SCIENTIFIC GLOSSARY

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Bone graft taken from someone else is called allograft. Allograft is usually removed from organ donors and placed in bone banks. The bone bank follows procedures intended to sterilize the bone graft and performs tests on the bone for diseases such as hepatitis and AIDS (just like a blood bank). The bone bank then sells the allograft to the hospital that performs your surgery. The cost will show up on your hospital bill. An allograft can come from many types of bones in many different forms, but because it is not taken from the patient, it does not contain any living cells and has fewer chemicals to stimulate growth of new bone. The disadvantage of an allograft is that it does not always heal as well or as quickly as an autograft. However, a bone-growing protein can be added to the site to make up for the lack in the bone graft. The advantage is that the patient does not have to donate the bone graft, so the surgery is shorter, and there may be less postoperative pain. The allograft also carries a risk of transferring infectious diseases, although it is rigidly tested.

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is a type of progressive arthritis that leads to chronic inflammation of the spine and sacroiliac joints. It can also affect other joints and organs in the body, such as the eyes, lungs, kidneys, shoulders, knees, hips, heart, and ankles. However, AS primarily affects the axial skeleton, including the ligaments and joints. This disease causes stiffness, aching, and pain around the spine and pelvis. The disease can eventually lead to a total fusion of the spine. This occurs when the vertebrae (spinal bones) actually grow together fusing the spine due to calcification of the ligaments and discs between each vertebrae. If the vertebrae fuse together, the spine is robbed of mobility, leaving the vertebrae brittle and vulnerable to fractures. You may also see AS referred to as a seronegative spondyloarthropathy.

Each disc has a strong outer ring of fibers called the annulus, and a soft, jelly-like center called the nucleus pulposus. The annulus is the disc’s outer layer and the strongest area of the disc. It also helps keep the disc’s center intact. The annulus is actually a strong ligament that connects each vertebra together.

The outer, fibrous, ring-like portion of an intervertebral disc.

A relatively small incision (around 3-5 inches) is made for a single level fusion surgery. This incision is normally 4 to 5 inches below the belly button and usually is low enough to be covered by the patient’s pants, especially if a lower lumbar disc level (such as L5-S1) is being fused.

A surgical procedure to treat nerve root or spinal cord compression by decompressing the spinal cord and nerve roots of the cervical spine in order to stabilize the corresponding vertebrae.

A surgical procedure that involves approaching the cervical spine through an incision in the front of the neck, removing all or part of a diseased and/or damaged intervertebral disc to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and/or spinal nerves and then inserting graft material and instrumentation to promote fusion, or the creation of a bond, between two adjacent vertebrae.

Forward movement of a vertebral segment.

A type of back surgery used to fuse the disc space of the spine through entering the front of the body through the abdomen.

The disc is accessed from an anterior abdominal incision

A conditon in which ligament at the anterior (front) side of a vertebral body turns to bone

An approach to the dorsal spine by rib resection to explore the spine anteriorly and in some cases to do spinal fusions and decompressions of the spinal cord.

A lining called meninges covers the brain and spinal cord. When the arachnoid layer of the meninges gets inflamed, the condition is called arachnoiditis. This problem can happen after spine trauma, surgery, or infection. The risk of this problem goes up any time an object goes through the meninges. This can include injections, spinal taps, and myelogram tests. There are no good treatments once the arachnoid gets inflamed. Medications and active therapy can help, but they don’t “cure” the problem. Sometimes, people may get extra help by getting into a pain management program. Some people are able to get along okay. Others sometimes end up having more pain and nerve problems as time goes on.

Joint pain.

Pertaining to the atlas and the axis; denoting the joint between the first two cervical vertebrae.

Relating to the atlas and the occipital bone.

First cervical vertebrae, articulating with the occipital bone and rotating around the dens of the axis.

A wasting of the tissues of a body part.

Bone taken from your own body is called autograft.

Non-vascular, not provided with blood vessels.

The vertebral column. The second cervical vertebra, about which the first cervical vertebra rotates, allowing head movement.

The part of a nerve cell that usually sends signals to other nerves or structures.

Non-specific term used to describe pain below the cervical spine

These compounds inhibit breakdown of bone and slow down bone removal. They are also shown to increase bone density and decrease the risk of fractures at both the hip and spine. The bisphosphonate that has been approved by the FDA for preventing and treating osteoporosis in postmenopausal women is alendronate. The strongest side effect of alendronate is gastrointestinal problems. For this reason, it has to be taken on an empty stomach. To minimize side effects, take it with a full glass of water and remain in an upright position for at least one half hour after taking the medication.

The hard tissue that provides structural support to the body. It is primarily composed of hydroxyapatite crystals and collagen. Individual bones may be classed as long, short, or flat.

A basic component of any spinal fusion is the bone graft. Bone grafting is used for many types of orthopedic procedures that require bone to heal. Bone grafting is used in two main ways during orthopedic procedures: 1) to stimulate the bone to heal, and 2) to provide support to the skeleton by filling in gaps between two bones

A bone scan is used to help locate the affected area of the spine. In order to perform a bone scan, a radioactive chemical is injected into the bloodstream. The radioactive chemical attaches itself to areas of bone that are undergoing rapid changes for any reason. Areas of the skeleton that are undergoing rapid changes appear as dark areas on the film. Once the affected area is identified, other tests, such as the MRI scan are done to look more closely at the specific area.

The Boston brace is a plastic body jacket that hugs the body and puts pressure on the ribs and back. The pressure pushes the spine into a straighter position.

Is a loss of sensation and motor function (paralysis and anesthesia) that is caused by the lateral hemisection (cutting) of the spinal cord.

A tissue or organ transplanted from a cadaver (deceased donor).

This is used for women who cannot, or choose not to, take estrogen. For women who are at least five years past menopause, calcitonin can increase spinal bone density and slow bone loss. Calcitonin is a protein, so it cannot be taken orally – otherwise it would digest before it could work. Calcitonin is available as an injection or nasal spray.

Cancer, a malignant growth of epithelial or gland cells.

Large artery on either side of the neck which supplies blood to most of the cerebral hemisphere. Main artery to the head that divides into external and internal carotid arteries.

Space under a ligament in wrist through which the median nerve enters the palm of the hand.

A condition caused by compression of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel, characterized especially by discomfort and disturbances of sensation in the hand.

The hard, thin layer of white glossy tissue that covers the end of bone at a joint. This tissue allows motion to take place with a minimum amount of friction.

Narrowing of any cartilage space; also called disc space narrowing.

A small tube used to inject a dye to see the blood vessels, similar to that used for looking at vessels in the heart.

The bundle of spinal nerve roots arising from the end of the spinal cord and filling the lower part of the spinal canal (from approximately the thoraco-lumbar junction down

Sufficient pressure on the nerves in the low back to produce multiple nerve root irritation and commonly loss of bowel and bladder control.

