Glossary of Chiropractic Terms
Acute: Of short duration and relatively severe.
Adjustment: Moving a joint beyond its passive range of motion limit by means of a sudden thrust or impulse, usually accompanied by an audible "popping" sound. Otherwise known as spinal manipulation.
Atlas: Uppermost and most freely movable bone in the spinal column.
Chiropractic: Study of the relationship between the structure and function of the nervous system.
Cervical: The vertebrae of the neck, generally composed of 7 bones.
Chronic: Symptoms persisting for a long period of time.
Cryotherapy: The application of ice, cold towels, compresses, and ice massage to reduce the temperature of the tissues on or below the surface
of the skin.
Diathermy: Shortwave electro-magnetic energy used to raise the temperature of soft tissues beneath the skin.
Disc: The cartilage that separates the spinal vertebrae and acts as a cushion to absorb shocks to the spine.
Electro-Muscle Stimulation: Small amounts of electrical current administered at the site of a soft tissue injury to block pain.
Facet: The joint surface of a spinal bone, facing adjacent bone above or below.
Fixation: Being held in a fixed position. Area of the spine or a joint with limited movement.
Health: State of optimal physical, mental and social well-being.
Histopathology: Abnormal soft tissue (tendons, ligaments, inter-vertebral discs) function.
Interveterbrael Foramina: The lateral opening through which spinal nerve roots exit the spinal column.
Lumbar: The vertebrae of the lower back, usually 5 bones.
Massage: The assessment and treatment of the soft tissues and joints of the body by hands-on manipulation.
Myopathology: Abnormal muscle function.
Neuropathophysiology: Abnormal nervous system function.
Palpation: The act of examining the spine with your fingers.
Pathophysiology: The abnormal function of the spine and body.
Radicular Pain: Pain radiating into the lower or upper extremities. This pain is often deep and steady. It is reproducible with activities such as sitting or walking. Radicular pain may be accompanied by muscle weakness, numbness and tingling and loss of specific reflexes.
Range of Motion: The range, measured in degrees through which a joint can be moved.
Sacrum: The triangular bone at the base of the spine, composed of fused vertebrae.
Spinal Kinesiopathology: Abnormal motion or position of spinal bones.
Spinal Manipulation: Moving a joint beyond its passive range of motion limit by means of a sudden thrust or impulse, usually accompanied by an audible "popping" sound.
Spinous Process: The posterior protruding part of the vertebrae that can be seen or felt when examining the spine.
Superficial Heat: Using hot pack, warm moist towels and heating pads to raise the temperature of soft tissues just below the surface of the skin.
Thoracic: The part of the spinal column from the base of the neck to about six inches above the wast. Contains 12 vertebrae.
Transverse Process: The lateral protrusions of bone from the vertebrae which serves as an attachment for powerful muscles and ligaments.
Ultrasound: Therapeutic treatment using high-frequency sound waves administered in region of soft tissue injuries.
Vertebra: Any of the individual bones of the spinal column.
Vertebral Subluxation Complex: Condition in which the vertebrae lose their normal position and motion due to diverse causes such as trauma, stress or chemical imbalance.