Glossary of Terms

anaesthetic discogram an injection intended to temporarily block pain originating from a disc
analgesic a medication that relieves pain without causing numbness
ankylosing spondylitis an autoimmune condiion that causes progressive natural fusion of the vertebral bodies
annular tear a disrupion in the outer ring (annulus fibrosis) of the disc
annulus fibrosis a complex outer ring of dense fibres that encases the nucleus pulposus of the disc
anterior towards the front of the body
AP X-Ray An anterior-posterior X-ray producing an image as if the body is viewed from the front
anticonvulsants medication to prevent seizures
antiemetics medication to prevent or treat nausea and vomiting
aquatherapy physical therapy or exercise therapy carried out in a pool
arthritis inflammation affecting the joints
arthropathy any degeneative abnormality affecting the joints
articular process a part of a vertebra that extends from the lamina and supports a surface of a facet joint
artificial disc totally synthetic device implanted to replace a spinal disc
autograft any graft taken from the patients own body
bone spurs or osteophytes abnormal extensions of the normal contour of a bone or vertebra, associated with degenerative change
cage a hollow titanium cylinder or box that holds two vertebrae in place and carries bone graft material in its interior
carpal tunnel syndrome a compression at the wist that causes a pinch of the median nerve affecting the thumb,second and third fingers of the hand
CAT Scan Computer driven X-Ray system for producing three dimensional images
caudal towards the lower end of the body
caudal epidural injection into the epidural space placed through the sacrum
causalgia a nerve based pain associated with nerve or bodily injury
central canal the central portion of the vertebral coumn in which the spinal cord is found
central nervous system the brain and spinal cord
cerebrospinal fluid a clear fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord
cervical associated with the neck
cervical spine the vertebrae in the neck
cervical plate a titanium device used to secure and hold  a graft in the disc space after surgery
claudication leg pain with walking  due to either inadequate circulation in the legs or circumferential compression of the spinal canal
coccyx lowest portion of the spine
contrast agent an injected material that helps distinguish the appearance of two or more tissues during radiological imaging tests
cortical bone the hard outer aspect of bone
cranial towards th skull
cyst abnormal enclosed fluid space within the body
decompression operation to relieve pressure on a structure
dermatome an area of skin innervated by a single spinal nerve root
Dexa scan Dual Energy X-Ray absorptiometry. Used to assess bone density for diagnosis of osteoporosis
discectomy removal of all or part of a spinal disc
discitis infection within a disc space
discogenic pain a pain syndrome arising from an abnormal spinal disc.
discogram an injection used to evaluate the health of a spinal disc, particularly to identify annular tears
disc bulge an abnormal expansion of the margi of a disc still well contained by the annulus
dorsal towards the back
dura a firm membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord
electromyography (EMG) monitoring the electrical function of muscles using needles placed in the muscle itself or electrodes on the skin surface
epidural in the space outside the dura
epidural abscess an infection in the space outside the dura
extruded disc a portion of the central part of the disc (nucleus pulposus) that passes through the outer annulus and is free within the spinal canal
facet block an injetion used to numb a spinal joint or facet
facet joints the segmental joints at the back of the spine on both sides between the lamina
flexion bending forward
flexion/extension X-Ray X-rays taken with the body flexed forwards and with the body extended backwards
foraminotmy surgery to open the spinal foramen increasing the space for a nerve root as it passes out of the spinal canal
fusion causing two bones to grow together into one
gadolinium an injectible medium used to provide image contrast during MRI scanning
herniated disc same as’prolapsed’: a disc in which part of the central portion or nucleus pulposus has moved to an abnormal position
inferior lower in the body towrds the feet
inflammation a natural reactive process in the body characterised by local irritation heat, redness and pain
intradural inside the dural membranes
isometric maintaining the length of a muscle while the tension changes
kyphoplasty procedure to correct the alignement of vertebrae in a patient whose spine is angled forwards
kyphosis forward anglation of the spine
lamina the posterior portion of a vertebra that looks like a flat plate
laminectomy removal of all or part of the back of a vertebra
lateral to the side
lateral recess stenosis narrowing of the lateral or outside corner of the spinal canal causing nerve root entrapment inside the spinal canal
lateral X ray an X ray taken from the side
ligamentm flavum a yellow elastic ligament between the lamina of the vertebrae
listhesis slippage
lumbar the low back between the thoracic and sacral region
magnetic resonance imaging MRI a way of visualising the interior of the body using magnetic and radiofrequency fields
medial towards the midline
meninges the various membranes that line the spinal cord and brain
meningioma a tumour that derives from the membranes around the spinal cord and brain
meningitis an infection in the spinal fluid and membranes around the spinal cord and brain
metastatic a tumour that spreads to various locations within the body
microdiscectomy partial or complete removal of disc material under microscopic magnification
musculoskeletal anything pertaining to bones,muscles,tendons and ligaments
myelin a fatty material that surrounds and insulates the nerve cells
myelopathy symptoms that arise when the spinal cord is compressed
nerve block an injection that causes numbness and weakness by preventing function of a nerve
neurofibroma a tumour arising within a nerve
neuropathic pain pain that derives in nerves and may not be responsive to routine pain medications
neuropathy malfunction in a nerve due to a medical disease of nerves or to compression of the nerve
NSAID Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that reduce swelling, inflammation and pain without the use of steroids
nucleus pulposus The soft spongy material that makes up the centre of the disc.
opiates narcotic medication
osteomyelitis an infection of bone
osteophye a bone spur
pedicle portion of the vertebra that connects the lamina to the body and helps form the walls of the spinal canal.
pedicle screws fixation screws that are placed through the pedicle of the vertebra
percutaneous procedure done through a puncture in the skin
perineum the skin and tissues between the legs
peripheral nerves the nerves after their departure from the spinal canal.
peroneal nerve a verve that starts just above the knee, passes along the lateral aspect of the lower leg and helps activate muscles that lift the foot
posterior towards the back of
prognosis expectation of the outcome of treatment
prophylactic something administered to prevent the development of a problem, such as antibiotics given to prevent infection
radiculopathy pain, numbness or weakness in the distribution of a spinal nerve
referred pain pain experienced at a location different from that of the injury causing the pain
sciatic nerve a large nerve carrying motor and sensory fibres to the posterior thigh and the leg below the knee
sciatica pain in the distributio of he sciatic nerve that may involve the L4,L5,S1 or S2 dermatomes
scoliosis curvature of the spine
spinal canal the space between the vertebral bod and the lamina through which the spinal ura and spinal cord passes
spinal cord the portion of the central nervous system extending from the base of the skull down to L1/L2 in most individuals
spinous process a portion of a vertebra that is in the mdline and directed posteriorly towards the skin
spondylolisthesis slippage between two vertebrae
stenosis narrowing of the spinal canal or foramina
subluxation slippage between to vertebrae
syringomyelia the accumulation of fluid withtin the centre of the spinal cord
syrinx a cavity within the spinal cord typically caused by an accumulation of fluid
tissue glue a biological adhesive or sealing material made from natural human blood roteins
titanium a non magnetic element r type of metal that is compatile with MRI scanning
traction the application of tension or pulling to the spine
vertebra a bony element of the spine