Is an incomplete injury to the cervical cord resulting in more extensive motor weakness in the upper extremities than the lower extremities.

The body of a vertebra.

Water-like fluid produced in the brain that circulates and protects the brain and spinal cord, known as CSF.

Of or relating to the neck.

Plexus of nerves that supply the neck muscles with branches named by muscles supplied, a portion which is called the ansa cervicalis.

Rib-like structure in the seventh cervical vertebra that may cause nerve root irritation.

Spinal fusion involving the seven cervical segments. This may include the base of the skull, the occiput, and the first thoracic spine.

The cervical spine is made up of the first seven vertebrae in the spine. It starts just below the skull and ends just above the thoracic spine. The cervical spine has a lordotic curve (a backward “C”-shape) – just like the lumbar spine. The cervical spine is much more mobile than both of the other spinal regions – think about all the directions and angles you can turn your neck.

A treatment of an intervertebral disc that consists of an injection of chymopapain, a drug that dissolves part of the disc.

Pain in the coccyx region; coccygodynia, coccyodynia, coccydynia.

Remaining three or four, somewhat fixed, fused segments at the end of the spine (tailbone) that articulate with sacrum above.

Excision of the coccyx (tailbone).

Incision into the coccyx (tailbone).

The small bone at the end of the spinal column in man, formed by the fusion of four rudimentary vertebrae. The three, and sometimes four, segments of bone just below the sacrum; referred to as the tailbone.

A fibrous protein which is a major constituent of connective tissue. Such as skin, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bones.

A squeezing together; the exertion of pressure on a body in such a way as to tend to increase its density; the decrease in a dimension of a body under the action of two external forces directed toward one another in the same straight line.

Mechanical process resulting from a tumor, fracture, or herniated disc; the resulting irritation is called radiculitis if there is actual inflammation around the nerve. Pain from this type of disorder is called radicular pain.

Compressive pain is a result of pressure or irritation on the spinal cord, or nerves that leave the spine. For example, if an intervertebral disc herniates (usually called a ruptured disc) and pushes into the spinal canal, it can cause problems with the nerve. Usually this pressure or irritation causes pain, numbness, and muscle weakness where the nerve travels.

A diagnostic imaging technique in which a computer reads x-rays to create a three-dimensional map of soft tissue or bone.

The CAT scan is a very detailed X-ray, and is very similar to the MRI. During a CAT scan, cross-section X-rays, or X-ray “slices”, are taken of the spine. The CAT scan shows the bones of the spine much better than the MRI; however, the MRI is better than the CAT scan for showing soft tissues. The CAT scan is most useful when your doctor suspects a condition that only affects the bones of the spine. The CAT scan is commonly combined with a myelogram to get a better picture of the spinal nerves. Together, these two tests can help determine if the pressure on the nerve is from spinal stenosis or a herniated disc. The CAT scan is done much like the MRI; you are on a table that slides into the scanner, while you lie very still. The CAT scan lasts about 30 to 60 minutes. If dye is used, you will have restrictions on what you can eat or drink before the test. After pictures have been taken without dye, you will be removed from the scanner and dye will be injected. Then, you will be moved back into the scanner and more pictures will be taken.

A disruption, usually temporary, of neurological function resulting from a blow or violent shaking.

Congenital kyphosis refers to abnormal development of the spine that is inherited. This means a person is born with some sort of defect, such as incomplete formation of the spine, which can lead to a severe abnormal kyphosis. This kyphosis is also the most common non-traumatic, non-infectious cause of paraplegia (paralysis of the lower part of the body).

Scoliosis due to bony abnormalities present at birth involving either failure of formation of a vertebra or separation of adjacent vertebrae.

Normal-statured individuals with congenital variance in vertebral structure leading to a narrow canal.

A bruise; an area in which blood that has leaked out of blood vessels is mixed with brain tissue.

A surgical procedure that is used to relieve pain by cutting the nerves of the spinal cord. Cutting selected nerves disables pain-conducting tracts in the spinal cord, effectively blocking pain sensation as well as temperature perception.

A surgical procedure to remove a vertebral body, usually to decompress the spinal cord. In this surgery, the vertebral bodies and adjacent vertebral discs are removed in order to alleviate the pressure on the spinal cord, which is causing spinal stenosis and cervical myelopathy.

Combining form denoting relation to ribs.

Junction of the rib into cartilage in the anterior chest. NOTE: Most of the ribs have attachments to the cartilage rather than a direct junction with the breast bone.

Juncture of tissue inferior and lateral to the twelfth rib and vertebral body.

Junction of the rib with the thoracic spine.

This approach uses flexible rods and pedicle screws. If there is only one thoracic curve, this method is most often used. It can also be used with lumbar curves in order to restore the lordosis curve. However, because the rods are not rigid, this approach is not appropriate for all cases of scoliosis surgery.

In relation to the spine this procedure is carried out to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots.

A decompression done by removing the lamina and spinous process.

When blood clots form inside the veins of the legs, it is referred to as Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT). This is a common problem following many types of surgical procedures. It is true that these blood clots can also form in certain individuals who have not undergone any recent surgery. These blood clots form in the large veins of the calf and may continue to grow and extend up into the veins of the thigh, and in some cases into the veins of the pelvis.

The lesion results from inter-segmental instability of long duration.

Gradual or rapid deterioration of the chemical composition and physical properties of the disc space.

There are also cases of kyphosis that are caused by degeneration, or wear and tear of the lumbar (lower) spine. Over time, the degenerative process can result in: collapse of the intervertebral disc, changes in the shape of the vertebrae, and weakening of the ligaments that support the spine. This can result in the gradual development of a kyphosis over many years. Once the kyphosis begins to form, it gets worse because the imbalance of the forces continually increase the wear and tear.

Gradual hypertrophy of the vertebral body margin, facet joints, and ligamentum flavum leading to stenosis.

Demineralized Bone Matrix (DBM) is a type of allograft that is developed from cadaver bones in a bone bank. The bone has the calcium removed and can be turned into a putty, sheet, or gel. The material can then be added to a graft site to improve the fusion.

Refers to the distribution of sensory nerves near the skin that are responsible for pain, tingling, and other sensations (or lack of).

A disease where the body does not produce or use insulin correctly (This leads to: hyperglycemia – an increase in blood sugar, increasing susceptibility to infection, and glycosuria – glucose in the urine.).

Damage to the axons of many nerve cells that lie in different parts of the brain.

Double vision, due usually to weakness or paralysis of one or more of the extra-ocular muscles.

The intervertebral disc – cartilaginous cushion found between the vertebrae of the spinal column. It may bulge beyond the vertebral body and compress the nearby nerve root, causing pain. The terms “slipped disc”, “ruptured disc” and “herniated disc” are often used interchangeably even though there are subtle differences.

