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Wellness Glossary

Activator: A spring-loaded adjusting instrument that utilizes an extremely rapid pulse to help restore normal functioning in the body.

Acupressure: The practice of applying; pressure on parts of the body to relieve pain.

Acupuncture: The practice of inserting fine needles on specific meridian points for the purpose of relieving tension, stress, and pain. Highly useful in the treatment and relief of back pain.

Addiction: Psychological, emotional, or physical dependence on the effects of a drug.

Adjustments: A form of chiropractic technique involving the application of gentle, yet firm, pressure to a bone. Adjustments employ a high velocity, low amplitude thrust. The goal of any adjustment is to restore the bone to its natural, or original, position.

Adrenal glands: Small glands located on the kidneys that produce the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol.

Adrenaline: A hormone that stimulates metabolism, increases alertness and increases blood pressure.

Aerobic Exercises: These kinds of exercises generally involve large muscle groups and foster a strong and healthy heart and lung function.

AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome): The final and most serious stage of HIV disease, which causes severe damage to the immune system. AIDS begins when a person with HIV infection has a CD4 cell count below 200. (CD4 is also called "T-cell", a type of immune cell.) AIDS is also defined by numerous opportunistic infections and cancers that occur in the presence of HIV infection. AIDS is the fifth leading cause of death among persons between ages 25 and 44 in the United States.

Alternative Medicine: The use of various non-drug, non-surgical related therapies. Using natural means of treatment.

Amino acid: The basic unit from which proteins are made. There are two classes of amino acids: essential and non-essential. Essential amino acids are those that cannot be manufactured by the body and must be attained from the diet. Non-essential amino acids are those that the body can synthesize from other amino acids.

Anabolism: The metabolic process of building new tissue. Typically used in relation to building muscle, ligaments and tendons.

Analgesics: Medicines that are used to relieve pain - aspirin is an example.

Anesthesiologist: A physician who specializes in giving drugs or other agents that block, prevent, or relieve pain.

Ankylosing Spondylitis: A chronic, progressive, rheumatic disease of the spine that causes calcification of the spinal ligaments, resulting in a loss of movement.

Annulus fibrosis: The tough outer layer of the intervertebral disc. Cartilage-like material formed in a series of rings surrounding the nucleus pulposus (soft center) of a disc.

Arthritis: Inflammation of a joint; most arthritis is caused by degenerative changes related to aging. Arthritis affects not only joints but also connective tissue throughout the body can be involved, as well.

Autonomic nervous system: The part of the nervous system that is responsible for controlling the involuntary functions in the body, such as digestion, metabolism, blood pressure, etc.

B

Back Extension: Backward bending of the spine.

Back Flexion: Forward bending of the spine.

Bariatric surgery: Surgery on the stomach and/or intestines to help the patient with extreme obesity lose weight. Bariatric surgery is a last-resort weight-loss method used for people who have a body mass index (BMI) in excess of 40.

Basal energy expenditure (BEE): Also known as the basal metabolic rate.; The number of calories that your body needs for basic processes such as digestion, breathing, brain function, etc.

Bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA): A way to estimate the amount of body weight that is fat and nonfat. Nonfat weight comes from bone, muscle, body water, organs, and other body tissues. BIA works by measuring how difficult it is for a harmless electrical current to move through the body. The more fat a person has, the harder it is for electricity to flow through the body. The less fat a person has, the easier it is for electricity to flow through the body. By measuring the flow of electricity, one can estimate body fat percent.

Body composition score (BCS): A measure that combines body weight, percentage of body fat, waist circumference and hip circumference into one score. The BCS is a more accurate measure of weight loss progress than simply measuring body weight.

Body mass index (BMI): A measure of body weight relative to height. BMI can be used to determine if people are at a healthy weight, overweight, or obese. A body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 up to 25 refers to a healthy weight, a BMI of 25 up to 30 refers to overweight and a BMI of 30 or higher refers to obese.

Bodywork: A general term that relates to a wide variety of hands-on therapies, such as massage and some movement therapies.

Bulging Disc: The annulus portion of the lumbar disc weakens causing the nucleus to press against it resulting in the annulus pinching or pressing against a nerve causing pain.

Bursitis: A condition in which the bursa, or fluid filled sacks that cushion joints, become swollen.

C

Calorie: A unit of energy in food. Carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram. Proteins have 4 calories per gram. Fat has 9 calories per gram.

