- C -
Cage Implant This is an implantable device used to stabilize the back by creating a
fusion between adjacent levels of the spine. Some cages are metal (stainless
steel or titanium) and some are made of high tech plastic. Most cages are
designed to be filled with bone graft.
Also known as decompression sickness, this involves the development of small
bubbles in the arteries and veins. It is seen in divers who ascend too rapidly
after a deep or long dive. It was first reported in bridge workers who used
pressurized caissons, or boxes, to build the bridge supports.
Calcium Channel Blocker These are a group of drugs
used to treat blood pressure which also help some kinds of pain.
Thick, hardened areas of the skin,
usually on the foot, caused by friction or pressure. This is also the name of
the thickened areas of bone that form after a fracture.
The spongy soft bone tissue found inside of larger bones. Cancellous bone is
covered by a hard cortical bone shell.
This is a disease caused by abnormal
cells that divide without control. These tumor cells can invade nearby tissues,
spread through the bloodstream, or spread by the lymphatic system to other parts
of the body.
Cantelli Sign (Dolls Eye Sign)
Normally the eyes move with the head. This sign is present when the eyes move
in an opposite direction to the head. In an unconscious patient, turning the
head to the left, for example, will cause the eyes to go to the right.
This the thin layer of cells which
surround an organ.
These are substances that cause cells
to form cancers. Cigarette smoke is one example.
This is the space between the ligaments and bones of the wrist which holds the
median nerve. When the space is too small, the nerve may be pinched and
painful. The pain is often worse at night. It may be helped with splints,
injections or surgery.
The hard, thin layer of glossy, white tissue that covers the ends of bone at a
joint. This tissue permits movement with a minimum amount of friction.
Method developed by Willard Carver, an early Palmer student who formulated his
own theories about subluxations and nerve interference and opened the Carver
Chiropractic college in 1908. Carver developed a technique in which traction and
pressure is applied to the spine just before making a manual thrust, which he
called the "Tracto-Thrust" system.
insurance, also known as major medical insurance, is a type of health
insurance. It usually has a high deductible. It is for severe problems that
are very expensive but does not cover routine care such as doctors visits.
Disease) This is a psychological syndrome causing loss of volitional
A flexible tube used to drain fluid
from or inject fluid into the body. The most common catheter is the Foley
catheter, used to drain urine from the bladder.
Latin for horses tails, this is the
name of the lowest nerve roots in the spine. These roots look somewhat like the
tail of a horse.
Cauda Equina Syndrome Damage to the lowest nerves
in the spinal cord that causes weakness in both of the feet, incontinence of
urine and incontinence of stool. This is most often caused by a large disc
herniation and is a surgical emergency.
This means to move away from the head or toward the area of the tail bone. It
is the opposite of cranial.
- the legal determination that employment resulted in (or "caused") an illness
Pop that occurs in a spinal joint when vertebral surfaces (facets) are
separated to create a vacuum that pulls in nitrogen gas.
An outpatient surgical procedure used to
trim a herniated disc in the neck. It is a controversial type of surgery and may
be more risky than conventional cervical disc surgery.
A spinal injury often caused a mild fall in a patient with a pre-existing spinal
stenosis. This injury causes weakness and numbness in the arms and may spare
at night usually due do a neurologic problem rather than a nasal disorder.
Latin for center, it means the middle of a bone such as a spinal vertebra.
A large structure consisting of two halves (hemispheres) located in the lower
part of the brain, this is responsible for coordination, movement and
A blood clot from one part of the body is carried by the bloodstream to the
brain where it blocks an artery and causes a stroke.
Bleeding within the brain.
This refers to the formation of a blood clot in an artery that supplies blood
to the brain.
A word indicating the blood
vessels in the brain.
A birth defect with an abnormal face, brain dysfunction and damage to the
kidneys and liver.
Cerebrovascular Accident This is also called a stroke
and is usually caused by a loss of blood flow to the brain.
This involves an obstruction in one of the blood vessels in the brain and
usually causes a stroke.
Cerebellopontine Angle Syndrome
Damage to the seventh and eight cranial nerves at the angle between the
cerebellum and the pons causes this named syndrome.
The posterior portion of the brain which controls coordination.
This part of the brain consists of
two parts (lobes), left and right, which form the largest and most developed
part of the brain. It causes the initiation and coordination of all voluntary
movement take place within the cerebrum. The basal ganglia are located
immediately below the cerebrum.
Discectomy, Anterior (ACD)
An operation for patients with
nerves in the neck. It is performed under general anesthesia and sometimes
includes a fusion. The disc is trimmed or removed so that the nerve is no
Cervical Endoscopic Discectomy
An outpatient surgical procedure used to trim a
herniated disc in the neck. It
is a controversial type of surgery and may be more risky than conventional
cervical disc surgery.
