Back and Leg Definition List

WORD DEFINITION
Acquired condition A disorder that a person develops over time that is not genetic, but may occur from the influence of the environment or unknown internal processes.
Annulus fibrosus Outer fibrous layers of the intervertebral disc consisting of overlapping collagen fibers. Also called ‘annulus’.
Arthrodesis Fusion of diseased or damaged vertebrae with bone graft to strengthen and stabilize the spine.
Arthroscopic discectomy Removal of an intervertebral disc by arthroscopy.
Arthroscopy A procedure using several small incisions for insertion of a visualization scope and instruments in the diagnosis and treatment of a joint condition.
Biofeedback Mind-body technique using knowledge of heart rate, blood pressure, or skin temperature to control symptoms such as pain or anxiety.
Bridging osteophytes New vertical bone that forms between vertebral bodies, associated with degenerative disease.
Bulging disc A vertebral disc with a discrete bulge caused by displaced material, but the displaced material does not escape through the outer fibrous layers of the disc.
Cauda equina syndrome Compression on the lower aspect of the spinal cord (caudal sac), usually by a large herniated disc, that affects nerves on both sides of the cord.  Signs: low back pain, weakness and/or tingling in both legs, and bowel and bladder incontinence.  Requires immediate surgical decompression for recovery.
Chronic low back pain Pain in the lower back that lasts beyond the course of an acute disease or an injury, or pain that persists for months or years.
Claudication Symptoms of leg pain or weakness and limping that are present when walking but absent at rest.
Contained disc herniation Outer annular fibers are intact, although stretched over the protruding disc material.
CT myelography Radiographic study of the spinal canal with the introduction of a dye substance into the spinal fluid to facilitate the image of the nerve tissues, called a myelogram, which is immediately followed by a CT scan.
CT scan (Computed tomography) Radiographic study of the spinal canal with the introduction of a dye substance into the spinal fluid to facilitate the image of the nerve tissues, called a myelogram, which is immediately followed by a CT scan.
Degenerative disc disease Condition where the spinal disc loses structural integrity from wear and tear, aging, or trauma. Consequences may be: disc space narrowing, osteophyte formation, disc bulging, or herniation.
Degenerative spondylolisthesis Forward displacement of a vertebra from the vertebra below due to degenerative changes in the facet joints.  A Frequent cause of low back and leg pain.
Disc bulge General pushing out of a spinal disc, extending the disc from its normal position. Considered a normal occurrence with age.
Disc herniation Focal abnormality of a disc associated with disc disease.  Involves the breakdown of the outer disc structure with the inner contents partially or completely pushing through the outer fibrous layers and subsequent encroachment of the epidural space, spinal cord, and nerves.
Extruded disc herniations Condition where the nucleus material of a disc has passed through a defect of an adjacent ligament (the posterior longitudinal ligament) but remains in continuity with the disc.
Facet arthritis Degeneration of facet joint cartilage and hypertrophy of the bone forming the joint.
Facet arthrosis Chronic degeneration of the facet joint cartilage and enlargement of the bony aspects (articular processes) of the joint
Facet joints Joints of the spine that connect all of the vertebrae and allow coordinated movement of the vertebral column.
Facetectomy Excision or removal of the facet joints of the vertebrae.
Herniated disc A condition where the center (nucleus pulposus) of the intervertebral disc is protruding through the outer fibrous layer (annulus fibrosus) of the disc. A frequent cause of low back and leg pain.  Distinguish from a disc bulge.
Implants Metal devices, also called instrumentation, that are used in spinal surgery for fusion of vertebrae and to increase stability of the spine.
Isthmic spondylolisthesis Forward displacement of a vertebra due to bony defects between the upper and lower facet joints of a single vertebrae (posterior arch).  Frequent cause of low back and leg pain.
Laser discectomy Percutaneous discectomy using an automated laser.
Limited lumbar laminotomy A surgically created opening in one or more laminae.
Lumbar spinal stenosis A narrowing of the spinal canal due to degenerative changes in the lumbar spine.
Microdiscectomy Surgical removal of a herniated disc fragment using microscopic techniques of magnification and illumination.
Muscle strains A painful muscle condition, usually a result of muscle overuse from prolonged exercise or extremes of physical activity. Frequent cause of low back and leg pain.
Narrowing of the disc space A complication of degenerative disc disease where the height between vertebrae has become less than normal.
Nerve root impingement Pressure on a nearby nerve root and surrounding soft tissues by displaced structure or tissue, such as a herniated intervertebral disc or abnormal bone growth; or by entrapment against bone with movement.
Neural arch Posterior aspect of a vertebra formed by the laminae and pedicles and forming the posterior wall and side walls of the spinal canal
Noncontained disc herniation A condition where disc material has broken through the annulus fibrosus, or outer layers, thus creating the potential for greater nerve root impingement.
Nonspecific back pain Pain that may be due to a single type of soft tissue injury, such as a muscle strain, or to a combination of soft tissue injuries (muscle, ligament, and other connective tissues).
Osteoarthritis Noninflammatory degenerative joint disease occurring mainly in older persons.
Osteophytes A small abnormal outgrowth of bone in the region of the spinal joints or on the edge of vertebrae adjacent to the intervertebral spinal discs.
Pars defect Bony defect in the back of the vertebrae sometimes responsible for pain, instability of the spine, and slippage (spondylolisthesis)
Pars interarticularis A narrow area (an isthmus) of bone between the upper and lower articular processes
Percutaneous discectomy Removal of disc material using minimally invasive tools, either through automated suction techniques or with arthroscopic visualization.
Posterior longitudinal ligament (Weaker) bind the vertebrae and vertebral disks together into a columnar unit
Radical discectomy (complete) Removal of the entire intervertebral disc, always accompanied by spinal fusion.
Radicular pain Pain experienced at the site of a nerve root or along the path for which a nerve supplies function.
Reduction Returning the displaced vertebra to normal anatomic alignment.
Referred pain Pain experienced at a site that is distant from the origin of the pain or injury.
Salvage procedure A last resort surgical procedure.
Sciatica A condition defined as pain radiating down the leg, due to irritation of the sciatic nerve and commonly caused by a herniated disc or nerve compression from osteophytes.
Scoliosis A significant lateral deviation in the normal vertically straight line of the spine. Frequent cause of low back and leg pain.
Sequestered disc herniation A condition where a piece of herniated disc material has separated from the body of the disc itself and is not in direct continuity with it.
Spinal disc Soft tissue structure between the vertebrae, consisting of a soft inner material (nucleus pulposus) and a tough outer tissue (annulus fibrosus).  Allows articulation of the intervertebral joint.
Spinal fusion Surgically created connection of two adjacent vertebrae to immobilize one or more motion segments in an attempt to relieve pain, correct deformity, and improve stability.
Spinal stenosis / Stenosis A condition where the spinal canal is sufficiently reduced in size (diameter from a variety of causes (nerve root impingement, osteophyte formation, disc herniation, etc.). Frequent cause of low back and leg pain.
Spondylolisthesis Forward displacement (slippage or translation) of one vertebra over the vertebra below.
Spondylolysis A defect (usually fracture) of the vertebral arch in between the superior and inferior facet joints (specifically, the pars interarticularis), occurring on one or both sides.
Spondyloptosis Over 100% forward slippage of a vertebra over the vertebra below.
Spondylosis Degenerative disease process affecting the spine, in particular, the intervertebral discs and the vertebral facet joints. Frequent cause of low back and leg pain.
Vertebral facet joints Joints of the spine that connect all of the vertebrae and allow coordinated movement of the vertebral column.