Carbohydrate: A major source of energy in the diet. There are two kinds of carbohydrates: simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are sugars, while complex carbohydrates include both starches and fiber. Carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram. They are found naturally in foods such as breads, cereals, fruits, vegetables, and milk and dairy products. Foods such as sugar cereals, soft drinks, fruit drinks, fruit punch, lemonade, cakes, cookies, pies, ice cream, and candy are very rich in sugars.

Cardiovascular system: The system in your body responsible for distributing blood throughout the body. The cardiovascular system is made up of the heart, arteries, capillaries and veins.

Catabolism: The metabolic process of breaking down tissues. Typically refers to the breakdown of muscle, bone, ligaments and tendons.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A progressive and sometimes painful joint disorder caused by a compression of the median nerve of your hand. The compression causes swelling, which exerts pressure on the nerves.

Cartilage: A connective tissue that lines the ends of bones and most joints. It lines the facet joints of the spine.

Cauda equina: A region at the lower end of the spinal column in which nerve roots branch out in a fashion that resembles a horse's tail.

Cervical Spine: The upper portion of your spine; also called the neck.

Chinese Medicine: The general term to describe the numerous techniques utilized in China for many thousands of years to heal bodily ailments. These may include massage, herbs, acupuncture and Qi Gong.

Chiropractic: Comes from the Greek words, "chiro," meaning hand, and "practic," meaning practice, or treatment. Chiropractic is a form of health care that focuses primarily on restoring normal position, motion and function in the body's structures; especially the spine.

Chiropractor: Also known as a doctor of chiropractic (D.C.), diagnoses and treats a broad range of physical conditions in patients with muscular, nervous, and skeletal problems, especially the spine.

Chronic Pain: Pain that has lasted for more than three months generally having significant psychological and emotional affects and limiting a person's ability to fully function.

Cholesterol: A fat-like substance that is made by the body and is found naturally in animal foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. Foods high in cholesterol include liver and organ meats, egg yolks, and dairy fats. Cholesterol is carried in the blood. When cholesterol levels are too high, some of the cholesterol is deposited on the walls of the blood vessels. Over time, the deposits can build up causing the blood vessels to narrow and blood flow to decrease. The cholesterol in food, like saturated fat, tends to raise blood cholesterol, which increases the risk for heart disease. Total blood cholesterol levels above 240 mg/dl are considered high. Levels between 200-239 mg/dl are considered borderline high. Levels under 200 mg/dl are considered desirable.

Cortisol: A hormone that is released from the adrenal glands in response to stress that facilitates fat storage and has a catabolic affect on muscle and connective tissue.

Coccyx: The small bone at the lower tip of the spine. Also called the tailbone, a triangular-shaped bone at the bottom of the lumbar area.

Cognitive Restructuring: A therapy whose emphasis is on learning to recognize and then change, or restructure thought processes, reframing thoughts in less stressful terms. Learning to make molehills out of mountains.

Complementary Medicine: The use of various non-drug, non-surgical related therapies. Using natural means of treatment.

Compressed Nerve: Material from a bulging or Herniated disk pushes against a nerve in the spinal cord causing severe pain.

Computed Tomography (CT) scan: A sophisticated x-ray using a computer to produce a detailed cross-sectional three-dimensional picture of the bone and discs.

Cordotomy: Surgery to cut some of the fibers of the spinal cord; used to relieve pain.

Cranio-Sacral Therapy: A manual therapy focusing on manipulation of the bones in the skull and sacrum.

Cyclooxygenase: An enzyme that comes in two forms, I and II. Type I maintains body functions. Type II is associated with the development of inflammation. Aspirin inhibits I and II. COX-2 drugs inhibit Type II only.

D

Degenerative Arthritis: The wearing away of cartilage that protects and cushions joints including those in the spine, hands and feet (see Osteoarthritis).

Degenerative Disc Disease: A general term applied to degeneration of the lumbar spinal discs which serve as cushions between the spinal vertebrae, resulting in a narrowing of the disc space.

Diabetes Mellitus: A disease that occurs when the body is not able to use blood glucose (sugar). Blood sugar levels are controlled by insulin, a hormone in the body that helps move glucose (sugar) from the blood to muscles and other tissues. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not make enough insulin or the body does not respond to the insulin that is made.

Disc Annulus: The outer lining of a disk (see Annulus Fibrosis).

Disc Nucleus: The inner core of a disk (see Nucleus Pulposus).

Discectomy: Surgical removal of part or the entire herniated intervertebral disc.

Diet: What a person eats and drinks. Any type of eating plan.

E

Electrical nerve stimulation: A type of physical therapy treatment that utilizes various frequencies and wave forms of electrical current, which have therapeutic effects on the nervous and musculoskeletal systems.