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Glossary of Terms

Adjustments: A form of chiropractic practice involving the application of gentle, yet firm, pressure to a bone. Adjustments employ a high velocity, low amplitude thrust. The goal of any adjustment is to restore the bone to its natural, or original, position.


Adrenal glands: Small glands located on the kidneys that produce the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol.


Adrenaline: A hormone that stimulates metabolism, increases alertness and increases blood pressure.


Aerobic Exercises: These kinds of exercises generally involve large muscle groups and foster a strong and healthy heart and lung function.


Amino acid: The basic unit from which proteins are made. There are two classes of amino acids: essential and non-essential. Essential amino acids are those that cannot be manufactured by the body and must be attained from the diet. Non-essential amino acids are those that the body can synthesize from other amino acids.


Anabolism: The metabolic process of building new tissue. Typically used in relation to building muscle, ligaments and tendons.


Analgesics: Medicines that are used to relieve pain - aspirin is an example.


Anesthesiologist: A physician who specializes in giving drugs or other agents that block, prevent, or relieve pain.


Ankylosing Spondylitis: A chronic, progressive, rheumatic disease of the spine that causes calcification of the spinal ligaments, resulting in a loss of movement.


Annulus fibrosis: The tough outer layer of the intervertebral disc. Cartilage-like material formed in a series of rings surrounding the nucleus pulposus (soft center) of a disc.


Arthritis: Inflammation of a joint; most arthritis is caused by degenerative changes related to aging. Arthritis affects not only joints but also connective tissue throughout the body can be involved, as well.


Autonomic nervous system: The part of the nervous system that is responsible for controlling the involuntary functions in the body, such as digestion, metabolism, blood pressure, etc.


Biomechanics: Is the study of the structure and function of biological systems such as humans, animals, plants, organs, and cells by means of the methods of mechanics.


Body mass index (BMI): is defined as the individual's body mass divided by the square of his or her height. BMI can be used to determine if people are at a healthy weight, overweight, or obese. A body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 up to 25 refers to a healthy weight, a BMI of 25 up to 30 refers to overweight and a BMI of 30 or higher refers to obese.


Bodywork: Any therapeutic or healing technique that involves touching, energy medicine, or physical manipulation.


Bulging Disc: The annulus portion of the lumbar disc weakens causing the nucleus to press against it resulting in the annulus pressing against a nerve causing pain.


Bursitis: A condition in which the bursa, or fluid filled sacks that cushion joints, become swollen.


Carbohydrate: A major source of energy in the diet. There are two kinds of carbohydrates: simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are sugars, while complex carbohydrates include both starches and fiber. Foods high in carbohydrate include fruits, sweets, soft drinks, breads, pastas, beans, potatoes, bran, rice, and cereals.


Catabolism: The metabolic process of breaking down tissues. Typically refers to the breakdown of muscle, bone, ligaments and tendons.


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A wrist pain caused by a compression of the median nerve of your hand. The compression causes swelling, which exerts pressure on the nerves.


Cartilage: A connective tissue that lines the ends of bones and most joints. It lines the facet joints of the spine.


Capitation: A set dollar limit that a patient or employer pays to a health maintenance organization (HMO), regardless of how much of the service is used or not used.


Cervical Spine: The upper portion of your spine; also called the neck.


Chiropractic: Comes from the Greek words, "chiro," meaning hand, and "practic," meaning practice, or treatment. Chiropractic is a form of health care that focuses primarily on restoring normal position, motion and function in the body's structures; especially the spine.


Chronic Pain: Pain that has lasted for more than three months generally having significant psychological and emotional affects and limiting a person's ability to fully function.


Cholesterol: is required to build and maintain membranes; it modulates membrane fluidity over the range of physiological temperatures. A fat-like substance that is made by the body and is found naturally in animal foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. Foods high in cholesterol include liver and organ meats, egg yolks, and dairy fats. Cholesterol is carried in the blood. When cholesterol levels are too high, some of the cholesterol is deposited on the walls of inflamed blood vessels. Over time, the deposits can build up causing the blood vessels to narrow and blood flow to decrease. The cholesterol in food, like saturated fat, tends to raise blood cholesterol, which increases the risk for heart disease. Total blood cholesterol levels above 200 mg/dl are considered high. Levels under 200 mg/dl are considered desirable.


Cortisol: A hormone that is released from the adrenal glands in response to stress that facilitates fat storage and has a catabolic effect on muscle and connective tissue.


Coccyx: The small bone at the lower end of the spine. Also called the tailbone, a triangular-shaped bone at the bottom of the lumbar area.


