle: Action
There are two main actions or movements caused by the digastric muscle:
Opening the lower jaw – The digastric muscle depresses the mandible, or lower jaw, by pulling it down.
Aides in swallowing – During a swallow, the digastric muscle elevates the hyoid bone which helps the movement of substances down the throat.
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