Chiropractic Vocabulary / Terminology

Activator — A diagnostic approach as well as a handheld instrument that is used to deliver a consistent low-force, high-speed chiropractic adjustment.

Acute – of short duration and relatively severe.

Adjustment — An intervention with the intent of facilitating the body’s ability to “right” itself and function more normally

Bone Spur – An extra calcium deposit in response to injury, disease or incorrect motion or position of a joint.

Cervical — The vertebrae of the neck, usually seven bones.

Chronic – Persisting for a long period of time.

Disc — A cartilage (cushion/pad) that separates each spinal vertebrae, absorbs shocks to the spine and protects the nerve systems and assists in creating the four spinal lateral curves (also known as intervertebral disc).

Facet – The actual joint surface of a spinal bone, facing the adjacent bone above and below.

Fixation – An area of the spine or specific joint with stuck or restricted motion.

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

Inflammation — A reaction of soft tissue due to injury that may include malfunction, discomfort, rise in temperature, swelling, and increased blood supply.

Lumbar — The vertebrae of the lower back, usually five bones.

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

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.

Range of Motion – The range, measured in degrees of a circle, through which a joint may be moved.

Report of Findings — A short presentation, usually by the doctor, describing the patient’s problem, how long it will take to correct, and the prognosis.

Sacrum – The triangular bone at the base of the spine. Usually referred to as the “tailbone”.

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.

Scoliosis — A sideways curve of the spine as viewed from the back.

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

Thoracic — Pertaining to the part of the spinal column from the base of the neck to about six inches above the waistline.

Trigger Point — An involuntarily tight band of muscle that is painful when pressed and can cause referred pain in other parts of the body.