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Glossary

Activator Adjusting Instrument – A handheld instrument used by chiropractors for low force, conservative adjusting procedures and treatment. It delivers a precise, quick adjustment to the joint and is done in place of using the doctor’s hands. A wonderful tool for adjusting children, the elderly, extremities and people who benefit from extra gentle techniques.

Acupressure – A “non needle” technique that uses pressure or instruments to administer treatment according to acupuncture principles.

Acupuncture – A philosophy of healing that includes stimulating specific anatomical points to help balance the body’s energy, reduce pain and promote healing.

Acute Pain – Pain that lasts a short time, usually a few days or weeks. If pain lasts longer than three months it is not considered acute.

Adjustment – A specific treatment designed to restore optimal joint, muscle and neurological function. There are over 60 separate adjusting techniques in the chiropractic profession.

Arthritis – An inflammatory condition of the joints that may or may not be disabling. It can result in pain, stiffness, reduced joint mobility and joint disfigurement. There are over 12 types of arthritis, but the most common by far is osteoarthritis (also known as degenerative arthritis).

Backache – Back pain is one of the most common ailments treated by Doctors of Chiropractic. Over 80% of the population will experience back pain in their lifetime. Symptoms include pain, stiffness, numbness, burning sensations and more. Your Doctor of Chiropractic will evaluate your condition by thorough examination to make sure conservative treatment is warranted. A Doctor of Chiropractic should treat most back pain.

Bells Palsy
– An affliction of the nerves of the face that can cause severe, sharp pain along with muscle spasms and weakness.

Bone Spur – The medical term is osteophyte which is an enlargement of the normal bony structure. A bony outgrowth. A calcium deposition which can be part of the body's response to abnormal motion or position of bones in the spine or elsewhere. Associated with degenerative arthritis.

Cavitation - Pop that occurs in a spinal joint when vertebral surfaces (facets) are separated to create a vacuum that pulls in nitrogen gas.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - A condition characterized by pain, weakness, numbness or tingling sensations in the hand and caused by compression of a nerve in the carpal tunnel at the wrist.

Carpal Tunnel-Like Symptoms - Compression of a nerve in the neck, shoulder or elbow that results in pain, weakness, numbness or tingling in the hand. Often characterized by bilateral hand involvement as well as entire hand involvment, instead of the classic three fingers as with true carpal tunnel syndrome.

Cervical Spine - Commonly known as the neck. There are seven vertebrae in the cervical spine.

Chiropractic and Chiropractic Physician -A primary health care profession in which professional responsibility and authority are focused on the anatomy, physiology and pathology of the spine, extremities and surrounding nerves, muscles and other tissues.

Chronic Pain - Pain episode that lasts more than three months.

Consultation - a specific time set aside between the physician and either the patient and/or family member or interested person for the purpose of discussing the history of the complaint, the complaint and/or proposed treatment recommendations.

Cox Flexion-Distraction Technique - Method of applying manually controlled distraction or stretching to specific spinal segments with the assistance of a movable table.

Cranial Nerves - 12 pairs of specialized nerves that have their origins within the cranium or brain cavity.

CT - Computerized Tomography, a special radiological procedure to more clearly identify possible pathologies/abnormalities within the human body.

D.C. - Abbreviation for "Doctor of Chiropractic."

Diagnosis - The use of scientific and skillful methods to establish the cause and nature of a person's illness.

Disc - A cartilage (cushion/pad) that separates spinal vertebrae, absorbs shock to the spine, and adds motion to the spine.

Disc Degeneration (Degenerative Arthritis) - Drying, thinning of the disc as a result of abnormal wear and tear, lack of adequate inactivity and aging.

Diversified – An adjusting technique that is taught at most major chiropractic colleges. It is primarily the use of the practitioner's hands to make the spinal/joint correction. Sometimes, an audible click or pop will be heard as the correction is made.

Doctor - Comes from Latin, "docere" meaning "to teach," defined as one who is skilled or specializing in the healing arts, especially a physician, surgeon, chiropractor, dentist or veterinarian who is licensed to practice.

