1202 East Main St
Auburn, Washington

Chiropractic Glossary

One of the great things about working with Hughes Chiropractic Health Center is the education you receive while progressing toward better health. Take a look at this glossary and learn more about the terminology of chiropractic and health care.

Acute   Relatively severe and of short duration.

Adjustment   A specific thrust or pressure delivered at the right time, location and angle to correct a vertebral subluxation.

Anterior   Toward the front of the body.

Arthritis   Inflammation of a joint that is often accompanied by symptoms and changes in structure.

Atlas   The upper most cervical vertebra in the spine that the skull rests upon and the most freely movable spinal vertebra.

Axis   The second cervical vertebra.

Bone Spur   A bony outgrowth.  A calcium deposit that can be part of the body’s response to abnormal motion or position of bones in the spine or elsewhere.

Cervical   The vertebrae of the neck, usually seven bones.

Chiropractic   Chiropractic is a natural philosophy of life and health and the art and science of locating, analyzing and correcting vertebral subluxation in accordance with that philosophy.

Chronic   Persisting for a long period of time.  A problem showing little change or of slow progression.

Coccyx   A series of small bones below the sacrum that are also known as the tailbone.

Disc   A cartilage (cushion/pad) that separates spinal vertebrae, absorbs shocks to the spine, protects the nervous system and assists in creating the four normal curves of the spine.  Discs can bulge, herniated or rupture, but because of the way discs connect to the vertebrae above and below, they can’t slip.

Edema   A condition in which fluid fills a damaged joint area causing swelling;  similar to the swelling of a sprained ankle or black eye.

Extremity   Lower or upper limb, such as a leg or arm. 

Facet   The joint surface of a spinal bone, facing the adjacent bone above or below.

Fixation   Being held in a fixed position.  “Stuck.”  A joint with restricted movement.

Foramen   An opening, a hole or passageway in a bone for blood vessels or nerves.

Health   A state of optimal physical, mental and social well being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmilty.

Herniation   A protrusion of an organ or part of an organ through the wall that normally contains it.

Hypermobility   Too much movement.

Hypomobility   Restricted movement.

Ilium   One of the two large bones that form the pelvis;  the hipbone.

Innate Intelligence   That specific localized portion of Universal Intelligence which exists in living things to nurture protect and maintain it in active organization.

Intervertebral Foramina   The lateral opening through which spinal nerve roots exit on each side of the spinal column formed by each spinal joint.

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

Kyphosis   A backward displacement in the lateral curve of the spine.

Lateral   The side view of the body.

Ligament   A band or sheet of fibrous connective tissue that binds joints together.

Lordosis   The forward curve of the spine, normally found in the cervical and lumbar areas of the spine.

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

Mental Impulse   A specific transmission of intelligent information created by the brain sent to the tissue cells of the body to direct their functions.

Nucleus Pulposus   The gelatinous mass in the center of the spinal disc.

Occipital   Pertaining to the lower, posterior portion of the head or skull that rests on the spinal column.

Palpation   Examining the spine with your fingers;  the art of feeling with the hands.

Posterior   Towards the back of the body.

Reflex   An involuntary action resulting from a stimulus.

Sacroiliac   The two joints where the hip bones connect to the sacrum.

Sacrum   The triangular bone at the base of the spine.

Sciatica          A pain that radiates from the lower back into the buttocks and down the back of one or both legs caused by the irritation of the sciatic nerves, the largest nerves of the body.

Scoliosis   Looking from the back, a sideways curvature of the spine.

Slipped Disc   An incorrect name given a situation in which a disc becomes wedge-shaped and bulges.  In extreme cases, pressure can cause a disc to tear or rupture.  (See Herniation.) 

Spasm   A constant contraction or tightening of a muscle

Spinous Process    The protruding part of the back of each spinal bone that can be seen or felt when examining the spine.

Stereo (x-ray)  Radiography
 Two x-rays of the same body structure taken from two positions a certain distance apart (laterally) then viewed through a pair of lenses.  The value of stereo x-rays is it presents a clearer visual impression of the relationship among various structures within the body
especially wherever superimposed structures form an intricate image.   

Tendon   Fibrous tissue that connects muscles with bones.

Thoracic   Pertaining to the twelve vertebrae of the middle back, from the base of the neck to about six inches above the waistline, to which the ribs attach.

Toggle Recoil Adjustment   A specific precision spinal adjustment by hand with controlled direction, angle, depth and torque for the purpose of correcting a vertebral subluxation.

Torticollis   A contracted state of the neck muscles that produces a twisting of the neck and unnatural position of the head. 

Traction   The act of drawing or exerting a pulling force, as along the long axis of a structure.

Transverse Process   Lateral protrusions (wings) on the side of each vertebra to which powerful muscles and ligaments attach.

Universal Intelligence   The intelligence which is in all matter constantly giving to it all of  its properties and activities, thus maintaining it in existence.

Vertebra   Any of the individual bones of the spinal column.

Vertebral Subluxation   A condition in which a vertebra has lost its normal juxta  relation with the vertebra above and or below to an extent less than a luxation (dislocation) occluding an opening, impinging nerves and interfering with the transmission of mental impulses between the brain and the tissue cells of the body.

Whiplash   An injury to the spine caused by an abrupt jerking motion, either backword, forward or from the side.

Home | About Us | Chiropractic Care | Conditions | Valuable Info & Links | FAQ's | New Patients | Contact Us

Hughes Chiropractic Health Center
1202 East Main Street, Auburn, Washington 98002
Phone: 253-833-0860 | Fax: 253-939-5444 | Email:

© Copyright 2011 - , Hughes Chiropractic - All Rights Reserved.
| Website Design, Hosting and Maintenance by New Tech Web, Inc.