Back Pain Glossary of Terms

The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the Back Pain article.

Abdomen: The belly, that part of the body that contains all of the structures between the...

See the entire definition of Abdomen

Abdominal: Relating to the abdomen, the belly, that part of the body that contains all of ...

See the entire definition of Abdominal

Abdominal muscles: A large group of muscles in the front of the abdomen that assists in th...

See the entire definition of Abdominal muscles

Acetaminophen: A nonaspirin pain reliever or analgesic. Acetaminophen may be given alone t...

See the entire definition of Acetaminophen

Acupuncture: The practice of inserting needles into the body to reduce pain or induce anes...

See the entire definition of Acupuncture

Acute: Of abrupt onset, in reference to a disease. Acute often also connotes an illness th...

See the entire definition of Acute

Acute pain: Pain that comes on quickly, can be severe, but lasts a relatively shorter peri...

See the entire definition of Acute pain

Anemia: The condition of having a lower-than-normal number of red blood cells or quantity ...

See the entire definition of Anemia

Anesthetic: A substance that causes lack of feeling or awareness, dulling pain to permit s...

See the entire definition of Anesthetic

Ankle: The ankle joint is complex. It is made up of two joints: the true ankle joint and ...

See the entire definition of Ankle

Ankylosing: Having a tendency to stiffen and fuse together.

Ankylosing spondylitis: A form of chronic inflammation of the spine and the sacroiliac joi...

See the entire definition of Ankylosing spondylitis

Appendicitis: Inflammation of the appendix, usually associated with infection of the appen...

See the entire definition of Appendicitis

Asthma: A common lung disorder in which inflammation causes the bronchi to swell and narro...

See the entire definition of Asthma

Back pain: Pain felt in the low or upper back. Causes of pain in the low and upper back in...

See the entire definition of Back pain back to top

Bladder: A hollow organ in the lower abdomen that stores urine. The kidneys filter waste f...

See the entire definition of Bladder

Blood clots: Blood that has been converted from a liquid to a solid state. Also called a t...

See the entire definition of Blood clots

Blood count: The calculated number of white or red blood cells (WBCs or RBCs) in a cubic m...

See the entire definition of Blood count

Bowel: The small and large intestine.

C-reactive protein: An acute-phase plasma protein whose blood concentration reflects the p...

See the entire definition of C-reactive protein

Cancer: An abnormal growth of cells which tend to proliferate in an uncontrolled way and, ...

See the entire definition of Cancer

Cauda equina: A bundle of spinal nerve roots that arise from the end of the spinal cord. T...

See the entire definition of Cauda equina

Cauda equina syndrome: Impairment of the nerves in the cauda equina, characterized by dull...

See the entire definition of Cauda equina syndrome

CBC: A commonly used abbreviation in medicine that stands for complete blood count, a set...

See the entire definition of CBC

Chest: The area of the body located between the neck and the abdomen. The chest contains t...

See the entire definition of Chest

Chiropractic: A system of diagnosis and treatment based on the concept that the nervous sy...

See the entire definition of Chiropractic

Chronic: In medicine, lasting a long time. A chronic condition is one that lasts 3 months ...

See the entire definition of Chronic

Chronic pain: Pain (an unpleasant sense of discomfort) that persists or progresses over ...

See the entire definition of Chronic pain

Common cold: A contagious viral upper respiratory tract infection. The common cold can be ...

See the entire definition of Common cold

Complete blood count: A set values of the cellular (formed elements) of blood. These meas...

See the entire definition of Complete blood count back to top

Compression: 1. The act of pressing together. As in a compression fracture, nerve c...

See the entire definition of Compression

Constipation: Infrequent and frequently incomplete bowel movements. Constipation is the op...

See the entire definition of Constipation

COPD: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Any disorder that persistently obstructs bron...

See the entire definition of COPD

Cox-2: Cyclooxygenase-2, an enzyme that acts to speed up the production of certain chemica...

