The diaphragm is a large, dome-shaped muscle located directly below the lungs. Along with the intercostal muscles (the muscles between the ribs), the diaphragm is a major muscle of respiration. The diaphragm contracts and flattens during inhalation, which causes the chest cavity to expand. This maneuver creates a vacuum which pulls air into the lungs. During exhalation, the diaphragm relaxes, returns to its previous shape, and air is forced out of the lungs.
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Also Known As: breathing muscle, muscle of respiration
Common Misspellings: Diaphram, Diaphragmn