A synovial joint formed between the medial surface of the ilium and the
lateral aspect of the upper sacral vertebrae; a fibrous joint, comprising and
surrounded by very strong ligamentous structures; major function is to transmit
body weight, but also has some movement.
Chiropractic diagnostic and treatment method said to involve analysis and
correction of sacral and cranial distortions to improve circulation of
cerebrospinal fluid. The degree of alleged correction obtained is monitored by
checking leg length.
The lower portion of the spine which is below the low back and above the tail
bone or the coccyx. The sacrum attaches to the pelvis. It contains some of the
lowest spinal nerves. It is one of the bones most frequently fused by spinal
Refers to an imaginary plane that makes a lengthwise cut and divides the body
into right and left portions.
Saint Anthonys Fire
A painful strep infection of the skin which can occur anywhere but is most
common in the face.
-- This solution contains sodium chloride which mimics the plasma of the blood.
- monetary fines imposed when a party violates the law; applies only to the
California state system.
Scalenus Anticus Syndrome
Pain over the shoulder from compression of the nerves under this muscle.
Commonly known as the shoulder blade.
An old word which means leg pain from a
pinched nerve. This is usually
distinguished from lumbago, another old word which refers to back pain.
A curvature of the spine which may be congenital (a birth defect) or acquired
(degenerative, arthritic, or traumatic).
there are several types of second opinions. An employee may ask for a second
opinion if he or she has questions regarding care. A doctor may ask for a
second opinion. The insurance company can ask for second opinions at any time.
For spine problems a special second opinion system has been set up. A state
assigned doctor may be required to authorize certain spine operations before
they can be scheduled.
Selective Block, Selective Nerve Block
This refers to an injection into the neck or back, like an
epidural block, where
the medication is delivered very precisely or selectively to just one or several
damaged nerve roots. X-ray machines are used to see the nerve roots.
widespread infection of multiple parts of the body. This usually begins in one
place and spreads. It is particularly common in very young people, very old
people, people with AIDS, people with diabetes, or those on cancer chemotherapy
Willful - applies to an
injury caused by an employers failure to follow the law; applies only to the
California state system.
A method of chiropractic manipulation in which contact is made on a vertebral
process to move a single vertebra.
Similar to some aspects of Parkinsons disease this involves poor control of
The rigid framework of bones that gives form to the body. It protects and
supports the soft organs and tissues. It provides attachments for muscles.
- under California law describes the severity of a pain as causing some
hindrance in performing an activity; of "minimal," "slight," "moderate," and
This is the same as a disc herniation or rupture. It is a common term. The
disc usually does not actually slip, however. Instead a portion of the disc
breaks off or bulges into the spinal canal. The broken disc may cause pain by
pinching a nerve root.
Security - a Federal
safety-net system which provides disability payments in addition to retirement
A condition in which a muscle or group of muscles
involuntarily contract or tighten up.
- a report submitted to the insurance company by the doctor when requested by
the insurance company or required by law; describes the current complaints,
examination findings, treatment advice, etc., or answers specific questions;
applies only to the California state system.
This is a chiropractic term that is used to describe method(s) to correct
spinal problems, whether by hand or with an instrument. Some equate the terms
"adjustment" and "manipulation."
The healthy, normal spine has a number of gentle curves which are normal.
When the shape of the spine is not normal, it is said to be out of alignment.
This is a numbing medicine or an anesthetic which is
injected into the spinal canal fluid for surgery in the lower abdomen, pelvis,
rectum, or other lower extremities.
The canal is bony channel formed by the vertebrae bones. The spinal cord and
nerve roots lie within the canal and are protected by the bones. The spinal
canal is not the same as the spine. The word spine describes only the
bones and ligaments.
This is the flexible column of bones extending from the base of the skull to
the tailbone. It is made up of 33 vertebrae. The first 24 vertebrae are
separated by discs, known as intervertebral discs, and bound together by
ligaments and muscles. Five vertebrae are fused together to form the sacrum and
4 vertebrae are fused together to form the coccyx. The spine is also referred to
as the vertebral column, the backbone, or simply the spine.
This is the main bundle of nerves that travels from the brain to the rest of
the body. It lies within the bony spinal canal.
Spinal Cord Monitoring Used during
surgery, this is a test to check the function of the spinal cord and make sure
that there is no damage.
Intervertebral discs are soft tissue structures that are between the
vertebral bones of the spine. They act as cushions but are easily damaged.
Spinal Fusion A surgical procedure to permanently join
vertebral bones, this is a major operation. The surgeon permanently connects
two or more bones to preventing movement. This is the same as an arthrodesis.
The metal hardware used to secure the vertebral bones during a fusion
operation is called instrumentation.
A chiropractic and osteopathic technique. This involves a forceful,
high-velocity thrust that stretches a joint beyond its maximum range of movement
in order to increase its mobility. Manipulation is usually accompanied by an
audible pop or click. Because of the speed involved, the patient does not have
control and the potential for injury is greater than exists with mobilization.
This is a reduction in the diameter of the spinal canal. It may be congenital
(a birth defect), the result of trauma or caused by arthritis. It may result in
pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots.
flexible column of bones extending from the base of the skull to the tailbone.