See the entire definition of Cox-2

CT scan: Computed tomography scan. Detailed images of internal organs are obtained by this...

See the entire definition of CT scan

Depression: An illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and that affects the way...

See the entire definition of Depression

Diagnosis: 1 The nature of a disease; the identification of an illness. 2 A ...

See the entire definition of Diagnosis

Disc: Shortened terminology for an intervertebral disc, a disk-shaped piece of specialized...

See the entire definition of Disc

Discharge: 1.The flow of fluid from part of the body, such as from the nose or vag...

See the entire definition of Discharge

Dysfunction: Difficult function or abnormal function.

Electromyogram: A test that records the electrical activity of muscles. Normal muscles pro...

See the entire definition of Electromyogram

Emergency department: The department of a hospital responsible for the provision of medica...

See the entire definition of Emergency department

Epidural: Outside the dura, the outermost, toughest, and most fibrous of the three membran...

See the entire definition of Epidural

Essential: In medicine, of unknown cause, as in essential hypertension (high blood pressur...

See the entire definition of Essential

Fatigue: A condition characterized by a lessened capacity for work and reduced efficiency ...

See the entire definition of Fatigue back to top

Fibromyalgia: A disease characterized by chronic pain, stiffness, and tenderness of muscle...

See the entire definition of Fibromyalgia

Fracture: A break in bone or cartilage. Although usually a result of trauma, a fracture ca...

See the entire definition of Fracture

Gastric: Having to do with the stomach.

Gastrointestinal: Adjective referring collectively to the stomach and small and large inte...

See the entire definition of Gastrointestinal

Hammer: The malleus.

Headache: A pain in the head with the pain being above the eyes or the ears, behind the he...

See the entire definition of Headache

Heart: The muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body. ...

See the entire definition of Heart

Heart attack: The death of heart muscle due to the loss of blood supply. The loss of bloo...

See the entire definition of Heart attack

Herniation: Abnormal protrusion of tissue through an opening.

Herpes: A family of viruses. Herpes also refers to infection with one of the human herpesv...

See the entire definition of Herpes

Herpes zoster: Also called shingles, zona, and zoster. The culprit is the varicella-zoster...

See the entire definition of Herpes zoster

Hip fracture: Broken bone in the hip, a key health problem among the elderly, usually due ...

See the entire definition of Hip fracture

Ibuprofen: A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is commonly used to treat pa...

See the entire definition of Ibuprofen

Incidence: The frequency with which something, such as a disease or trait, appears in a pa...

See the entire definition of Incidence

Incontinence: The inability to control excretions, to hold urine in the bladder, or to kee...

See the entire definition of Incontinence back to top

Indicate: In medicine, to make a treatment or procedure advisable because of a particular ...

See the entire definition of Indicate

Indication: 1. In medicine, a condition which makes a particular treatment or proce...

See the entire definition of Indication

Infection: The invasion and multiplication of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, an...

See the entire definition of Infection

Inflammation: A localized reaction that produces redness, warmth, swelling, and pain as a ...

See the entire definition of Inflammation

Injury: Harm or hurt. To harm, hurt, or wound. The word injure may be in physical or emot...

See the entire definition of Injury

Joint: The area where two bones are attached for the purpose of permitting body parts to m...

See the entire definition of Joint

Kidney: One of a pair of organs located in the right and left side of the abdomen. The kid...

See the entire definition of Kidney

Knee: The knee is a joint which has three parts. The thigh bone (the femur) meets the lar...

See the entire definition of Knee

Leg: In popular usage, the part of the body from the top of the thigh down to the foot, an...

See the entire definition of Leg

Low back pain: Pain in the lower back area that can relate to problems with the lumbar spi...

See the entire definition of Low back pain

Lumbar: Referring to the five lumbar vertebrae, the disks below them, and the correspondin...

See the entire definition of Lumbar

Magnetic resonance imaging: A procedure that uses magnetism, radio waves, and a computer t...

