Medical/Neurosurgical Glossary
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G H I J K L M
N O P Q R S T
U V W X Y Z  

Objectives - physical examination abnormalities found by the doctor, one component of the disability rating.

Occasional - under California law describes the frequency of a pain as occurring 25% of the time; of "occasional," "intermittent," "frequent," and "constant."

Occult – A disease or collection of symptoms that are not readily detectable by physical examination or laboratory tests.

Objective straight chiropractors -- Chiropractors whose sole objective is to "correct vertebral subluxations -- not because they cause disease or are associated with any medical condition, but simply because the body works better without them "

Occult bleeding -- Blood in stool that is not visible to the naked eye.

Odontoid –This is a part of the second cervical vertebral bone (C2) in the upper cervical spine.  It is also called the dens.

Oncogenes – Genes that promote cell division.  Some of these genes can cause cancer if they malfunction.

Oncologist – A physician who specializes in the treatment of cancer.

Open Surgery – An operation which involves cutting the skin and tissues during the surgery to expose a full view of the structures and organs involved in the procedure.

Orbicularis Sign – The inability to close just one eye in a person with a hemiparesis.

Organic – This word has several meanings.  To the lay person (non-physician) it means produced without chemicals.  It usually means from the ground, as in farming.  To the doctor it means any problem with a clear pathologic basis, that is a trauma, injury, or chemical problem.

Organic Anxiety Syndrome – A chemical malfunction of the brain which produces anxiety, as opposed to anxiety related to situations or stress.

Organic Mental Syndrome (Chronic Brain Syndrome) – This is a dysfunction of the brain due to trauma, chemical imbalance, stroke or some other physical or physiologic problem.

Organic Mood Syndrome – This is a mood disturbance caused by chemical imbalances in the brain rather than stress or bad situations.

Organic Personality Syndrome – A change in personality related to chemical or physical changes in the brain, rather than one due to stress, etc.

Oriental Massage Therapy – This is an oriental-based system of finger pressure massage, such as acupressure and shiatsu, which treat points along the acupressure meridians, aiming to release discomfort and rebalance energy.

Orthogonal methods – Upper cervical measurements and chiropractic techniques that often require use of instruments and machines to correct what are claimed to be minute but all-important subluxations of the atlas.

Orthopaedics (also Orthopedics) – The medical specialty involved in the preservation and restoration of function of the musculoskeletal system and includes treatment of broken bones, sprains, strains, ligament injuries, and tendon injuries.

Orthotics – These include any appliance needed by a patient because of any disability, weakness or loss of function.  Another name for them is "durable medical equipment."

Ossification – The process of forming bone in your body.

Osteogenesis Imperfecta Syndrome – This is an inherited disease resulting in imperfect and easily broken bone.  People with this problem may have hundreds of broken bones in their life.

Osteoporosis – A disorder or disease in which bone is abnormally brittle and less dense.  It results from the loss of calcium.  It may be due to age or result of a number of other diseases.  Older women are most at risk.

Osteotomy – A surgery to cut or break a bone.

Ostrum-Furst Syndrome – A congenital fusion (like Klippel-Feil syndrome) involving the uppermost vertebral bone in the neck and a flattening of the base of the skull.

Outlet Syndrome – The same as thoracic outlet syndrome, this involve damage to the nerves in the arm from damage where they exit the chest.

Out-of-Pocket Maximum – Some health insurance policies limit the costs an individual or family must pay each year for medical care.  For example, a policy might have a $1,000 yearly limit.  After spending this amount, the insurance coverage takes care of all medical treatment.  This is also called a “stop-loss” amount.


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 greatly appreciated.  Please send me any upgrades and I will update the web site appropriately.  Click here to send a comment.






The information in this site briefly describes issues related to medical treatments, and has been licensed by from Northern California Neurosurgery Medical Group, Inc., who is solely responsible for said content.  This web site is not a substitute for good medical care or for a consultation with a spine specialist. It should not be used to plan your treatment. The well considered advice of a specialist who has personally examined you is always superior to even the best internet pages.


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Last modified: 07/27/08