Glossary of Spinal Terms
The spine is an incredibly intricate structure. Your vertebrae, nerves, and discs work in harmony to facilitate motion and communicate with the rest of the body, so it’s only natural that such a complex area of the body comes with some complex vocabulary. If you’re suffering through back pain, it may help to know the names of certain body parts and spinal conditions. Hopefully, this will help you better communicate with a doctor and get an accurate diagnosis. Here’s a list of some spinal terminology worth knowing.
A tear in the annulus fibrosus, the strong outer ring of fibers that surrounds an intervertebral disc.
The vertebrae of the neck, directly below your skull. There are seven vertebrae, numbered C1 through C7.
A surgical procedure utilized to remove portions of a disc that are putting pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerves.
A surgical procedure that enlarges the neuroforamen, the vertebral passageways that house spinal nerves.
A condition caused when the nucleus material of a disc extrudes through a break in the annulus.
A bone plate that forms the back wall of each vertebra and encloses the spinal cord.
A surgical procedure that removes part of the lamina in order to alleviate disc protrusion and/or nerve root compression. The removal of the entire lamina is known as a laminectomy.
The vertebrae between your ribcage and pelvis. There are five vertebrae, numbered L1 through L5.
Portions of a vertebral bone that bridge between the front and back of the vertebra. They provide protection for the spinal cord and nerves.
A condition caused by compression or inflammation of the sciatic nerve, often marked by shooting pain and numbness from the lower back down to the legs.
The longest, widest nerve in the human body, originating in the lumbar spine and running down through the buttocks and into the lower leg.
A condition marked by lateral curvature of the spine.
Achieved by either surgical or non-surgical means, spinal decompression refers to any method of relieving pressure by gently stretching the spine.
A general term for nerve pain related to the spine.
Inflammation of the vertebrae, sometimes associated with arthritis.
A condition that causes a vertebra to slip forward.
Painful compression and narrowing of spaces within the spine, most often in the lumbar and cervical regions.
A neck injury brought about by sudden, violent movement of the neck.
The vertebrae in the middle segment of your spine, between the cervical and lumbar regions. There are 12 thoracic vertebrae, numbered T1 through T12.
This is only a small sampling of the things we deal with every day at Texas Spine Clinic. We take pride in being the San Antonio area chiropractic experts you can trust! If you have back pain questions or concerns, please get in touch with us. We’ll work with you to provide the back pain education, resources, and relief you need.