See the entire definition of Magnetic resonance imaging

Malignant: 1. Tending to be severe and become progressively worse, as in malignant ...

See the entire definition of Malignant

Medical history: 1. In clinical medicine, the patient's past and present which may ...

See the entire definition of Medical history

Motor: Something that produces or refers to motion. For example, a motor neuron is a nerve...

See the entire definition of Motor back to top

MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging.

Muscle: Muscle is the tissue of the body which primarily functions as a source of power. T...

See the entire definition of Muscle

Myelogram: An X-ray test of the spinal cord and the bones of the spine. A myelogram is use...

See the entire definition of Myelogram

Nausea: Stomach queasiness, the urge to vomit. Nausea can be brought on by many causes, in...

See the entire definition of Nausea

Nerve: A bundle of fibers that uses electrical and chemical signals to transmit sensory an...

See the entire definition of Nerve

NSAID: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, a medication that is commonly prescribed or pu...

See the entire definition of NSAID

Onset: In medicine, the first appearance of the signs or symptoms of an illness as, for ex...

See the entire definition of Onset

Opioid: 1. A synthetic narcotic that resembles the naturally occurring opiates. 2. Any sub...

See the entire definition of Opioid

Osteomyelitis: Inflammation of the bone due to infection, for example, by the bacteria sal...

See the entire definition of Osteomyelitis

Osteoporosis: Thinning of the bones, with reduction in bone mass, due to depletion of calc...

See the entire definition of Osteoporosis

Ovarian: Of or pertaining to the ovary.

Pain: An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. Pa...

See the entire definition of Pain

Pelvic: Having to do with the pelvis, the lower part of the abdomen, located between the h...

See the entire definition of Pelvic

Pelvis: The lower part of the abdomen, located between the hip bones. Structures in the fe...

See the entire definition of Pelvis

Peripheral: Situated away from the center, as opposed to centrally located.

back to top

Physical therapy: A branch of rehabilitative health that uses specially designed exercises...

See the entire definition of Physical therapy

Placebo: A "sugar pill" or any dummy medication or treatment.

Plantar: Having to do with the sole of the foot.

Posterior: The back or behind, as opposed to the anterior.

Pregnancy: The state of carrying a developing embryo or fetus within the female body. Thi...

See the entire definition of Pregnancy

Prescription: A physician's order for the preparation and administration of a drug or dev...

See the entire definition of Prescription

Prognosis: The forecast of the probable outcome or course of a disease; the patient's chan...

See the entire definition of Prognosis

Progressive: Increasing in scope or severity, advancing, or going forward. For example, a ...

See the entire definition of Progressive

Protein: One of the three nutrients used as energy sources (calories) by the body. Protein...

See the entire definition of Protein

Radiate: To spread out from a central area. For example, sciatic pain may radiate outward ...

See the entire definition of Radiate

Range of motion: The full movement potential of a joint, usually its range of flexion and ...

See the entire definition of Range of motion

Rectum: The last 6 to 8 inches of the large intestine. The rectum stores solid waste until...

See the entire definition of Rectum

Referred pain: Pain felt at a site other than where the cause is situated. An example is t...

See the entire definition of Referred pain

Reflex: An involuntary reaction. For example, the corneal reflex is the blink that occurs ...

See the entire definition of Reflex

Rule out: Term used in medicine, meaning to eliminate or exclude something from considera...

See the entire definition of Rule out back to top

Rupture: A break or tear in any organ (such as the spleen) or soft tissue (such as the ach...

See the entire definition of Rupture

Sacral: Referring to the sacrum. For example, sacral agenesis is absence of all or part of...

See the entire definition of Sacral

Scan: As a noun, the data or image obtained from the examination of organs or regions of...

See the entire definition of Scan

Sciatic nerve: The largest nerve in the body, the sciatic nerve begins from nerve roots in...

See the entire definition of Sciatic nerve

Sciatica: Pain that results from irritation of the sciatic nerve and typically radiates fr...

