Chiropractic Glossary

Make the most of your appointments by knowing some of the chiropractic lingo.

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

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.

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

Chiropractic
A non-invasive health care practice with the mission to detect and correct subluxations (the road blocks to health and well-being) in order to improve overall health, performance and vitality.

Chiropractor
Also known as a doctor of chiropractic (D.C.), the only healthcare practicioner trained in the detection and correction of vertebral subluxations.

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."

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

Dis-ease
When a body functions at less than 100%.  When you are dis-eased you are fertile ground for disease.  Subluxations cause dis-ease, that's why it is important to get them corrected.

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.

Health
When your energy is is flowing without interference and all your parts are in the right places working as they should.

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

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.

Retracing
Part of the healing process; old symptoms sometimes come to the surface in order for you to completely heal.  You may temporarily experience old pains or old memories.

Sciatica
A condition in which the sciatic nerve, which is several small nerves bundled within the pelvic area, is symptomatic. Sciatica can cause numbness, tingling or burning 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.

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.
 
Structural 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.

Subluxations
Another term for spinal distortions caused by one, or a combination, of the 3 stresses (physical, chemical, emotional). Subluxations create an imbalance in the over all function of the body potentially leading to many poor health conditions.

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.

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.