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Activator Adjusting Instrument – A hand held instrument used by some chiropractors. This instrument is used to tap the misaligned vertebrae back into place

Acute pain – Pain with a sudden onset, lasting from just a few days to as long as 3 months. If pain lasts for more than 3 months, it is considered “Chronic pain”, not “Acute pain”

Applied Kinesiology – A method of testing muscle strength to detect disease, vitamin deficiency or other problems

Arthritis – An inflammation of the joints. There are different types of arthritis, the most common being osteoarthritis and rheumatoid.

Asthma – Chronic lung condition, often aggravated by allergens, that includes wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and tightness in the chest.

Atlas – Topmost vertebra of the neck

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“Big Idea” – The concept behind the Chiropractic theory that the body can heal itself if the nervous system is functioning properly and any interference is removed.

Biomechancies – The application of mechanical laws to living structures

Blair Upper Cervical Technique – A technique that concentrates on correcting the vertebral misalignments on the top of the neck as a method of removing nerve interference to the spine.

Bone Spur – A calcium deposit on the bone, usually resulting from an injury.

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C.A. – Abbreviation for Chiropractic Assistant

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Disorder characterized by tingling in the wrists, usually caused by repetitive flexing and extension of the wrists. Without treatment, it can lead to pain, decreased grip strength, and temperature insensitivity.

Carver Technique – Method developed by Willard Carver, an early Palmer student who formulated his own theories about subluxations and nerve interference and opened the Carver Chiropractic College in 1908. Carver developed a technique in which traction and pressure applied to the spine just before making a manual thrust, which he called the “Tracto-Thrust” system.

Cavitation – The “pop” that occurs during a chiropractic adjustment. This happens when the vertebral surface is separated creating a “vacuum “ that pulls in nitrogen gas.

Cervical Vertebrae – The seven vertebrae in the neck (cervical) area of the spine.

Chronic Pain – Pain that lasts for 3 months or more.

Cox Flexion-Distraction Technique– A technique used to stretch specific segments of the spine using a movable table.

Consultation – A meeting between patient and chiropractor for the purpose of discussing the patient’s complaints, history and plan of care.

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Disc – A cartilage that separates the spinal vertebrae by acting like a cushion. The disc function is to protect and absorb any shocks to the spine and to protect the nervous system.

Disc Degeneration – A thinning of the disc as a result of excessive use and age.

D.C. – Doctor of Chiropractic

Derefield Leg Check – Test used by chiropractors to detect and treat “pelvic” imbalances. The test measures the length of the legs to detect imbalances.

Dynamic Thrust – Chiropractic adjustment delivered suddenly and forcefully to move vertebrae, often resulting in a popping sound.

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Examination – The time taken to evaluate the patient’s complaints and symptoms.

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

Fixation – Being held in a fixed position. An area of the spine or specific joint with restricted movement.

Flexion-Distraction Technique – A method of stretching the spine. The patient is in a face down position during the technique, so that flexion and traction can be applied to specific segments of the spine.

Full-spine Technique – Adjusting the vertebrae of the spine from the neck down.

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Gonstead Technique – A technique used by chiropractors specially trained in the “Gonstead System”. The chiropractor will use a visual exam, palpation, instruments and X-rays to determine precisely where, what, when and how to adjust to obtain specific and consistent result.

Grostic Procedure – Upper cervical technique that depends upon x-ray examination to measure and detect misalignments between the atlas and the skull. Adjustments can be made with an instrument or be done manually by placing pressure on the side of the neck at the base of the skull.

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Health – A stat of optimal physical, mental, and social well being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity.

Homeostasis– The body’s ability to maintain normal function and stability.

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Immunity – Resistance to disease

Innate Intelligence – The body’s inborn ability to heal itself, which chiropractors believe is enhanced by spinal adjustments.

Intervertebral Disc – The tough cartilage that acts as a “cushion” between two vertebrae.

Intervertebral Foramina – The lateral opening through which spinal nerve roots exit the spinal column.

Kale Method – Variety of upper cervical adjustments in which toggle adjustment, or a sudden, shallow thrust is applied to the side of the neck to correct atlas subluxations, often in a knee-chest position on a special table.

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Leander’s Method – Method that utilizes a motorized table for loosening or mobilizing the spine with flexion-distraction-type stretching before a spinal adjustment.

Leg Length Testing – This is a method used by chiropractors to detect subluxations.

Locked Spinal Joint – A binding that occurs when two joint surfaces become misaligned by some type of sudden or awkward body movement. A muscle spasm will usually occur as a result of this binding as well as a “locked back”.

Long Lever Manipulation – Method of spinal manipulation in which a general technique is used to stretch or loosen several vertebrae at a time.

Low Force Technique – A technique used by some chiropractors which replaces a “forceful” manipulation. A chiropractor using this technique will use an “ adjusting machine” or a “reflex technique”.