It is made up of 33 vertebrae. The first 24 vertebrae are separated by discs,
known as intervertebral discs, and bound together by ligaments and muscles. Five
vertebrae are fused together to form the sacrum and 4 vertebrae are fused
together to form the coccyx. The spine is also referred to as the vertebral
column, the spinal column, or the backbone.
This is the posterior bony strut that protrudes from the lamina of each
vertebral bone. It provides an attachment for the muscles.
Inflammation of vertebral bones. Sometimes caused by infection and sometimes
caused by medical diseases including certain types of arthritis.
A slippage of one vertebra over another. This is a malalignment of the
vertebral bones. It is usually due to a break in the posterior portion of one
of the vertebra. It may be slight or severe. It is generally graded from Grade
1 (the best) to Grade 5 (the worst).
Spondylolysis A defect or crack in the posterior portion of one of the vertebral
bones. The broken part is called the pars interarticularis and is
between the superior and inferior facet joints of the lamina. It is usually due
to a developmental defect but may be the result of a trauma. It may cause
instability or a slippage (a spondylolisthesis).
Arthritis of the spine. This may be due to degenerative disease or wear and
tear of the vertebral bones.
The measurement of the extent of a cancer or other disease. This is one way to
measure severity or spread.
An ironbased metal containing chromium, that is highly resistant to stain,
rust, and corrosion. Stainless steel is commonly used to make surgical implants
Insurance Fund (SCIF) - a California state program which provides coverage
for individuals disabled from work due to problems other than work injuries.
Latin for a narrowing. A narrowing of the spine would be called a spinal
Free from living organisms. Something which is sterile contains no living
bacteria, virus or fungus.
Sterilization The method used to render a material free from living organisms. Usual
methods include steam under pressure, poisonous gas, and ionizing radiation.
Stevens-Johnson syndrome (Johnson-Stevens
Syndrome) An allergic loss of much of the
skin. Often this is fatal if not treated early.
Straight Back Syndrome
A loss of the normal lumbar lordosis due to a poorly executed fusion, this
results in difficulty walking.
This term is commonly used by athletes and trainers to describe pain
experienced with vigorous sports activity. A stinger describes a burning and
sudden pain, most commonly in the low back, groin or neck area, it is often
related to a muscle strain or an injured nerve root.
Chiropractors who believe the most traditional chiropractic's doctrines that
most health problems are caused by misaligned spinal bones ("vertebral
subluxations") and are correctable by manual manipulation of the spine.
Straight Leg Raise (SLR)
A technique for measuring sciatic nerve mobility
and/or hamstring length.
A fracture caused by a non-traumatic, cumulative overload on a bone. Many
small insults or a number other factors, including overtraining, incorrect
biomechanics, fatigue, hormonal imbalance, poor nutrition, and osteoporosis, can
cause stress fractures.
intricate mathematical analysis used by some chiropractors and other alternative
care providers to locate stress points in the spinal analysis.
The loss of neurologic function due to brain damage from a loss of the blood
flow to an area of the brain.
-- A joint made up by the humoris, the acromion process of the clavicle, and the
coracoid process of the scapula. It is joined by the coracoacromial ligament
and lined by the synovium of the subacromial bursa. It is part of the shoulder
The region of the shoulder that is bordered by the subacromial joint.
-- The smooth tissue at the ends of bones, which is covered with another type of
tissue (called cartilage).
- complaints or problems reported by the patient, one component of the
disability rating; applies only to the California state system.
A small area of the brain containing a cluster of
black-pigmented nerve cells that produce dopamine which is then transmitted to
Special metal wires that are used to attach hardware to the spinal lamina, and
which go underneath and around the lamina, are called sublaminar wires.
medical definition is an incomplete or partial dislocation or a condition,
visible on x-ray films, in which the bony surfaces of a joint no longer face
each other exactly but remain partially aligned. Chiropractors use the term many
ways but in general
"vertebral subluxations" mean treatable malpositioning of the spine bones.
A structure that is above another, or further from the center of the body, is
said to be more superficial. This is the opposite of deep.
Situated above or directed upward toward the head of an individual.
turn the palms up or the feet outward. This is the opposite of pronate.
A that measures skin temperature and skin electrical activity. Some
chiropractors who use it claim that it provides evidence of nerve dysfunction
associated with vertebral subluxations.
A method of diagnosing problems by testing the muscle strength of a person who
is touching the patient. This is very controversial. The doctor does not
examine the patient. Some chiropractors use this method to diagnose allergies,
deficiencies, and other alleged problems in infants and small children.
The tiny gap (or space) which forms the connection between the end of one nerve
fibers and the beginning of another. It is the areas across which nerve
impulses pass travel one neuron to another. At the synapse, an impulse causes
the release of a neurotransmitter, which moves across the gap and triggers an
electrical impulse in the next neuron.
Light-headedness, or fainting, caused by insufficient blood supply to the brain.
The inflammation of the synovial membrane, the tissue that lines and protects
The fibrous envelope that is inside most joints is like the oil filled spaces in
a car motor. It is composed of smooth, polished surfaces and it is filled with
a lubricating fluid (synovial fluid) that acts like oil to help to reduce the
friction and wear in a joint.
Sweat method An
atlas orthogonal technique used by chiropractors in which the atlas is adjusted
using a special table and a solenoid stylus placed against the side of the neck
just behind and below the ear.
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
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