Compressed Nerve: Material from a bulging or Herniated disk pushes against a nerve in the spinal cord causing severe pain.


Computed Tomography (CT) scan: A sophisticated x-ray using a computer to produce a detailed cross-sectional three-dimensional picture of the bone and discs.


Central Nerve System: The brain and spinal cord.


Chronic: An extensive period of time.


Congenital: A disease or abnormality existing since birth.


Co-pay: An amount paid by patient.


Customary fee: A way of defining the typical doctor’s fee based on a geographical area.


Deductible: An out-of-pocket expense that a patient pays before insurance pays any of the costs.


Degenerative Disc Disease: A general term applied to degeneration of the lumbar spinal discs which serve as cushions

between the spinal vertebrae, resulting in a narrowing of the disc space.


Deposition: A statement made under oath for obtaining evidence in a legal matter.


Diagnosis: The act of distinguishing one health problem from another.


Disability: The partial or total loss of mental or physical abilities caused by an injury or disease that prevents a person from engaging in some or all of the duties of his or her usual occupation.


Disc: A cartilaginous joint to allow slight movement of the vertebrae, and acts as a ligament to hold the vertebrae together.


Disc Herniation: A tear in the outer, fibrous ring of an intervertebral disc


Discectomy: Surgical removal of part or the entire herniated intervertebral disc.


Disease: Refers to any condition that impairs normal function, and is therefore associated with dysfunction of normal homeostasis.


Edema: Refers to swelling


Electromyography (EMG): Procedure that tests nerves and muscles providing information to help determine if surgery may be required.


Fascia: A band of connective tissue separating muscles and organs in the body.


Fibrositis: Pain arising from damaged tendons or muscles.


Fixation: Restricted movement.


Glucagon: A hormone released from the pancreas that elevates blood sugar by stimulating the release of glucose stores in the liver and muscle.


Glucose: A building block for most carbohydrates. Digestion causes carbohydrates to break down into glucose. After digestion, glucose is carried in the blood and goes to body cells where it is used for energy or stored.


Glycemic index: A measure of a food's ability to raise the body's blood glucose level. Foods that have a low glycemic index do not raise blood glucose levels to nearly the extent of high glycemic index foods.


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


HMO: Health Maintenance Organization. A prepaid plan (not insurance) that offers a variety of health care services for a fixed monthly fee.


Hypothalamus: is a small portion of the brain that contains a number of small nuclei with a variety of functions. One of the most important functions of the hypothalamus is to link the nervous system to the endocrine system by the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus controls body temperature, hunger, thirst, fatigue, sleep, and circadian cycles.


IME: Independent Medical Examination.  An examination arranged by an insurance which is theoretically designed to impartially evaluate a patient’s disability or another doctor’s diagnosis or treatment plan.


Impairment: A damage, alteration or abnormality of psychological, physiological or anatomical structure or function.


Inflammation: A pathologic process associated with redness, heat, swelling, pain, and loss of function. This process destroys tissues but is also associated with the repair and healing of body structures


Insulin: A hormone produced by beta cells of the pancreas, and is central to regulating carbohydrate and fat metabolism in the body. Insulin causes cells in the liver, skeletal muscles, and fat tissue to take up glucose from the blood. In the liver and skeletal muscles, glucose is stored as glycogen, and in adipocytes it is stored as triglycerides.


Irritable bowel syndrome: is characterized by a combination of abdominal pain and altered bowel function


Lien: A creditor’s claim against assets to secure a debt.


Ligament: Strong, dense bands made of connective tissue that stabilize a joint, connecting bone to bone across the joint.


Lipping: Bony outgrowth.


Low-density lipoprotein (LDL): A form of cholesterol that circulates in the blood. Commonly called "bad" cholesterol. High LDL increases the risk of heart disease. An LDL less than 100 mg/dl is considered optimal,100-129 mg/dl is considered near or above optimal, 130-159 mg/dl is considered borderline high, 160-189 mg/dl is considered high, and 190 mg/dl or greater is considered very high.


Maintenance Care: A wellness type of chiropractic care designed to maintain a patients improved health and spinal function.


Managed care: An agency that imposes controls on the utilization of health care services or the providers who offer such care.


Maximum medical improvement: A point in the patients care in which they have reached their pre-incident or accident condition, usually ending the insurance company’s obligations.


Medicare: A federal health insurance program that covers individuals 65 and older, the disabled


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): Magnetic device used to see internal structures of the body, including bone, discs, and nerves without the use of x-rays. Overall, the most useful technique in the investigation of spinal abnormalities.