Lumbar – The vertebrae of the lower back, usually 5 bones

Lumbo-Pelvic Techniques – Technique used to adjust any “manipulative lesion” in the joints of the lumbar spine and pelvis. Lumbo-pelvic “distortions” are attributed to postural alterations, leg length inequality, tilting of the lumbar vertebrae, loss of mobility, and other “lesions” that require manipulations over the pelvis and lower back. Leg length testing is often used to detect Lumbo-pelvic distortions.

Lumbosacral Strain – An injury or strain of joints at the base of the spine.

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Maintenance Care – A program suggested by a chiropractor which will help the patient to maintain good health. This is also referred to as “preventative care”.

Manipulation – A chiropractic technique that results in the movement of a joint.

Meric System – Chiropractic system based on the theory that specific spinal joints are associated with specific organs, requiring adjustment of certain vertebrae for certain diseases.

Mixer – A chiropractor that uses “modalities” in addition to manual manipulation of the spine.

Mobilization – Method of manipulation, movement, or stretching to increase range of motion in muscles and joints that does not involve high velocity thrust.

Modalities – Specific therapies used before or after a chiropractic adjustment. Some examples may include: physical therapy, hot or cold therapies, ultrasound, muscle stimulation, massage.

Motion Palpation – Useful method of locating fixations and loss of mobility in the spine by feeling the motion of specific spinal segments as the patient moves.

Musculoskeletal – Structures of the body that include tendons, muscles, ligaments and joints.

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Nerve Root – One of the two nerve bundles emerging from the spinal cord that join to form segmental spinal nerve.

Nimmo Method – Technique that uses digital pressure on trigger points to relax muscles said to be pulling vertebrae out of alignment

Non-force Technique – Muscle treatments and reflex techniques that do not include “forceful” manipulation.

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Palpation – Spinal examination using the fingers

Paresthesia – Loss of normal sensation

Pettibone Method – Upper cervical adjustive technique that utilizes an instrument to adjust the atlas. Orthogonal lines are used to measure the full spine

P.I. Abbreviation for “Personal Injury”.

Physical Therapy– Treatment using equipment to treat pain.

Preventative Care – Care to a patient designed to prevent a condition from worsening or returning.

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Range of Motion – A joints range of movement measured in degrees of a circle.

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Sacrum – A triangular shaped bone at the base of the spinal column that connects the pelvic bones.

Sciatica – An inflammation of the sciatic nerve resulting in pain, numbness, tingling or weakness of the leg and lower back.

Scoliosis – Condition where the spine has lateral curvature (side-to-side) as seen from the back, where severe cases may require braces or surgery for treatment.

S.M.T. – Abbreviation for “spinal manipulative therapy”.

Spinal Adjustment – The process of correcting a subluxation.

Spinal Manipulation – A thrust that stretches a joint in order to increase its mobility.

Spur – A projecting body from a bone , usually resulting from an injury or wear and tear.

“Straight” Chiropractor – A Chiropractor that uses only manual manipulation, without the use of “modalities”. A straight chiropractor focuses on locating and correcting vertebral subluxations.

Subluxation – Subluxation is when one or more of the bones of your spine (vertebrae) move out of position and create pressure on, or irritate spinal nerves. Spinal nerves are the nerves that come out from between each of the bones in your spine. This pressure or irritation on the nerves then causes those nerves to malfunction and interfere with the signals traveling over those nerves.

SEMG – (Surface Electromyography) – A procedure measuring the skin’s temperature and electrical activity in the muscles surrounding the spine.

Sweat Method – Atlas orthogonal technique in which the atlas is adjusted using a special table and a solenoid stylus placed against the side of the neck just behind and below the ear.

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Thermography – A procedure that images heat from body surfaces.

Thompson Terminal Point Technique – A chiropractic adjustment performed on a table in which the supporting cushions drop an inch or two when a thrust is applied to the spine.

Thoracic Vertebrae– The twelve vertebrae in the upper back (thoracic) portion of the spine.

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

Toggle Recoil Technique – Manipulation performed with a sudden shallow thrust (toggle) followed by a quick withdraw (recoil) of the chiropractor’s hands while the patient is relaxed

Treatment – The goal of a chiropractor to locate a point of interference and to remove it.

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Ultrasound-High frequency sound waves with muscle stimulation used to treat areas of injury, pain or spasms.

Upper Cervical Specific– A technique used to correct atlas and upper cervical subluxations.

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Vax-D (Vertebral Axial Decompression) – A form of traction using a device that stretches and releases the spine while the patient lies down in a “prone” (face down) position.

Vertebra – The bony segment of the spine that surrounds and acts as protection of the spinal cord and nerves.

Vitalism – The concept that the functions of an organism are due to a “vital principal” or “life force” distinct from the physical forces explainable by the laws of physics and chemistry. Chiropractors refer to that force as “Innate Intelligence”.

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Whiplash – Pain or injury in the neck resulting from a sudden involuntary forced movement of the head in any direction.

X-Rays– A diagnostic test used by chiropractors to view the spinal column in the effort to locate and treat subluxations.

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