The loss of the structural and functional integrity of the disc.

Infection in the space normally occupied by an intervertebral disc.

One of the most common surgical procedures for problems in the cervical spine is an anterior cervical discectomy. The term “discectomy” means “remove the disc”. A discectomy relieves the pressure on a nerve root by removing the herniated disc causing the pressure.

Non-bacterial inflammation of an intervertebral disc or disc space.

Discogenic pain is a term back specialists use when referring to pain caused by a damaged intervertebral disc. A degenerating disc may cause pain of the mechanical type. As the disc begins to degenerate, there is some evidence that the disc itself becomes painful. Movements that place stress on the disc can result in back pain that appears to come from the disc. This is similar to any other body part that is injured, such as a broken bone, or even a cut in the skin. When these types of injuries are held still there is no pain. However, if you move a broken bone, or the skin around a cut, it causes pain. Discogenic pain usually causes pain felt in the lower back. It may also feel like the pain is coming from your buttock areas and even down into the upper thighs. The experience of feeling pain in an area away from the real spot causing the pain is common in many areas of the body, not just the spine. Examples include: a person who has gallstones may feel the pain in their shoulder; or a person experiencing a heart attack may feel pain in the left arm. This is referred to as radiation of the pain. It is very common for pain produced by spine problems, such as disc problems, to be felt in different areas of the body, including the back itself.

The graphic record, usually radiographic, of discography.

Radiographic demonstration of intervertebral disc by injection of contrast media into the nucleus.

Displacement of an organ or any part; specifically disturbance or disarrangement of the normal relation of the bones entering the formation of a joint.

The area of white matter in the dorsomedial side of the spinal cord. It is made up of the fasciculus gracilis and fasciculus cuneatus and itself is part of the dorsal funiculus.

A column situated dorsally in each lateral half of the spinal cord which receives the terminals of some afferent fibers from the dorsal roots of the spinal nerves.

A protective membrane called the dura mater covers the spinal cord. The dura mater forms a watertight sack around the spinal cord and the spinal nerves. Inside this sack, the spinal cord is surrounded by spinal fluid.

An excessive accumulation of fluid generally in extra-cellular space.

Excavation of vertebral body for correction of deformity that is combined with spinal fusion.

An electromyogram (EMG) test looks at the function of the nerve roots leaving the spine. It does this by looking at how well the electrical currents in the nerves are being transmitted to the muscles. Pressure on the nerves or damage to the nerves changes the way they transmit electrical current. This shows up in the muscles as they react to the information being sent to them from the brain – by the nerves.

Immediately outside the dura mater. Same as extra-dural.

If other treatments do not relieve your back pain, you may be given an epidural steroid injection (ESI), or a cervical nerve block. An ESI places a small amount of cortisone into the bony spinal canal. Cortisone is a very strong anti-inflammatory medicine that may control the inflammation surrounding the nerves and may ease the pain caused by irritated nerve roots. The ESI is not always successful. This injection is often used when other conservative measures do not work, or in an effort to postpone surgery.

Removal by cutting away material.

The act of bringing the distal portion of a joint in continuity (though only parallel) with the long axis of the proximal portion.

On the outer side of the dura mater.

Displaced material reaches the spinal canal through fibers of the annulus, but remains connected to the central disc material.

Excision of an articular facet of a vertebra.

A flat, plate-like surface that acts as part of a joint; as seen in the vertebrae of the spine and in the subtalar joint of the ankle. Each vertebra has two superior and two inferior facets.

A degenerative disease affecting the facet joint.

The facets are the “bony knobs” that meet between each vertebra to form the facet joints that join your vertebrae together. There are two facet joints between each pair of vertebra, one on each side. They extend and overlap each other to form a joint between the neighboring vertebra facet joints. Without the facet joints, you would not have flexibility in your spine, and you could only move in very straight and stiff motions. The facet joints are what are known as synovial joints. A synovial joint, such as the knee or elbow, is a structure that allows movement between two bones. In a synovial joint, the ends of the bones are covered with a material called articular cartilage. This material is a slick spongy material that allows the bones to glide against one another without much friction. Surrounding the facet joint is a watertight sack made of soft tissue and ligaments. This sack creates what is called the “joint capsule”. The ligaments are soft tissue structures that hold the two sides of the facet joint together. The ligaments around the facet joint combine with the synovium to form the joint capsule that is filled with fluid (synovial fluid). This fluid lubricates the joint to decrease the friction, just like oil lubricates the moving parts of a machine.

Asymmetrical orientation of the facets comparing right to left side.

Failure of a portion or all of two or more adjoining vertebrae to separate into normal units.

Chronic inflammation of a muscle with an overgrowth, or hyperplasia, of the connective tissue.

The replacement of normal tissue with scar tissue.

Is the loss of lumbar lordosis of the spine after one has scoliosis surgery. The normal lumbar curvature becomes flat, or you may even get a reverse curvature (called lumbar kyphosis). The condition is characterized by the inability to stand up straight, and typically patients will have back pain in their upper or lower spine. It can occur in patients of any age, but it is more likely to be found in older adults who have had scoliosis surgery.

The act of flexing or bending; bending of a joint so as to approximate the parts it connects.

The bony hollow archway created by pedicles of adjacent vertebrae, creating a passageway through which all spinal nerve roots run. As a spinal nerve branches from the spinal cord, it exits through this opening and travels to organs, muscles and sensory structures of the body.

A medical operation used to relieve pressure on nerves that are being compressed by the intervertebral foramina, the passages through the bones of the vertebrae of the spine that pass nerve bundles to the body from the spinal cord.

A disruption of the normal continuity of bone.

Fracture of a bone that is also dislocated from its normal position in a joint.

Any scoliosis that is caused by leg length or other functional disorder and not by a primary curvature of the spine.

Union or healing of bone.

For decompression of lumbar spinal stenosis; excision of lamina and portion of facet.

Removal of the posterior spinal arch in spondylolisthesis.

A procedure sometimes combined with posterolateral spinal fusion.

Relating to the glenoid cavity and the humerus.

The major support cells of the brain. These cells are involved in the nutrition and maintenance of the nerve cells.

For scoliosis deformity graft incorporating posterior elements, including facet joints and ribs.

Any free (unattached) tissue or organ for transplantation.

One of the more common problems that can occur after an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion is that the bone graft may move out of position. If it moves too much, it may require a second operation to place a new bone graft in its place.

Clamp across lamina of C1 and C2.

The main purpose of the halo is to immobilize the head and neck. This is the most rigid of the cervical braces. It is only used after complex cervical spine surgery or if there is an unstable cervical fracture. The halo looks a lot like the word sounds. It has a titanium ring (halo) that goes around your head, secured to the skull by four metal pins. The ring then attaches by four bars to a vest that is worn on the chest. The vest offers the weight to hold the ring and neck steadily in place. The Halo is worn 24 hours a day until the spine injury heals.