Edema - A condition in which fluid fills a damaged joint area causing swelling; similar to the swelling of a sprained ankle or black eye.

Electrotherapy – A treatment that pertains to the use of electrical stimulation of the body. It may be used to control pain, increase blood and lymphatic circulation, reduce muscle spasm, relax or stimulate the nervous system, or aid in the healing process.

Electrical Muscle Stimulation – A therapeutic introduction of electrical stimulation at a predetermined frequency, intensity and rate for the purpose of achieving a physiological response to promote healing.

End Plate - the cartilage between the bone of the vertebrae and the disc, to serve as attachment point for the fibers of the disc.

Exacerbation - An increase in the severity of a condition(s) or the patient's symptoms. Often a result of physical, chemical or emotional stress.

Examination - the act or process of inspecting or testing for evidence of disease or abnormality.

Extremity - Lower and upper limbs, such as a leg or arm. F Facets - A part of the posterior joints of the vertebrae.

Fixated Joint - A joint with restricted motion/movement.

Geriatrics – Geriatrics focuses on health promotion and the prevention and treatment of disease and disability in later life. Most doctors of chiropractic treat geriatric patients within their practices. Doctors of chiropractic are licensed and extensively trained to diagnose and treat people of all ages. Seniors may be treated with a light, medium or firm adjustment depending on their age, degree of degeneration etc.

Health - The state of optimal physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity.

Herniated Disc - A disc is composed to two parts: an outer rim of fibrous (tough) tissue surrounding an inner loose material. When there is a break in the outer rim, the inner material can leak out of the disc space and enter the spinal canal where the disc material can compress nerve roots or the spinal cord. The majority of herniated discs can be managed quite well conservatively with chiropractic care preventing the need for drugs or surgery.

Ilium - One of the two large bones that form the pelvis with the sacrum.

Inflammation - A reaction of soft tissue that may include malfunction, discomfort, rise in temperature, swelling and increased blood supply.

Intervertebral Disc - The tough cartilage that serves as a cushion between two vertebrae. Each disk has a gelatinous-like center (nucleus pulposus) that may protrude to form a disk herniation.

Joint Fixation – Abnormally reduced movement within a joint space.

Ligament - A band of fibrous tissue that connects bone or cartilage a to provide joint strength and stability.

Lower Back Pain - It will affect most people at some stage in their life and accounts for more sick leave taken than any other single condition. It is said eight out of ten of us suffer from some kind of lower back pain. Research shows that the majority of such pain is caused by a mechanical misalignment in one or more segments of the lower or lumbar spine. This condition can be treated by a Doctor of Chiropractic through spinal adjustments and physical therapy/ rehab, which can correct the misalignment in the low back region.

Lumbar Vertebrae - The five bones in the lower-back portion of the spine. The five lumbar vertebrae are: L1, L2, L3, L4, and L5.

Lumbar Spine - The lower-back portion of the spine. The upper end connects to the thoracic spine, while the lower end connects to the sacrum.

Manipulation - Passive therapeutic techniques used to stretch restricted joints or reposition a subluxation. The techniques are sometimes applied with rapid thrust movements.

Massage - Massage is used to increase circulation of blood and lymphatic fluids and assist with pain reduction and muscle spasms.

Mechanoreceptor - a specialized nerve ending that has been found to influence the neurological response of the brain, spinal cord and spinal nerves. Mechanical pressures or distortions, as those responding to sound, touch, and muscular contractions, excite a mechanoreceptor.

Migraine – A moderate to severe headache that may be associated by dizziness, nausea, vomiting or sensitivity to light and sound. Migraines are more common in women and result from vasodilatation of the arteries and veins in the head. Migraines can be caused by can by nerves, hormones, glands, diet or stress.

Mobilization - Method of movement or stretching to increase range of motion in muscles and joints.

Musculoskeletal - Referring to structures involving tendons, muscles, ligaments and joints.

