No body system works in isolation; both similar and vastly different structures alike work together to make the human body function properly. The muscular system and nervous system, for example, help each other perform their respective motor and sensory duties. Muscles protect the delicate network of nerves that run throughout the body and also provide the brain with valuable information. Nerves, meanwhile, serve as a conduit between muscles and the director brain in full ranges of movement. Both systems are also important in digestive processes, heart functioning, and in maintaining a proper body temperature.
Perhaps the most apparent beneficiary link between the muscular system and nervous system involves the muscles' role in protecting the nerves. In addition to movement, muscles also give internal structures layers of strong and durable protection. The nerves are among these internal structures.
In addition, muscles lend a lesser-known helping hand to the nervous system. Nearly every muscle is populated with receptors that catalog most movements the body makes. These sensory receptors also evaluate environmental conditions surrounding the muscles. This information is relayed back to the brain, so that instructions for upcoming body movements or positions can be planned for accordingly.
Related to these functions, the muscular and nervous systems are mostly responsible for the implementation of body movements. While sensory nerves give the brain information, motor nerves attached to muscles serve as a direct link with the brain. When the brain sends its chemical messages, these impulses travel through motor nerves into muscular structures. Muscular contraction results, inducing movement.
The muscular system and nervous system also work together to maintain internal stability, otherwise known as homeostasis. Keeping a stable body temperature is perhaps one of the most important homeostatic functions, and muscles aid this process by moving the body and generating heat when conditions become too cold. Muscles usually receive these movement commands via the brain. As noted earlier, receptors in nerve fibers connected to the muscles will send signals notifying the brain of major sensory temperature changes. In the case of extreme cold conditions, the brain will then activate a number of bodily responses, including muscular movement.
Components of both the muscular system and nervous system are also found in the digestive tract and in the cardiac system. These muscles line digestive organs and help move food and digestive byproducts through the intestines and other digestive areas. As the food moves, it is broken down by surrounding substances. Since the brain controls the movements of all muscles, the muscular system and nervous system thus play a prominent role in digestion. They coordinate in a similar manner for the cardiac system, as cardiac muscles provide the essential foundation for heart contraction.