This type of hardware fixation is rarely used anymore. In the past, the more flexible Harrington rods were very popular, but now materials that are more rigid are used in surgery. Harrington rods have also been associated with an increased risk of developing “flat-back” (loss of curve in the lumbar spine).

Pain in various parts of the head, not confined to the area of distribution of any nerve.

The excision of only one side of the lamina (right or left) relative to other spinous process.

Injury to the disc may occur when neck motion puts too much pressure on the disc. One of the most painful injuries that can occur is a herniated disc. In this injury, the tear in the annulus potion of the intervertebral disc is so bad that part of the nucleus pulposus squeezes out of the center of the disc. The annulus can tear or rupture anywhere around the disc. If it tears on the side next to the spinal canal, when the nucleus pulposus squeezes out, it can press against the spinal nerves. Pressure against the nerve root from a herniated disc can cause pain, numbness, and weakness along the nerve. There is also evidence that the chemicals released from the ruptured disc may irritate the nerve root, leading to some of the symptoms of a herniated disc – especially pain. Herniated discs are more common in early middle-aged adults. This condition may occur when too much force is exerted on an otherwise healthy intervertebral disc. An example would be a car accident where your head hit the windshield. The force on the neck is simply too much for even a healthy disc to absorb and injury is the result. A herniated disc may also occur in a disc that has been weakened by the degenerative process. Once weakened, less force is needed to cause the disc to tear or rupture. However, not everyone with a ruptured disc has degenerative disc disease. Likewise, not everyone with degenerative disc disease will suffer a ruptured disc.

Extrusion of part of the nucleus pulposus material through a defect in the annulus fibrosus. Out pouching of a disc.

Extrusion of the central portion of an intervertebral disc through the outer cartilaginous ring. The material can compress the spinal cord or nerves in or exiting the spinal canal.

Formation of a protrusion.

Bone formation at an abnormal anatomical site, usually in soft tissue.

Replaces the hormones that a woman’s ovaries stop making at the time of menopause, easing symptoms like hot flashes and vaginal dryness.

The bone of the arm, articulating with the scapula above and the radius and ulna below.

Small, vertically oriented bones lateral to trachea, located at the level of C3.

Excessive, above normal.

Extension of a limb or part beyond the normal limit.

Flexion of a limb or part beyond the normal limit.

An excessive inwards curvature of the lumbar (lower) spine, commonly referred to as swayback.

Increased activity of the parathyroid glands.

An excessive secretion of the thyroid glands.

Structural lateral curvature of an unknown cause.

A part of the pelvic bone that is above the hip joint and from is the prominent portion of the pelvic bone at the belt line of the body from which autogenous bone grafts are taken.

Large muscles starting at L1 and becoming wider as it picks up segments from the lower lumbar spine; combines with the iliacus muscle before attaching to the lesser trochanter of the hip.

Describing biological phenomena that are made to occur outside the living body traditionally in a test tube. In vitro is Latin for in glass.

A process in which an individual is given important facts about a medical procedure, treatment, or clinical trial before deciding whether or not to participate. Informed consent includes information about the possible risks, benefits, and limits of the procedure, treatment, or clinical trial, as well as available alternatives.

The use of instruments such as metal screws or braces during a surgical procedure to support bone as it heals.

This is injected directly into the joint to block the pain and reduce inflammation.

Between the bodies of two adjacent vertebrae.

The muscles between the ribs.

The immobilization of bone fragments or joints with implants in order to promote healing or fusion.

Ligament between each of the spinous processes.

Formation of a false joint between two spinous processes.

See Disc (Intervertebral).

Narrowing of the space between any two vertebral bodies.

Situated entirely within or pertaining exclusively to a part.

Of equal dimensions. In physiology, denoting the condition when the ends of a contracting muscle are held fixed so that contraction produces increased tension at a constant overall length.

Relating to isotonicity or isotonia. Having equal tension; denoting solutions possessing the same osmotic pressure; more specifically, limited to situations in which cells can neither swell nor shrink.

The lesion is in the pars interarticularis. Three types occur: lytic, fatigue fracture of the pars interarticularis; elongated but intact pars interarticularis; and acute fracture of the pars interarticularis.

Thick, threaded rods for fixation of various spinal deformities.

Extensive defects of the spine with associated defects in the ribs leading to a small, stiff thorax and pulmonary compromise.

The junction or articulation of two or more bones that permits varying degrees of motion between the bones.

Unique to the cervical spine, these joint-like structures are formed by the apposition of posterolateral portions of adjacent vertebral bodies; forms the anterior portion of the canal where nerves pass through.

Begins between the ages of 3 and 10 years of age.

An anteriorly placed fixation device for spinal deformities.

Relating to motion or movement.

For distraction stabilization of thoracic and lumbar spine.

Anteriorly placed device for spinal deformity correction.

For kyphotic deformity in myelodysplasia; excision of kyphotic portion of lumbar spine combined with spinal fixation.

Lateral curvature of the spine associated with forward inclination of the spine.

The word “kyphosis” describes a type of curve in the spine. A kyphotic curve is normally present in the thoracic spine (the part of the spine in the chest area). A kyphotic curve looks like the letter “C” with the opening of the C pointing towards the front. Though the thoracic spine is supposed to be curved, if the curve in a person’s thoracic spine is more than 40 to 45 degrees, it is considered abnormal – or a spinal deformity. Adult kyphosis can have varying symptoms and degrees of severity, from minor changes in the shape of your back, to severe deformity, nerve problems, and chronic pain. Kyphosis is most common in the thoracic spine, though it can also affect the cervical and lumbar spine.

The flattened or arched part of the vertebral arch, forming the roof of the spinal canal. The posterior part of the spinal ring that covers the spinal cord or nerves.

Excision of one or more lamina of the vertebrae. Removal of the lamina, the bony element covering the posterior portion of the spinal canal.

The lamina are hinged laterally opened like a door, and secured in their new position with suture or bone to enlarge the spinal canal.

An opening made in a lamina. Formation of a hole in the lamina without disrupting the continuity of the entire lamina to approach the intervertebral disc or neural structures.

Situated away from the midline of the body.

A band of flexible, fibrous connective tissue that is attached at the end of a bone near a joint. The main function of a ligament is to attach bones to one another, to provide stability of a joint, and to prevent or limit some joint motion.

Relating to or of the form or structure of a ligament.

A band of yellow elastic tissue that runs between the lamina from the axis to the sacrum; it assists in maintaining or regaining erect position and serves to close in the spaces between the arches.

A benign fatty tumor, usually composed of mature fat cells.

For sacral tumor; a method for partial excision of the sacrum.

Limitation to a definite area. The reference of a sensation to its point of origin.

Long muscle immediately anterior to the cervical spine.

