RESOURCES

Glossary

A

  • Activator:

    A spring-loaded adjusting instrument that utilizes an extremely rapid pulse to help restore normal functioning in the body.

  • Acupressure:

    The practice of applying; pressure on parts of the body to relieve pain.

  • Acupuncture:

    The practice of inserting fine needles on specific meridian points for the purpose of relieving tension, stress, and pain. Highly useful in the treatment and relief of back pain.

  • Adjustments:

    A form of chiropractic technique involving the application of gentle, yet firm, pressure to a bone. Adjustments employ a high velocity, low amplitude thrust. The goal of any adjustment is to restore the bone to its natural, or original, position.

  • Adrenal Glands:

    Small glands located on the kidneys that produce the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol.

  • Alternative Medicine:

    The use of various non-drug, non-surgical related therapies. Using natural means of treatment.

  • Anabolism:

    The metabolic process of building new tissue. Typically used in relation to building muscle, ligaments and tendons.

  • Analgesics:

    Medicines that are used to relieve pain - aspirin is an example.

  • Anesthesiologist:

    A physician who specializes in giving drugs or other agents that block, prevent, or relieve pain.

  • Ankylosing Spondylitis:

    A chronic, progressive, rheumatic disease of the spine that causes calcification of the spinal ligaments, resulting in a loss of movement.

  • Annulus Fibrosis:

    The tough outer layer of the intervertebral disc. Cartilage-like material formed in a series of rings surrounding the nucleus pulposus (soft center) of a disc.

  • Autonomic Nervous System:

    The part of the nervous system that is responsible for controlling the involuntary functions in the body, such as digestion, metabolism, blood pressure, etc.

B

  • Back Extension:

    Backward bending of the spine.

  • Back Flexion:

    Forward bending of the spine.

  • Bodywork:

    A general term that relates to a wide variety of hands-on therapies, such as massage and some movement therapies.

  • Bulging Disc:

    The annulus portion of the lumbar disc weakens causing the nucleus to press against it resulting in the annulus pinching or pressing against a nerve causing pain.

  • Bursitis:

    A condition in which the bursa, or fluid filled sacks that cushion joints, become swollen. Bursa injections of anesthetics can relieve pain and reduce inflammation.

C

  • Catabolism:

    The metabolic process of breaking down tissues. Typically refers to the breakdown of muscle, bone, ligaments and tendons.

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

    A progressive and sometimes painful joint disorder caused by a compression of the median nerve of your hand. The compression causes swelling, which exerts pressure on the nerves.

  • Cauda Equina:

    A region at the lower end of the spinal column in which nerve roots branch out in a fashion that resembles a horse's tail.

  • Cervical Spine:

    The upper portion of your spine; also called the neck.

  • Chiropractic:

    Comes from the Greek words, "chiro," meaning hand, and "practic," meaning practice, or treatment. Chiropractic is a form of health care that focuses primarily on restoring normal position, motion and function in the body's structures; especially the spine.

  • Cortisol:

    A hormone that is released from the adrenal glands in response to stress that facilitates fat storage and has a catabolic affect on muscle and connective tissue.

  • Coccyx:

    The small bone at the lower tip of the spine. Also called the tailbone, a triangular-shaped bone at the bottom of the lumbar area.

  • Complementary Medicine:

    The use of various non-drug, non-surgical related therapies. Using natural means of treatment.

  • Cranio-Sacral Therapy:

    A manual therapy focusing on manipulation of the bones in the skull and sacrum.

  • CT Scan:

    Using X-ray images with the aid of a computer to generate cross-sectional views of anatomy.

D

  • Decompression:

    The relief of pressure.

  • Disc Annulus:

    The outer lining of a disk (see Annulus Fibrosis).

  • Disc Nucleus:

    The inner core of a disk (see Nucleus Pulposus).

  • Discectomy:

    Surgical removal of part or the entire herniated intervertebral disc.

E

  • Electrical Stimulation:

    A type of physical therapy treatment that utilizes various frequencies and wave forms of electrical current, which have therapeutic effects on the nervous and musculoskeletal systems.

  • Electromyography (EMG):

    Procedure that tests nerves and muscles providing information to help determine if surgery may be required.

  • Endorphins:

    Chemical messengers released by the body during vigorous exercise that stimulate the brain to feel good, happy and relaxed.

  • Extensor Muscles:

    Muscles that cause your joints to straighten, such as the back and gluteus muscles that help keep your back straight.