Narcotic: Pain relieving drug related in action and structure to the opiates. A powerful pain-relieving drug associated with potential to cause significant alteration of mood and dependence following repeated administration.


Nerve Block: Pain relief method in which an anesthetic is injected into a nerve.


Narrative: A written report by the doctor that describes a patients health history, a description of the patients complaint(s), examination findings, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis.


Neurotransmitter: A chemical that transmit signals from a neuron to a target cell across a synapse


No fault: A form of insurance in which a person’s losses from an automobile accident are paid by his or her own insurer regardless of who was at fault.


Nucleus pulposus: The gelatinous mass in the center of the intervertebral disc.


Out-of-network:  A provision for reimbursement of services by a provider who is not a member of the patient's HMO.


Osteoporosis: A disease characterized by the loss of bone mass, resulting in brittleness; most commonly affecting the spinal vertebrae, wrists and hips.


Pancreas: A glandular organ that makes digestive enzymes that help the body break down and use nutrients in food. It also produces the hormones insulin and glucagon, releasing these into the bloodstream to help the body control blood sugar levels.


Personal Injury Protection (PIP): A type of coverage in an auto policy that pays for medical costs in case of an accident.


Personal injury: An injury sustained from an automobile or slip and fall accident.


Physical Therapy: The health profession that treats pain in muscles, nerves, joints, and bones with exercise, electrical stimulation, hydrotherapy, and the use of massage, heat, cold, and electrical devices.


Physiotherapy: Treatment with physical and mechanical means, such as traction, laser, massage, electricity, etc.


PPO: (Preferred Provider Organization) A network of doctors and hospitals that contract with an insurance company or employer to provide employees with services at competitive rates.


Preventive care: Health care that focuses on early detection and treatment in an attempt to reduce costs.


Protein: One of the three nutrients that provides calories to the body. Protein is an essential nutrient that helps build many parts of the body, including muscle, bone, skin, and blood. Protein provides 4 calories per gram and is found in foods like meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, beans, nuts, and tofu.


Reasonable fee: A fee determined by a carrier that is consistent with the going rate in a geographical area for similar services.


Rehabilitative Care: Strengthens the spine and other joints.


Rheumatoid Arthritis: An inflammatory disease that affects the facet joints in the spine as well as other joints in the body including the hands, elbows, shoulders, fingers and toes.


Ruptured Disk: Herniated disk where material from the disk pushes through the outer lining of the disk.


Radiograph: A specially sensitized film that records the internal structures of the body by the passage of X-rays.


Range of Motion: The range, measured in degrees of a circle, through which a joint can be extended and flexed.


Rare Earth Screens: A phosphorous coated panel placed next to X-ray film that glows when it is exposed to X-ray radiation, reducing exposures and enhancing the image.


Reasonable fee: A fee determined by a carrier that is consistent with the going rate in a geographical area for similar services.


Reflex: An involuntary action resulting from a stimulus


Rehabilitative Care: A type of chiropractic care with the objective of strengthening the spine and providing optimum healing of the function of the spine, associated tissues, and organ system


Reimbursement: The payment of the expenses incurred because of an accident or sickness, up to any limit specified in the policy.


Relief Care: See Initial Intensive Care.


Report of Findings: A short presentation, usually by the doctor, describing the patients problem, how long it will take to correct, and the prognosis.


Sciatica: A pain that radiates from the back into the buttocks and into the leg caused by the irritation of the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the body.


Serotonin: A neurotransmitter that regulate bone mass, elevates mood, regulate aging, learning, memory and decreases appetite.


Slipped Disc: An incorrect term given a condition in which a disc becomes wedge-shaped and bulges. In extreme cases this pressure will cause a disc to rupture.


Spondylitis: Inflammation of the spine usually caused by an infection.


Spondylolisthesis: A spinal abnormality in which there is a displacement of a vertebra on the one below, often resulting in back pain.

Subluxation: A misalignment and malfunction of the spine that is less than a dislocation that inhibits the nervous system, associated organs, muscles, and soft tissues of the body.


Tranquilizer: A medicine used to treat anxiety.


Uninsured Motorist Coverage: An insurance provision that pays for bodily injury to you or others in your car when the injury is caused by an uninsured, underinsured or hit-and-run driver.


Wellness care: Health care that is not driven by sickness or injury but by an attempt to accomplish or promote an optimum state of physical, mental and social well-being.


Whiplash: An injury to the cervical spine  caused by rapid hyper-flexion, hyper-extension of the head.


Worker’s Compensation: A type of insurance that covers employee injuries and disabilities during their work hours.