An increased inward curving of the lumbar spine (just above the buttocks).

A non-medical term signifying pain in the lumbar region. Archaic term meaning back pain.

The lower part of the spine between the thoracic region and the sacrum. The lumbar spine consists of five vertebrae. The five moveable spinal segments of the lower back and largest of the spinal segments.

Curve with apex between the first and the fourth lumbar vertebrae.

A device (usually a long, thin, flexible tube) inserted through the skin into the cerebrospinal fluid space of the lower back; provides a method of draining cerebrospinal fluid.

Reverse of the normal curve of the low back.

See Lordosis.

An operation on the lumbar spine performed using a surgical microscope and microsurgical techniques.

The lowest part of the spine is called the lumbar spine. This area has five vertebrae. The lumbar spine’s shape has what is called a lordotic curve. The lordotic shape is like a backward “C”. If you think of the spine as having an “S”-like shape, the lumbar region would be the bottom of the “S”. The vertebrae in the lumbar spine area are the largest of the entire spine, so the lumbar spinal canal is larger than the cervical or thoracic canals.

Partial or complete formation of a free-moving first sacral segment so that it looks like a lumbar vertebra.

A lateral curve with its aspect at or between the fifth lumbar vertebra.

Angle between the inferior surface of the fifth lumbar vertebra and the top of the sacrum.

A posterior method of fixation.

For posterolateral fusion fixation; a pedicle screw and plate device.

For sacral tumor; a method of excision of the sacrum.

Transarticular facet screw fusion for posterior C1 on C2 with the use of bilateral screws directed from inferior posterior lateral mass to anterior superior C1.

Resistant to treatment; occurring in severe form, and frequently fatal; tending to become worse.

Excess bone formation at the margin of the vertebral body; spondylosis.

Inflammation of the spine, occurring as a rheumatoid-type disease in children.

A method of manipulation of the body by rubbing, pinching, kneading, tapping, etc.

Anterior retropharyngeal approach to upper cervical spine; often used for fusion, allowing excision of tumor.

Mechanical pain is often called back strain because is linked with the movement, or “the mechanics” of the spine. This type of pain occurs when injury to the spine’s discs, facet joints, ligaments, or muscles results in inflammation. It is called mechanical pain because it relates to the mechanics of your spine. The more you use the back, the more it hurts. This pain can be caused by many conditions in the spine. These conditions include: fractures of the vertebra, muscle strains in the paraspinal muscles, ligament injures in the spine, and wear and tear of the spine’s joints and discs.

Situated closer to the midline of the body.

The nerve formed from the brachial plexus that supplies muscles in the anterior forearm and thumb, as well as, sensation of the hand. It may be compressed or trapped at the wrist in carpal tunnel syndrome.

When malignant tumor cells spread from one part of the body to another; the disease travels through the blood and settles in the bones.

For C1 to C2 instability, posterior fusion using vertical strut grafts and wires.

The Milwaukee brace can correct any kind of spinal curve. It uses two metal struts/bars that extend from the chin to the torso, corrective pads, and a neck ring. The brace exerts pressure to the spine, pushing it into a straighter position. It is an effective brace, but it has to be worn nearly the entire day, and many adolescents find it very embarrassing to wear.

An operation performed on the upper spine to relieve pressure on one or more nerve roots.

An operation performed on the lower spine to relieve pressure on one or more nerve roots. The term is derived from the words lumbar (low back), and discectomy (remove a portion of the intervertebral disc).

Surgery requiring small incision(s), usually performed with endoscopic visualization.

Scale for spinal cord damage due to any cause.

This radiographic study does not use radiation. By using magnetic and radio waves, the MRI creates computer-generated images. The MRI is able to cut through multiple layers of the spine and show any abnormality of soft tissues, such as nerves and ligaments. With an MRI, the patient lays on a table that slides into a machine with a large, round tunnel. The machine’s scanner then takes many pictures that are watched and monitored by a technician. There are also some new MRI machines called Open MRIs that might be more comfortable for patients who experience claustrophobia. The procedure takes 30-60 minutes. The MRI allows the doctor to look for any left thoracic curves, in order to rule out Arnold-Chiari malformation or Syringomyelia – a disorder of the spinal cord. In addition, abnormalities that are sign’s of a hereditary disorder can be looked for in order to rule out congenital scoliosis.

Multiple tumors within the bone and bone marrow.

Injuries affecting the muscles.

Muscular pain.

Pain in the spinal cord.

Wasting of spinal marrow.

Loss of nerve strength caused by some disorder of the spinal cord.

Loss of nerve strength caused by some disorder of the spinal cord.

Imperfect development of the spinal cord.

Atrophy (wasting away) of spinal cord because of lack of nutrition, causing it to diminish in size.

Abnormal increase in size of spinal cord.

Abnormal alteration of the spinal cord.

The fat-like substance which surrounds the axon of nerve fibers and forms an insulating material.

An x-ray of the spinal canal following injection of a contrast material into the surrounding cerebrospinal fluid spaces.

Myelography is used to evaluate an area of the spine called the subarachnoid space. Myelography is used to find herniated discs, injury to the spinal nerve roots, or tumors. During this test, a special dye, which can be seen on the X-ray, is injected into the spinal sac. Because the dye weighs more than spinal fluid, the movement of the dye can be watched as the table is tilted up and down. By watching the movement of the dye, the doctor can see the outline of the subarahcnoid space. If the shape of the spinal sac looks abnormal, or indented, this may mean there is pressure on the nerves of the spine. A herniated disc may cause this pressure.

Softening of the spinal cord.

A protrusion of the spinal cord and its coverings through a defect in the vertebral column. Herniation of cord and meninges through a defect in the vertebral column.

Inflammation of the spinal cord and peripheral nerves.

Spinal paralysis.

Any functional or pathologic disturbance in the spinal cord.

Wasting of the spinal cord; reduction of cell-forming function of bone marrow.

Spinal paralysis.

Inflammation of spinal cord and nerve roots.

Disease of spinal cord and spinal nerve roots.

Spinal hemorrhage.

Hardening of the spinal cord.

Syphilis of the spinal cord.

A procedure for severing tracts in the spinal cord.

Any disease of muscle.

Inflammation of the muscle.

Any new or abnormal growth, specifically a new growth of tissue in which the growth is uncontrolled.

A whitish cordlike structure composed of one or more bundles of myelinated or unmylelinated fibers, or more often mixtures of both coursing outside of the central nervous system, together with connective tissue within the fascicle and around the neurolemma of individual fibers.

The portion of a spinal nerve in close proximity to its origin from the spinal cord.

A paroxysmal pain extending along the course of one or more nerves.

Excision of part of a nerve.

Inflammation of a nerve; may also be used to denote non-inflammatory nerve lesions of the peripheral nervous system.

Tumor of sympathetic nervous system origin, found mostly in infants and children.