MRI - magnetic resonance imaging, a diagnostic tool that subjects the patient's body to large doses of magnetism to induce an energy reading that the MRI computer interprets as images based upon water content and the hydrogen ion. MRIs are non-invasive and do not require radiation.

Nerves - Long fibers or bundles of fibers that transmit messages between the brain and the rest of the body.

Nerve Root - One of the two nerve bundles emerging from the spinal cord that join to form a segmental spinal nerve.

Nerve Root Entrapment - Compression of spinal nerves at the intervertebral foramina, the natural openings between vertebrae through which the nerves run, that may result in weakness, pain, and numbness on the affected area.

Nervous System - The system that includes the brain, cranial nerves, spinal cord, spinal nerves, and peripheral nerves. It regulates and controls all the body’s activities.

N.S.A.I.D.S - a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (as ibuprofen).

Orthopedics - A branch of medicine concerned with the correction or prevention of skeletal deformities.

Osteoarthritis - A form of arthritis involving the deterioration of the cartilage that cushions the ends of bones within joints. Aging, injury, poor posture and excess weight can cause joints to wear down and become stiff and painful.

Osteoporosis - A decrease in bone mineral density and increased porous condition of bones with bones becoming weaker.

Pain - Pain is both a sensory and emotional experience, generally associated with tissue damage, or inflammation. However pain the perception of pain can be present without identifiable tissue damage.

Palpation - Examining the body with your fingers, the art of feeling with the hand.

Pediatric - Pertaining to the care and medical/chiropractic treatment of children.

Paresthesia - is a sensation of tingling, pricking, “pins and needles” or numbness of the skin with no apparent physical cause. Transient paresthesia is usually caused by inadvertent pressure on a superficial nerve, and disappears gradually as the pressure is relieved.

Physical Therapy - Treatment of a body region using heat/cold treatments, water, traction, hydrotherapy, electrical stimulation, massage, therapeutic exercise, neuromuscular reeducation, etc. Physical therapy is adjunctive to the chiropractic adjustment, which helps to facilitate quicker and more complete correction. Most chiropractors have taken, in addition to their course of chiropractic studies, at least 2 years of physical therapy education and training as well as receiving board certification in physical therapy.

Pinched Nerve - laymen's term for pain perceived to be coming from the back or spine. Because of the way your spine is designed, abnormal spinal function caused from physical trauma, emotional tensions, or chemical toxins can affect the delicate tissues of the spinal cord and nerve roots. A pinched nerve (compressed lesion) is actually rare. Research suggests that only 10-15% of spine related problems are caused by direct pressure of bone on nerve tissue. More common the nerves are stretched, twisted, or irritated by spinal structures. This is caused when nerve tissue is rubbed, scraped, stretched by a loss of spinal curve, or irritated by malfunctioning spinal joints.

Preventative Care - care rendered to a patient that is designed to prevent a condition from worsening and/or returning; necessary care usually due to a persistent weakness or permanent impairment.

Primary Contact Health Care Provider
- Any health care provider capable of providing first level contact and intake into the health delivery system, (b) any health care provider licensed to receive patient contact in the absence of physician referral.

Proprioceptors - sensory nerve terminals which give information concerning movement and position of the body; they are located primarily in the muscles, tendons, joints and inner ear.

Radiograph - Proper term for an x-ray film after it has been exposed to radiation (x-ray).

Range of Motion - The natural distance and direction of movement of a joint. Limited range of motion is a term indicating that a specific joint or body part cannot move through its normal and full range of motion.

Sacroiliac - The two joints where the pelvis connects to the sacrum. Known as the "S-I" joint.

Sacrum - Curved triangular bone at the base of the spine, consisting of five fused vertebrae known as sacral vertebrae. The sacrum articulates with the last lumbar vertebra and laterally with the pelvic (Iliac) bones.

Sciatica - An inflammation/irritation of the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in your body. It runs from your lower spine, through your buttocks, then into your leg and foot. There are actually two (2) sciatic nerves, one in each leg. When the sciatic nerve is inflamed, it can cause numbness, tingling, pain or weakness in your lower back and leg.