F

  • Facet Joints:

    The joints above and below each intervertebral disc, allowing the spine to bend. The paired joints located in the posterior portion of the vertebral bodies connecting the spine. These joints are part of the stabilizing mechanism for the spine.

  • Facet Joint Syndrome:

    Pain resulting from degeneration, wear, pressure exerted on and inflammation of the facet joints, which are the joints at the back of each vertebra linking the vertebrae together.

  • Fascia:

    A band of connective tissue separating muscles and organs in the body.

  • Fibromyalgia:

    Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes pain in muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons.

  • Fibrositis:

    Pain arising from damaged tendons or muscles.

  • Foraminal Stenosis:

    Narrowing of a vertebral opening.

  • Flexor Muscles:

    The muscles that cause your joints to bend, such as your biceps muscle on the front of your upper arm or your abdominal muscles.

  • Flexion Distraction:

    This is a form of treatment in which the patient lies on a specialized table that gently stretches the spine. This allows the chiropractor to pinpoint trouble spots while flexing the spinal column. The end result is that the chiropractor can gently move the disc away from an affected nerve, which alleviates inflammation and pain.

  • Foraminal Stenosis:

    Narrowing of a vertebral opening.

G

  • Glycemic Index:

    A measure of a food's ability to raise the body's blood glucose level. Foods that have a low glycemic index do not raise blood glucose levels to nearly the extent of high glycemic index foods.

  • Graston Technique:

    A patented form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that enables clinicians to effectively detect and treat scar tissue and restrictions that affect normal function.

H

  • Herniated Disc:

    A disc that protrudes from its normal position between two vertebrae, due to an injury to the annulus; frequently associated with the nucleus of the disc oozing out of the center of the disk.

  • Hydrotherapy:

    External use of water in the medical treatment of certain diseases.

  • Hypertension:

    A resting blood pressure that is greater than or equal to 140/90 mm Hg. Hypertension is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

  • Hypothalamus:

    A small area of the brain that is a main control center for regulating eating and sleeping behavior in humans. It has binding sites for several hormones including ghrelin and leptin.

I

  • Instrument Adjustment:

    A form of chiropractic adjustment using a spring-loaded device called an Activator.

  • Interferential Current (IFC):

    A form of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy in which high-frequency electrical impulses are introduced deep into the tissues near the center of the pain.

  • Intersegmental Traction:

    It is a way of inducing passive motion into the spine for the purpose of stretching spinal joint, increases mobility.

K

  • Kinesiology:

    The study of muscles and their relation to movement and pain relief.

  • Kyphosis:

    Normal curve of the thoracic spine. Also describes an excess curvature of the thoracic spine called a "dowager's hump." This is a common occurrence in people with osteoporosis.

L

  • Laminectomy:

    A surgical procedure that removes a portion of the plate that serves as the back of the spinal canal. This decompression procedure is performed for treatment of herniated intervertebral discs and spinal stenosis.

  • Lumbalgia:

    A general term meaning low back pain (See Low Back Pain).

  • Lumbar:

    The lower five weight bearing vertebrae that are located between the thoracic vertebrae and the sacrum.

M

  • Manipulation:

    Manual movement of the spinal bones or joints to restore normal function.

  • Massage Therapy:

    A general term to describe various bodywork techniques.

  • MRI:

    Magnetic Resonance Imaging measures the absorption and transmission of high-frequency radio waves to create a computer image of organs and systems.

  • Myofascial Pain:

    Referred pain caused by trigger points, or hard nodules in muscle tissue.

  • Myofascial Release:

    Releasing the fascia (the sheath around a muscle) by gentle movements.

N

  • NCV:

    Nerve conduction velocity is a common measurement made during electromyography testing.

  • Nerve Block:

    Pain relief method in which an anesthetic is injected into a nerve.

  • Nerve Roots:

    Nerve projections from the spinal cord.

  • Neuromuscular:

    Pertaining to nerves and muscles, or to the relationship between them.

  • Neurotransmitter:

    A chemical produced in the brain that sends messages between nerve cells.

  • Nucleus Pulposus:

    Soft center of an intervertebral disc, made up of gel-like substance.

O

  • Osteopathic Medicine:

    Particular attention is paid to muscles, joints, bones, and nerves through defined osteopathic manipulations.

  • Osteoporosis:

    A disease characterized by the loss of bone density, resulting in brittleness; most commonly affecting the spinal vertebrae, wrists and hips.