A tumor of the peripheral nerves due to an abnormal collection of fibrous and insulating cells.

A familial condition characterized by developmental changes in the nervous system, muscles and skin, marked by numerous tumors affecting these organ systems.

Pain caused by damage to nerve tissue. It is often felt as a burning or stabbing pain. One example of neuropathic pain is a “pinched nerve.”

Any functional or pathologic disturbance in the peripheral nervous system.

Surgical placement of a medical device under the skin to send mild electrical impulses to the spinal cord. The electrical impulses travel through a lead (a special medical wire) that is also surgically placed. These electrical impulses block the signal of pain from reaching the brain. Peripheral nerve stimulation, a form of neurostimulation, works in a similar way. For this treatment, the lead is placed at the site of the specific nerve that is causing pain rather than near the spinal cord. Because neurostimulation works in the area where pain signals travel (the spinal cord or specific nerve), electrical impulses (which are felt as tingling) can be directed to cover the specific sites where a patient is feeling pain.

A battery powered device designed to deliver electrical stimulation to the brain, central and peripheral nervous system.

The surgical specialty involved in the treatment of disorders of the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves.

C1 to C2 posterior fusion without fixation.

Pain caused by an injury or disease outside the nervous system. It is often an on going dull ache or pressure, rather than the sharper, trauma like pain more characteristic of neuropathic pain. One example of nociceptive pain is arthritis pain.

In spite of a successful operation and good bone graft, a fusion may not occur between the vertebrae. This is termed a non-union. Usually your surgeon will be able to tell if a fusion has occurred by looking at X-rays taken over a three to six month period following the surgery. If a fusion does not occur and you have no pain, a second operation will not be necessary. If you continue to have pain, and a non-union is diagnosed after surgery, your surgeon may suggest a second attempt at fusion. When trying for the second time after a failed fusion, most surgeons will usually include some type of internal fixation, such as a plate and screws.

Large posterior midline ligament in the neck from the base of the skull to the seventh cervical vertebra.

The semi-gelatinous tissue in the center of an intervertebral disc. It is surrounded and contained by the annulus fibrosus which prevents this material from protruding outside the disc space.

Classification scale for spinal cord compression due to spondylosis.

Nutrition affects the body’s health and the way it develops. There could be a link between poor nutrition and skeletal development, leading to scoliosis

Involuntary rapid movement of the eyes in the horizontal, vertical or rotary planes of the eyeball.

Nerve from the back of the neck that supplies motor function and sensation to the forehead; two parts greater and lesser.

The back part of the head. The base of the skull.

The field of medicine concerned with the study and treatment of the musculoskeletal system, particularly the spine, joints and muscles. Orthopedics mainly deals with correction of disorders and deformities related to the musculoskeletal system; hence, orthopedics is central to the treatment of back pain.

A Medical Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine who has completed a five-year residency focused on the surgical treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. An orthopedic surgeon is trained in the diagnosis and treatment of spinal disorders, arthritis, sports injuries, trauma, and fractures.

The process of forming bone in the body.

Arthritis characterized by erosion of articular cartilage, either primary or secondary to trauma or other conditions, which becomes soft, frayed, and thinned with eburnation of subchondral bone and outgrowths of marginal osteophytes.

Inflammation of bone due to infection, which may be localized or generalized.

A bony outgrowth or protuberance.

A skeletal disorder characterized by abnormal bone loss, causing increased susceptibility to fracture. There are two types of osteoporosis: Type I and Type II. Type I leads to an accelerated rate of resorption of bone (bone loses substance) and generally develops in women after menopause due to a decrease in estrogen. Type II involves the thinning of both the inner spongy bone and outer cortical bone causing hip and vertebral body fractures.

An unpleasant sensation associated with actual or potential tissue damage, and mediated by specific nerve fibers to the brain where its conscious appreciation may be modified by various factors.

The posterior continuation of the spinal arch from the pedicle; the superior and inferior facets are connected to each other by the pars interarticulars.

Generalized or localized bone disease is present.

The study of disease states.

The part of each side of the neural arch of a vertebra. It connects the lamina with the vertebral body. The first portion of the posterior spine arising from the vertebral body.

A fibrous membrane that covers the surface of bone except at the end of the bones where it is covered with cartilage as part of a joint. In children, periosteum is involved in forming new bone and molding the configuration of bone; and in the adult, the periosteum forms new bone secondary to injury or infection.

The treatment consisting of exercising specific parts of the body such as the legs, arms, hands or neck, in an effort to strengthen, regain range of motion, relearn movement and/or rehabilitate the musculoskeletal system to improve function.

A condition in which an irritation of the sciatic nerve is caused by compression of the nerve within the buttock by the piriformis muscle. Typically, the symptoms of piriformis syndrome include pain, tingling and numbness in the buttocks and along the path of the sciatic nerve moving down the lower thigh and into the leg.

further back in position; of or nearer the rear or hind end

A small incision is made in the midline of the back of the neck.

The para-spinal muscles are elevated off the spinal level that is to be approached.

is done through the back (posterior) of the neck. The surgery joins two or more neck vertebrae into one solid section of bone.

This approach is through the back. This surgery is similar to the anterior approach involving the use of pedicle screws and spinal fusion. However, it generally takes longer for the fusion to occur and it involves more vertebrae. This approach may, or may not, involve fusion. The posterior approach could include segmental instrumentation, where hardware is used on each individual vertebra in a segment of the curve in order to straighten it.

Involves adding bone graft to an area of the spine to set up a biological response that causes the bone to grow between the two vertebral elements and thereby stop the motion at that segment.

A surgical procedure that joins two or more bones (in this case vertebrae) together into one solid bone.

Muscles that span several spinal segments receive their innervation from dorsal rami of several segmental spinal nerves. Thus, unlike the ventral musculature, the deep back muscles have retained this aspect of their segmental organization.

Behind and to one side, specifically to the outer side.

A fusion of both the lamina and transverse process, using the iliac bone for graft, usually in the lower lumbar and first sacral segments.

Lumbar spine fusion that involves an interbody fusion accomplished through the posterior approach.

The position of the limbs or the carriage of the body as a whole.

Sensation concerning movements of joints and position of the body in space.

Displaced nuclear material causes a discrete bulge in the annulus, but no material escapes through the annular fibers.

Nearest the center of the body.

The term “pseudo” means false and “arthrosis” refers to joint. The term “pseudoarthrosis” then means false joint. A surgeon uses this term to describe either a fractured bone that has not healed or an attempted fusion that has not been successful. A pseudoarthrosis usually means that there is motion between the two bones that should be healed, or fused, together. When the vertebrae involved in a surgical fusion do not heal and fuse together, there is usually continued pain. The pain may actually increase over time. The spinal motion can also stress the metal hardware used to hold the fusion. The screws and rods may break. A pseudoarthrosis may require more surgery to try to get the bones to heal. Your surgeon may add more bone graft, replace the metal hardware, or add an electrical stimulator to try to get the fusion to heal.