See the entire definition of Sciatica

Sedimentation rate: A blood test that detects and monitors inflammation in the body. Abbre...

See the entire definition of Sedimentation rate

Sensation: In medicine and physiology, sensation refers to the registration of an incoming...

See the entire definition of Sensation

Sensory: Relating to sensation, to the perception of a stimulus, to the voyage made by inc...

See the entire definition of Sensory

Shingles: An acute infection caused by the herpes zoster virus, the same virus as causes c...

See the entire definition of Shingles

Skeletal: Pertaining to the skeleton, the bones of the body that collectively provide the ...

See the entire definition of Skeletal

Spasm: A brief, automatic jerking movement. A muscle spasm can be quite painful, with the ...

See the entire definition of Spasm

Spinal cord: The major column of nerve tissue that is connected to the brain and lies with...

See the entire definition of Spinal cord

Spinal stenosis: Narrowing of the spinal canal. Spinal stenosis is most commonly caused by...

See the entire definition of Spinal stenosis

Spine: 1) The column of bone known as the vertebral column, which surrounds and protects ...

See the entire definition of Spine

Spondylitis: Inflammation of one or more of the vertebrae of the spine. Diffuse inflammati...

See the entire definition of Spondylitis back to top

Spondylosis: Degeneration of the disc spaces between the vertebrae. Spondylosis is common ...

See the entire definition of Spondylosis

Stenosis: A narrowing. For example, aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve in ...

See the entire definition of Stenosis

Steroid: One of a large group of chemical substances classified by a specific carbon struc...

See the entire definition of Steroid

Stomach: The digestive organ that is located in the upper abdomen, under the ribs. The upp...

See the entire definition of Stomach

Stool: The solid matter that is discharged in a bowel movement.

Strain: 1. An injury to a tendon or muscle resulting from overuse or trauma. 2. A heredita...

See the entire definition of Strain

Stress: In a medical or biological context stress is a physical, mental, or emotional fact...

See the entire definition of Stress

Stroke: The sudden death of brain cells due to lack of oxygen, caused by blockage of blood...

See the entire definition of Stroke

Surgery: The branch of medicine that employs operations in the treatment of disease or inj...

See the entire definition of Surgery

Symptom: Any subjective evidence of disease. In contrast, a sign is objective. Blood comin...

See the entire definition of Symptom

Syndrome: A combination of symptoms and signs that together represent a disease process....

See the entire definition of Syndrome

Tension: 1) The pressure within a vessel, such as blood pressure: the pressure within t...

See the entire definition of Tension

Therapy: The treatment of disease. Therapy is synonymous with treatment....See the entire definition of Therapy

Thoracic: Pertaining to the chest. For example, the thoracic aorta is the part of the aort...

See the entire definition of Thoracic

Tongue: A strong muscle that is anchored to the floor of the mouth. The tongue is covered ...

See the entire definition of Tongue back to top

Topical: Pertaining to a particular surface area. For example, a topical agent is applied ...

See the entire definition of Topical

Trauma: A physical or emotional injury.

Trigger: Something that either sets off a disease in people who are genetically predispose...

See the entire definition of Trigger

Tumor: An abnormal mass of tissue. Tumors are a classic sign of inflammation, and can be ...

See the entire definition of Tumor

Tylenol: See: Acetaminophen.

Urinary: Having to do with the function or anatomy of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or ur...

See the entire definition of Urinary

Urine: Liquid waste produced by the kidneys. Urine is a clear, transparent fluid that norm...

See the entire definition of Urine

Virus: A microorganism that is smaller than a bacterium that cannot grow or reproduce apar...

See the entire definition of Virus

Weight loss: Weight loss is a decrease in body weight resulting from either voluntary (die...

See the entire definition of Weight loss

X-ray: High-energy radiation with waves shorter than those of visible light. X-ray is used...

See the entire definition of X-ray back to top




Medical Dictionary