Cervical Fusion Syndrome (Klippel-Feil Syndrome)
A birth defect where two of the vertebral bones in the neck are joined together,
this is associated with a higher than average incidence of disc disease.
Cervical Rib Syndrome
This syndrome is caused by extra rib in the neck. Normally ribs occur only in
the thorax. The extra rib can pinch some of the nerves going to the arm and
cause a thoracic outlet syndrome.
This is the upper part of the spine and includes the seven vertebral bones of
Each of the seven bones neck area of the spine.
The combination of neck and arm pain carries this name. It is most often caused
by a pinched nerve in the neck but may result from muscle tension.
Disease, Charcot Joint Disease
This damage to a joint is an accelerated form of arthritis due to damaged
nerves. Nervous input is required to protect our joints. When the nerves to a
joint are disconnected, the body does not protect the joint normally and it
wears out prematurely.
A progressive disorder of joints due to lack of innervation. The joints become
arthritic and dysfunctional very quickly if the nerves are interrupted.
A congenital form of muscle and nerve damage which causes weakness, particularly
in the legs.
A treatment of for intervertebral disc disease where chymopapain, a drug that
dissolves disc, is injected into the center of the disc.
The use of drugs or chemicals to treat a disease. This is a generic term that
refers to any drug but doctors most commonly use it to discuss cancer therapy.
Cherubism (Jones Syndrome)
This is the combination of several birth defects including craniosynostosis and
These very abnormal breathing patterns are often followed quickly by death.
Chiasmal Syndrome, Chiasmatic
Syndrome A partial
blindness due to damage of the optic chiasm, the portion of the optic nerves
that connect just above the pituitary gland.
Chiropractic Biophysics (CBP)
Method of chiropractic analysis and treatment in which spinal corrections are
based on theoretical calculations related to posture and spinal curvature.
A rapid, jerky, dance-like movement of the body.
This refers to any condition or problem that lasts a long time. It is the
opposite of acute or short term.
Chronic Brain Syndrome (Organic
This is a dysfunction of the brain due to trauma, chemical imbalance, stroke or
some other physical or physiologic problem.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
This is a poorly understood syndrome where there is ongoing tiredness, weakness,
pain and generally poor health. It may be similar to fibromyalgia. There is
not clear reason why this develops and there is not good treatment besides
psychological supportive care and antidepressants. Surgery is never indicated.
Blocks are never indicated.
Chronic pain A
pain episode that lasts more than three months. This is the opposite of acute
Chvostek Sign (Chvostek-Weiss Sign)
Gently tapping a nerve will produce a severe muscle spasm if this is present.
It is often first noted in the face and is frequently due to abnormalities of
calcium in the blood.
Circle of Willis
This group of blood vessels at the base of the brain (around the pituitary)
forms a circle. Blood from the two carotid arteries and the two vertebral
arteries mix together and is then redistributed to all areas of the brain. This
overlapping of supply makes stroke less likely.
Examiner - an insurance
company employee who oversees insurance benefits; an adjustor.
-- Pain and rapid fatigue in arms and legs due to a poor supply of oxygen to the
muscles or due to a pinching of the nerve roots in the low back.
is a deformity present from birth where the back part of the brain is displaced
downward into the spine and where there is usually also hydrocephalus (water on
Research studies, involving patients, aimed at finding better ways to prevent,
detect, diagnose, or treat disease.
Closed Head Syndrome
An entire complex of symptoms and dysfunctions, this is caused by a head
injury. They can include memory loss, poor cognition (thinking) and
Cobb Angle Measurement
This is a measurement of a curve of the spine.
The region of the spine which is below the sacrum. It is also known as the
This is a visual abnormality caused with attempts to look upward. The patients
two eyes move in opposite directions.
A rigidity of joint motion, where
the moves in a jerky fashion, this is usually due to a tremor such as that which
is present in Parkinsons patients.
insurance policies require policyholders to pay a portion of medical costs. The
extra money paid by the patient is called the coinsurance. It is also called a
Syndrome Headaches are known by this name when they occur during sexual
intercourse. They frequently occur in those who also have migraines.
A fibrous protein that is a major part of connective tissue, skin, tendons,
ligaments, cartilage, and bones.
A fracture where a bone is broken into more than two pieces.
This curve is part of a scoliosis. It is a reverse curve above or below the
worst curvature and compensates in part or makes up for a severe twist in the
Refers to any form of non-traditional therapy, or alternative medicine, when
it is used in combination with conventional medical care. Examples include
chiropractic care used with standard medications, or acupuncture used as an
adjunct to pain medications.