A muscle in the lower back. It is irregular and quadrilateral in shape, and broader below than above.

Paralysis of all four limbs.

Pain in the vertebral column.

Curvature of the spine.

Effusion of fluid within the vertebral canal.

Humpbacked curvature of spine; kyphosis.

Inflammation of the spinal cord.

Paralysis of the spinal muscles.

Any disease of the spine.

Spinal paralysis.

Lateral curvature of the spine.

Incision into a vertebral canal for exploration.

Pain or gout in the spine.

Abnormal congenital opening of the vertebral column.

Surgical or anatomic opening of the vertebral canal.

Excision of a rootlet or resection of spinal nerve roots.

Radiculopathy is the medical term used to describe a “pinched nerve” in the spine. A radiculopathy occurs when a nerve is irritated by something that is either rubbing on the nerve or pressing on the nerve. In some cases, such as a herniated (or ruptured) disc, there may also be a chemical reaction irritating the nerve. Chemicals released from the inside of the disc seem to irritate nerve tissue, causing pain and inflammation of the nerve.

A medical doctor who has received specialized training in interpreting x-rays, CTs, MRIs and performing angiography.

The lateral and shorter of the two bones of the forearm.

Felt distant from its origin (e.g., bursitis in the shoulder produces pain in the lateral arm, and sciatic like leg pain can be referred from the lower back area).

An involuntary reaction in response to a stimulus applied to the periphery and transmitted to the nervous centers in the brain or spinal cord.

The surgical removal of part of a structure, such as bone.

The breakdown and assimilation of old bone in the cycle of bone growth. The process of resorption (remodeling) involves the removal of hard bone tissue by osteoclasts followed by the laying down of new bone cells by osteoblasts. Resorption releases calcium and repairs micro-damage to bones from normal wears and tears.

Posterior displacement of the vertebra on the one below.

Means that part or all of the cervical spine develops a kyphotic profile, with the open end of the curve facing anteriorly.

Generalized inflammatory joint disease.

Division of the roots of the spinal nerves.

In spinal applications, a slender, metal implant which is used to immobilize and alien the spine.

Posterior cervical fusion using iliac cortical and cancellous grafts.

A combined anteroposterior device used in correction of spinal deformities.

The primary or beginning point of any part, as of a nerve at its origin from the brainstem or spinal cord.

Scar tissue surrounding a nerve in the spinal canal or neural foramen; epineural fibrosis. If it is within the nerve, it is called intraneural fibrosis.

Five fused segments of the lower spine, below the end of the spinal column, that connect to the pelvis and have four foramina on each side.

Abnormality in the spinal fluid sac in the sacrum.

Pain in the sacrum.

Fusion of L5 to the first segment of the sacrum, so that the sacrum consists of six segments; with this abnormality, it is called BERTOLOTTI syndrome.

One or both of the lumbar spinous transverse processes abnormally joining with the sacrum; sacralization.

Inflammation of the sacroiliac joint. A very painful, often one sided sacral area pain that follows delivery, is not due to sepsis, and will subside gradually and completely; acute postpartum sacroilitis.

The sacrum is actually a group of specialized vertebrae that connects the spine to the pelvis. During development (those nine months before birth), these vertebrae grow together or fuse creating one large “specialized” vertebral bone that forms the base of your spine and center of your pelvis. The nerves that leave the spine in the sacral region control the bowel and bladder functions and give sensation (feeling) to the crotch area.

Longitudinal.

The deep lateral muscles of the anterior neck, including anterior scalene m. (scalenus SCHMORL’S NODES Developmental change resulting in inferior or superior extension of the intervertebral disc into the vertebral bodies.

The term sciatica refers to a certain type of radiculopathy that occurs in the leg. It is called sciatica because it describes the radiculopathy that occurs when one or more of the nerves that make up the large sciatic nerve are irritated or pinched. Therefore, sciatica is not any different than a pinched nerve anywhere else in the spine. It simply has its own name because it is fairly common. It also occurs in the lumbar spine, the most common site of spinal nerve irritation. Sciatica is used to describe the pain that travels from the sciatic nerve in the lumbar region into your buttocks, back of the thighs, and sometimes calf and foot. The pain is typically caused by irritation of the nerve roots that join outside the spine to make up the sciatic nerve. Conditions that can cause sciatica are: herniated discs, bone spurs, cancerous tumors that are growing into the nerves, and fractures that put pressure on the nerves.

All spines have curves, but occasionally the spine twists and develops curves in the wrong direction – sideways. It is natural for the spine to curve forward and backward to a certain degree; this is what gives the spine its “S”-like shape. However, when a person’s spine twists and develops an “S”-shaped side-to-side curve, it is a condition known as scoliosis.

Abnormal response to applied loads characterized by motion in the motor segment beyond normal constraints.

Displaced material escapes as free fragment(s), which may migrate elsewhere.

A tube or device implanted in the body to redivert excess CSF away.

A congenital fissure or opening (cleft) of the spinal column with hernial protrusion of the meninges (membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord, including the arachnoid, dura mater, and pia mater) and sometimes the spinal cord.

The bony channel that is formed by the intravertebral foramen of the vertebrae and in which contains the spinal cord and nerve roots. The space between the vertebral body anteriorly and the lamina and spinal process posteriorly.

See Spine.

The bundle of the spinal nerves enclosed in the spinal canal.

See Disc (Intervertebral).

Operative method of strengthening and limiting motion of the spinal column. Can be performed with a variety of metal instruments and bone grafts, or bone grafts alone.

Spinal stenosis is a term commonly used to describe a narrowing of a portion of the spinal canal. Stenosis can occur in all areas of the spine, but it is most common in the cervical and lumbar spine. There can often be narrowing of most of the lumbar spinal canal and of several segments of the cervical spine. Each behaves somewhat differently.

A spinal tap is done in order to get a sample of the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the spinal cord. The fluid is usually very clear. It contains proteins, sugar, and other substances that can be found in blood. It typically does not contain red blood cells or many white blood cells. A spinal tap checks the pressure and content of the fluid. Signals that there may be problems include: evidence of bleeding, an increase in white blood cells (infection fighting cells, dead cells are “pus”), an increase in protein level, or inflammation. This could mean infection, tumors, or a hemorrhage around the brain or spinal cord. To obtain the fluid sample, a needle will be inserted into the spinal canal in the lumbar region.

The flexible bone column extending from the base of the skull to the tailbone. It is made up of 33 bones, known as 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, spinal column, or backbone.

The portion of the vertebrae that protrudes posteriorly from the spinal column. The spinous processes create the “bumps” felt on the midline of the back. The most posterior extension of the spine arising from the lamina.

Pain in vertebra(e).

