Chiropractic Glossary

Make the most of your appointments by knowing the chiropractic lingo. By familiarizing yourself with basic chiropractic terminology before your appointment you can be sure to understand your prognosis and ask your chiropractor the proper questions after your examination. Keep up with your chiropractor by reviewing the list of terms below:

Acute (traumatic) Injuries
Injuries that occur due to a traumatic and unexpected event such as a fall, a care wreck, or a sports injury. The acute injury pain usually does not last longer than two or three months.

Adjustments
A chiropractic technique involving the application of pressure to specific bones. Adjustments employ a gentle, yet firm thrust which is meant to help relieve pressure from spinal nerves and restore the bone to its natural position.

Arthritis
A gradual breakdown, or deterioration, of the joint spaces in your musculoskeletal system.

Atlas
A large vertebra in the upper cervical spine.

Bulging Disc
A common condition related to the spine, usually the lumbar, which occurs when a disc distends through a crevice in the spine.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
A progressive and sometimes painful joint disorder caused by a compression of the median nerve of your hand. The compression causes swelling, which exerts pressure on the nerves.

Cervical Vertebrae
The seven vertebrae immediately behind the skull, or the neck area of the spine.

Chiropractic
An alternative noninvasive health care practice with the mission to diagnose and treat mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system in order to relieve the obstructed nerves and improve overall health.

Chiropractor
Also known as a doctor of chiropractic (D.C.), diagnoses and treats a broad range of physical conditions in patients with muscular, nervous and skeletal problems.

Chronic Back Pain
Unlike Acute Pain, Chronic Back Pain lasts more than three months.

Coccyx
A triangular shaped bone at the bottom of the spine. Also known as the tailbone.

D.C.
Abbreviation for “doctor of chiropractic.”

Decompression
A form of chiropractic traction using a device that stretches and releases the spine while the patient lies facedown. Decompression is often times used to treat arthritis, herniated and bulging discs while improving circulation.

Degenerative Disc Disease
A condition in which the inner core of the vertebral discs leak proteins that can inflame the nerve roots.

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Exercise Therapy
A form of chiropractic treatment used to help manage pain, rehabilitate damaged soft tissues, such as muscles, ligament, and tendons, and restore normal range of motion.

Heat Therapy
A form of chiropractic and physical therapy often used in patients who have chronic or long-lasting pain.

Herniated Disc
A common disorder in which a disc ruptures and shifts to a position that irritates the spinal nerves. A herniated disc occurs frequently within the lumbar region of the spine.

Ice Therapy (Cryotherapy)
A form of therapy involving the application of ice to treat several types of acute injuries, including those associated with back or neck pain.

Kinesiotaping
Kinesio Taping is a technique based on the body’s own natural healing process. This Kinesio Taping exhibits its efficacy through the activation of neurological and circulatory systems. This method basically stems from the science of Kinesiology. Hence the name “Kinesio” is used. Muscles are not only attributed to the movements of the body but also control the circulation of venous and lymph flows, body temperature, etc. Therefore, the failure of the muscles to function properly induces various kinds of symptoms.

Consequently, so much attention was given to the importance of muscle function that the idea of treating the muscles in order to activate the body’s own healing process came about. Using an elastic tape, it was discovered that muscles and other tissues could be helped by outside assistance. Employment of Kinesio Taping creates a totally new approach to treating nerves, muscles, and organs. The first application of Kinesio Taping was for a patient with articular disorders.

Lumbar Roll
A form of chiropractic adjustment in which the patient lies on his or her side while the chiropractor applies a firm, quick thrust to the misaligned vertebrae.

Lumbar Vertebrae
The lower-back. The five bones in the bottom portion of the spine.

Manipulation
A form of chiropractic treatment, which involves the application of gentle, yet firm, specified pressure to bones. The goal of manipulation is to relieve pressure from the surrounding spinal nerves, eliminate pain and restore normal range of motion.

Maintenance Care
Also known as “preventative maintenance”, maintenance care is a subluxation correction program that involves spinal adjustments and examination in order to maintain spinal alignment.

Migraine
A severe headache that has a tendency to reoccur when blood vessels and the head and neck spasm, restricting the blood flow to the brain.

Sciatica
A condition in which the sciatic nerve, which is several small nerves bundled within the pelvis area, is injured. Sciatica causes numbness, tingling and in the buttocks, legs, feet and toes.

Scoliosis
A medical term that refers to spinal curvatures and a condition that often begins in early childhood.

Slipped Disc
Another name for a ruptured or herniated disc.

Spinal Column
The term for the bones of your back that protect your spinal cord and allows the body to move in several different directions.

Sports Chiropractor
Sports chiropractors are doctors of chiropractic who have specialized interest and post-graduate training in sports injuries and physical fitness. Their involvement helps athletes excel in reaching their goals. They are experts in the examination, diagnosis and treatment of neuromusculoskeletal conditions.

The sports chiropractor’s extensive specialized training affords the athlete the best care, whether on or off the field, utilizing modern methods of health care, without fear of drug reaction, loss of alertness, or athletic disqualification.

Strengthening Exercises
Exercises that focus on strengthening the core muscles that protect your spine. These muscles include the abdominal and back muscles.

Stretching Exercises
Exercises that focus on limbering the soft tissue surrounding your spine and other body extremities.

Subluxations
Another term for the misalignments of the vertebrae. Subluxations can create pressure on the spinal nerves, causing a wide variety of symptoms throughout the body including localized soreness, pain, bodily irregularity and weakness.

Table Adjustments
A method of chiropractic adjustment that involves lying on a special chiropractic table for chiropractic adjustments.

Therapeutic Massage
A form of massage that involves manipulating the soft tissues of the body to prevent and alleviate pain, discomfort, muscle spasm and stress.

Thoracic Vertebrae
The middle twelve segment of the vertebral column, between the cervical vertebrae and the lumbar vertebrae.

Ultrasound
A pain therapy technique using sound waves to heat soft tissues while viewing the condition of joints, nerve roots, tendons muscles and more. The ultrasound sometimes helps chiropractors figure out the best form of treatment.

Vertebral Bodies
The 24 moveable bones that act as a support column to hold up the spine.

Vertebral Discs
Composed of collagen, discs act as “shock absorbers” and are situated between vertebral bodies.

Whiplash
An injury to the neck or cervical spine that occurs when muscles are hyper extended.

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