Total, involving 100% of something, as in complete loss of strength in the
Complete Cord Syndrome
Damage to the entire of the spinal cord causing total loss of function below the
level of the damage or injury.
A pressing together or crushing, as in the loss of vertebral body height from
Damage to an extremity due to pressure as might result from being trapped under
a fallen building. Typically this results in numbness, weakness, muscle and
Method of using a positive state of mind to help "innate intelligence" heal
the body, thus making any chiropractic technique more effective. Its founder
taught that once you know the "great secret" taught in Concept Therapy, you can
make any technique work.
Present at the time of birth.
- under California law describes the frequency of a pain as occurring from 95%
to 100% of the time; of "occasional," "intermittent," "frequent," and
Contact Reflex Analysis (CRA)
A testing procedure in which diagnoses are made by testing muscle strength
while placing manual pressure on "reflex points." The results are then used to
prescribe vitamin supplements and/or homeopathic products.
procedure in which an angled light is passed through a grid to the surface of
the patient's body to produce a pattern of shadows that is viewed on a screen
and/or photographed. The resultant picture resembles a topographic map. This is
also called a moire contour graphic analysis.
Most health insurance policies require
policyholders to a part of the cost of each visit to the doctor. Co-payments are
usually $10 to $40 per visit.
Any length of tube or rope is called a cord. In the body this term usually
means the spinal cord, although there are other rare uses of the word in
relation to body parts.
A line within a vein, usually seen on a
CT scan, indicates the presence of a clot. This usually applies the superior
sagittal sinus, a large vein in the brain.
Damage to the a portion of the spinal cord as the result of a disease or
injury. Examples include complete cord syndrome, anterior cord syndrome,
posterior cord syndrome and others.
Refers to an imaginary plane through the body which divides it into anterior
and posterior portions.
The outer layer of the cerebrum, a
part of the brain which is densely packed with nerve cells.
Cortical Bone This is the hard crusty surface of bones which
surrounds the marrow.
This is a group of potent
anti-inflammatory hormones. Some are naturally in the body and others are
synthetically made for use as drugs. The most commonly prescribed drug of this
type is called prednisone.
Method of applying manually controlled distraction or stretching to specific
spinal segments with the assistance of a movable table. Not a manipulation
This term has two meanings. It refers to the
skull bone or cranium. It also means
to move closer to the head. It is the opposite of caudal.
A surgical operation which includes the
excision of a part of the skull.
The surgical opening of the skull to
gain access to the brain and the other structures within the skull.
A technique where one presses over the lower abdomen to expel urine from the
bladder. This is usually done by patients with spinal cord injuries and loss of
A grinding noise or sensation within a
Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease This is a rare
disease of the brain which causes dementia (slow thought) and eventual death.
It is similar to mad-cow disease.
Crossed Sciatic Sign (Fajersztajn
Sign) A sign of
sciatic nerve injury or a ruptured
lumbar disc, the hip can be flexed when the
knee is bent but not when the knee is straight. This is positive when the
straight leg test is positive.
Damage to an extremity due to pressure as might result from being trapped under
a fallen building. Typically this results in numbness, weakness, muscle and
This is the space between the ligaments and bones of the elbow which holds the
ulnar nerve. When the space is too small, the nerve may be pinched and
painful. It may be helped with splints, injections or surgery.
the use of warmed glass jars to create suction on certain points of the body.
It is often done by acupuncturists.
This is a rare medical problem caused by an excess of steroids secondary to a
pituitary tumor. Similar to Cushing syndrome where there is not tumor.
Dr. Cushing was the first and most famous of the neurosurgeons. He is generally
regarded as the father of the specialty. He lived from 1869 to 1939, worked at
Johns Hopkins and during his life was as famous as any modern rock star.
This is a brain surgery done using a particular subtemporal (in front of the
ear) approach to the fifth nerve for facial pain.
increased pressure in the head, from a tumor or injury, the blood pressure goes
up and the pulse goes down. This is an ominous sign.
An excessive quantity of steroids, often associated with facial changes, excess
hair, osteoporosis and other problems, this problem may be due to any of a
number of causes related to the adrenal gland or pituitary.
The three components of this triad are increased pressure in the head (from
tumor or trauma), increased blood pressure, and a decreased pulse. This is an
A bluish color
in the skin which is due to insufficient oxygen levels in the blood.
study of individual cells.
If you are aware of any useful spine and neuromusculoskeletal terms which are
not included in this list, or if you have suggestions for better definitions, your help would be
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