Arthritis of the spine.

Tuberculosis of the spine; spondylocace.

Dislocation of a vertebra.

Inflammation of vertebrae, including types such as ankylosing, rheumatoid, traumatic, spondylitis deformans, Kümmell, and Marie Strümpell d.

Depression or downward displacement of a vertebra, with destruction or softening of one below it.

Pain in vertebra(e).

Spondylolisthesis is the term used to describe when one vertebra slips forward on the one below it. This usually occurs because there is a spondylolysis in the vertebra on top. There are two main parts of the spine that keep the vertebrae aligned – the disc and the facet joints. When a spondylolysis occurs, the facet joint can no longer hold the vertebra back. The intervertebral disc may slowly stretch under the increased stress and allow the upper vertebra to slide forward. In the vast majority of cases, the stretching only allows a small amount of forward slip. Furthermore, there is no real danger in an adult that the slipping will continue until the upper vertebra slips off. There is a special type of spondylolisthesis in teenagers where the forward slipping is extremely severe. This can lead to the upper vertebra slipping completely off the lower vertebra.

Spondylolysis refers to a defect in one of the vertebra in the lower back, usually the last vertebra of the lumbar spine. The area of the vertebra called the pedicle is affected. The pedicle is part of the bony ring that protects the spinal nerves, and is the portion that connects the vertebral body to the facet joints. When a spondylolysis is present, the back part of the vertebra and the facet joints simply are not connected to the body – except by soft tissue. It is almost as if the back portion had been broken off and tried to heal – but never did. Actually, there is good evidence to suspect that this is exactly what has occurred. Spondylolysis is not something people are born with, but it appears to first show up sometime in childhood. Interestingly, boys who are football linemen and girls who are gymnasts seem to be affected the most. The current thought is that the spondylolysis is probably a stress fracture that never completely healed.

Softening of vertebrae; Kümmell disease.

Any vertebral disorder.

Infection in vertebra(e).

Congenital fissure (splitting) of vertebral arch.

Ankylosis of the vertebra; often applied nonspecifically to any lesion of the spine of a degenerative nature. Bony replacement of ligaments around the disc spaces of the spine, associated with decreased mobility and eventual fusion; marginal osteophyte.

Surgical immobilization or ankylosis by fusion of the vertebral bodies with a short bone graft in cases of tuberculosis of the spine;

Incision into a vertebra or vertebral column; rachiotomy.

An injury to a ligament when the joint is carried through a range of motion greater than normal, but without dislocation or fracture.

Reduction in the diameter of the spinal canal due to new bone formation which may result in pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots.

Large externally visible muscle of the anterior neck, enabling the head to turn to either side.

The breast bone; further divided into three segments. manubrium: upper portion, proximal end; sternum: main portion; xiphoid: the dagger like tip of the sternum, distal end.

Deviation of eye movement which prevents the two eyes from moving in a parallel fashion.

To injure by overuse or improper use.

A fixed lateral curve of the spinal column.

An incomplete luxation or dislocation; though a relationship is altered, contact between joint surfaces remains.

Further above or out; higher in position.

The branch of medicine concerned with the treatment of disease, injury, and deformity by operation or manipulation. The performance or procedures of an operation.

The aggregate of signs and symptoms associated with any morbid process, and constitution together the picture of the disease.

A synovial joint, such as the knee or elbow, is a structure that allows movement between two bones. In a synovial joint, the ends of the bones are covered with a material called articular cartilage. This material is a slick, spongy material that allows the bones to glide against one another without much friction.

The fibrous band of tissue that connects muscle to bone. It is mainly composed of collagen.

Inflammation of a tendon.

The act of stretching. The condition of being stretched or tense, or a stretching or pulling force.

A hereditary form of anemia.

Refers to the upper- and middle-back. It joins the cervical spine and extends down about five inches past the bottom of the shoulder blades, where it connects with the lumbar spine.

Curves outward.

A tingling sensation in the fingers; caused by compression on a nerve supplying the arm.

The thoracic spine is comprised of twelve vertebral bodies (T1-T12) that make up the mid-region of the spine. This section of the spine has a kyphotic curve (C-shape).

Any curvature that has its apex at the twelfth thoracic or first lumbar vertebra.

Surgery of the chest, usually involving removal of ribs.

The part of the human body between the neck and the diaphragm, partially encased by the ribs and containing the heart and lungs; the chest.

A collection of similar cells and the intercellular substances surrounding them.

Also known as wry neck or loxia, is a symptom defined by an abnormal, asymmetrical head or neck position, which may be due to a variety of causes.

The act of drawing or pulling, as by an elastic or spring force. A pulling or dragging force exerted on a limb in a distal direction.

Bony excrescence appearing on the anterolateral surface of the vertebral body near but not at the body margin that arises as a result of disc degeneration.

Surgical section of a fiber tract of the central nervous system.

The stimulation of a nerve by passing electrical currents through the skin.

A form of spine fusion surgery in which the lumbar disc space is fused from a posterior approach outside of the facet joint. The surgical procedure involves removing a disc from between two vertebrae and fusing the vertebrae together.

Vertebra whose structure features some of the characteristics of the two adjacent vertebra. A common example is the fifth lumbar vertebra that has partial sacral components.

Crosswise; lying across the long axis of the body or of a part.

Bony process arising from midportion of the spinal ring just posterior to the pedicle and pars interarticulars.

The medial and the larger of the two bones of the forearm.

The use of high frequency sound to create images of internal body structures.

The individual bones of the spine are the vertebrae. These are the building blocks of the spinal column. The vertebrae protect and support the spinal cord. They also bear the majority of the weight put upon your spine. The body of each vertebra is the large, round portion of bone. The body of each vertebra is attached to a bony ring. When the vertebrae are stacked one on top of the other, this ring creates a hollow tube where the spinal cord passes through.

From a lateral view, it is the main rectangular portion of the spine; from an overview, oval.

When a bone in the spine collapses, it is called a vertebral compression fracture. These fractures happen most commonly in the thoracic spine (the middle portion of the spine), particularly in the lower vertebra of the thoracic spine.

An abnormal sensation of rotation or movement of one’s self, or the environment.

Deformity of vertebral body, caused by trauma or gradual collapse, resulting in wedge shaped vertebra; can also occur congenitally.

Popular term for hyperextension hyperflexion.

An X-ray is a painless process that uses radioactive materials to take pictures of bone. If your doctor suspects vertebral degeneration, X-rays can be used to verify: a decrease in the height of space between discs, bone spurs, nerve bundle sclerosis (hardening), facet hypertrophy (enlargement), and instability during flexion or extension of limbs. X-rays show bones, but not much soft tissue, so they will definitely be used if fractures, infections, or tumors are suspected. During X-rays, you will be asked to lie very still on a table and hold certain positions while photographs are taken of your spine.