Scoliosis - Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine. The exact cause for scoliosis is not always known. One reason for scoliosis is abnormal development of the vertebra in the spine. The most common form of scoliosis is an abnormal pattern of muscle and ligament growth as a teenager grows in height.

Scope of Practice - The legal definition of the activities that a profession can or cannot do.

Spasm - Involuntary contraction of a muscle or group of muscles, interfering with usual function of that particular muscle group. A constant contraction or tightening of a muscle.

Spinal Nerves - 24 pairs of nerves exiting from the spinal cord at segmental levels of the spinal column.

Spinous Process - A posterior protruding part of the spinal vertebrae that can be seen or felt when examining the spine.

Sports Injury - Some sports injuries are due to improper stretching while others are accidental injuries during the activity. In either case it is important to diagnose and treat such injuries quickly to prevent further aggravation or damage to the specific area. Doctors of Chiropractic have extensive training in the area of sports medicine and can diagnose and effectively treat sports related injuries. Spinal adjustments and physical therapy/ rehab have proven to be very successful in correcting the injury and getting you back to normal activity faster.

Spurs - A projecting body, relating to a bone spur, associated with degenerative arthritis.

Subluxation - When a vertebra of the spine looses its proper position and becomes misaligned with the vertebrae above and below it, thus is compromising the nerves, which results in interference of nerve transmissions from the brain to tissues, organs, and muscles.

Technique – There are various techniques used in chiropractic. Typically doctors of chiropractic used multiple techniques to assure the best treatment for an individual patient.

Tendon - A fibrous cord by which a muscle is attached to bone.

Therapy - The use of modalities, or machines, to augment the adjustment. May include ultrasound, electrical muscle stimulation, traction, massage, heat/cold and others.

Thoracic Vertebrae - There are twelve vertebrae in the thoracic or upper-back portion of the spine. The upper portion connects to the cervical spine, while the lower portion connects to the lumbar spine.

TMJ Syndrome - a group of symptoms that may include pain in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), headache, earache, neck, back, or shoulder pain, limited jaw movement, or a clicking or popping sound in the jaw and that are caused either by dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint or another problem, such as spasm of the masticator (chewing) muscles affecting the region of the temporomandibular joint.

Torticollis - Involuntary spasms of the musculature of the spine in the neck, usually resulting in pain and limited mobility.

Traction - Either intersegmental or elongation, used to reduce swelling, ease spasms, or assist in the realignment of vertebral segments.

Trigger Point - A focal spot of tenderness within a muscle that may cause local or referred pain. An involuntary tight band or muscle that is painful when pressed and can refer pain to other parts of the body.

Ultrasound - High frequency sound waves, sometimes accompanied with a form of electrical muscle stimulation, administered to areas of pain, spasm or inflammation. V

Vertebra - Bony segment of the spine that encircles and helps protect the spinal cord and nerves. The plural of vertebra is vertebrae.

Vertebrae – The twenty-four moveable segments of the human spinal column. Two vertebrae adjacent to one another form a motor unit. Vertigo - Sensation of dizziness and the feeling that oneself or one's surroundings are whirling about.

Whiplash - (a.k.a. Hyperflexion/Hyperextension Injury or Acceleration/Deceleration Injury) Whiplash of the neck is caused by any sudden involuntary forced movement of the head in any direction, and the resultant rebound of the head or neck in the opposite direction. Consequently there are injuries to the surrounding and supporting tissues of the neck and head. Whiplash may occur without you being aware of it. Because of the degrees in which it occurs, symptoms may not always appear immediately. During the accident ligaments are stretched beyond their limit for which they were intended. This will result in muscle spasms, alteration of the normal curve of the neck and spine and the resultant limitation of movement. Associated symptoms include: headaches, dizziness, nausea, shoulder/arm pain, tingling or numbness and many more. An experienced Doctor of Chiropractic can diagnose and correct these problems with spinal adjustments and physical therapy/ rehabilitation. If you were involved in an accident or suffer from trauma to the neck, back, head or extremities consult a Doctor of Chiropractic for evaluation as soon as possible.
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