  • Osteophytes:

    Additional bone material, or overgrowths, that have been attributed to a wide variety of ailments.

  • Overload Principle:

    Strength training term that refers to the phenomenon that muscles only grow in strength if they are pushed to near maximum effort - overloaded.

P

  • Pinched Nerve:

    Material from a bulging or Herniated disk pushes against a nerve in the spinal cord causing severe pain.

  • Piriformis Syndrome:

    A condition caused by the sciatic nerve getting pinched as it exits the spinal column.

  • Plantar Fasciitis:

    Inflammation of the ligament running from the front of the heel bone through the bottom of the foot.

  • Physical Therapy:

    The health profession that treats pain in muscles, nerves, joints, and bones with exercise, electrical stimulation, hydrotherapy, and the use of massage, heat, cold, and electrical devices.

R

  • Reflexology:

    A system of massage used to relieve tension and treat illness, based on the theory that there are reflex points on the feet, hands, and head linked to every part of the body.

  • Ruptured Disk:

    Herniated disk where material from the disk pushes through the outer lining of the disk.

S

  • Sciatic Nerve:

    The nerve that serves the legs and originates from several levels of the lower back.

  • Sciatica:

    An inflammation of the sciatic nerve usually marked by tenderness along the course of the nerve through the buttocks, thigh, and leg.

  • Scoliosis:

    An abnormal curve of the spine.

  • Shiatsu:

    A form of therapy of Japanese origin based on the same principles as acupuncture, in which pressure is applied to certain points on the body using the hands.

  • Slipped Disk:

    Herniated disk where material from the disk pushes through the outer lining of the disk (see Disc Herniation).

  • Spina Bifida:

    A congenital defect of the spine in which the arches of the lower lumbar spine fail to form over the spinal cord, leaving the cord unprotected.

  • Spinal Canal:

    The opening at the center of the spine through which the spinal cord runs.

  • Spinal Fusion:

    A process in which the disc and cartilage is removed from between the vertebrae, and bone grafts (often harvested from the pelvis) are placed between or alongside the vertebrae to join the bones together.

  • Spinal Stenosis:

    A narrowing of the spinal canal that compresses the spinal cord and/or the nerve roots, cutting off their impulses to the muscles of the leg.

  • Spondyloarthopathy:

    A group of disorders that causes inflammatory arthritis of the spine.

  • Spondylitis:

    Inflammation of the spine generally caused by an infection.

  • Spondylolisthesis:

    A spinal abnormality in which there is an anterior displacement of a vertebra on the one below, often resulting in back pain.

  • Starvation metabolism:

    The slowing of the basal energy expenditure caused by chronic underfeeding, leading to a reduction in the rate at which the body burns calories and an increase in the rate at which the body attempts to store fat.

  • Stenosis:

    Narrowing of a portion of the spinal canal, usually because of bony overgrowth (see Spinal Stenosis).

  • Subluxation:

    A misalignment in the bony structures of the spine.

T

  • Tendon:

    White fibrous bands of tissue that attach muscle to bone.

  • Tennis Elbow:

    Also known as lateral epicondylitis, tennis elbow is pain on the lateral, or outside part of the elbow, on or near the bony protrusion. It is usually caused by the overuse of the wrist extensor muscles, which leads to the inflammation of the tendon attachment.

  • Thoracic Spine:

    Twelve vertebrae above the lumbar spine and below the cervical spine.

  • Thyroid Hormone:

    A hormone released by the thyroid gland that stimulates metabolism and helps to regulate a range of biochemical processes in the body.

  • Trigger Point Therapy:

    The application of pressure on tender trigger points in the muscles to relieve pain and tension.

  • Trigger Points:

    A generally small area of a muscle that is tightly knotted and in spasm causing referred pain.

V

  • Vertebrae:

    The 24 cylindrical segments of bone that make up the vertebral column.

  • Vertebral Column:

    The Spine. The flexible structure that forms the "backbone" of the skeleton, arranged a straight line from the base of the skull to the tailbone; also called spine.

  • Vertebral Subluxation Complex:

    Another term for subluxation that is used in the chiropractic profession.

X

  • X-Ray:

    A diagnostic imaging method that exposes photographic films with radiation passed through the body. It is most useful in diagnosing fractures, dislocations, abnormal positioning or other structural problems in bone.

Y

  • Yoga:

    A gentle exercise system consisting of numerous stretching movements that is extremely helpful in healing.