Referring to the front of the body.


Inflammation of the arachnoid membrane, most commonly seen within the spinal cord around the spinal cord and cauda equina.


Replacement of a moving joint with a mechanical motion-preserving device.

Bone Spur

Bony growth or rough edges of bone.

Cauda Equina

The collection of nerves at the end of the spinal cord that resembles a horse's tail.

Cervical Spine

The neck region of the spine containing the first seven vertebrae.

CT Scan

A diagnostic image that is created by using multiple X-ray images which are reformatted by computer to create a three-dimensional detailed anatomical image. CT is especially useful for seeing the details of bone anatomy.


More commonly known as the tailbone, this is a bony structure in the region of the spine below the sacrum.


Existing before or at birth.


A surgical procedure performed in the front of the neck that involves removal of a part of the vertebral body to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots.

Disc (intervertebrae)

The tough, elastic, cushion found between the vertebrae of the spinal column. It may bulge beyond the vertebral body and compress the nearby nerve root, causing pain. The terms "slipped disc", "ruptured disc", and "herniated disc" are often used interchangeably, even though there are subtle differences.

Disc Degeneration

Deterioration of a disc. A disc in the spine may deteriorate or wear out over time. A deteriorated disc may or may not cause pain.


The surgical removal of a part or all of an intervertebral disc. It is performed to relieve pressure on a nerve root or the spinal cord.


A posterior structure of a vertebra which articulates (aligns or interfaces) with a facet of an adjacent vertebra to form a facet joint that allows motion in the spinal column. Each vertebra has a right and left upper facet and a right and left lower facet.


Surgical opening or passage in the vertebrae of the spine through which the spinal nerve roots travel.


Surgical opening or enlargement of the bony opening traversed by a nerve root as it leaves the spinal canal, to help increase space over a nerve canal. This surgery can be done alone or together with a laminotomy.

Herniated Disc

Condition in which the gelatinous core material of a disc bulges out of position and puts painful pressure on surrounding nerve roots. Sometimes referred to as a slipped or ruptured disc.


The flattened or arched part of the vertebral arch, forming the roof of the spinal canal.


Surgical removal of the rear part of a vertebra in order to gain access to the spinal cord or nerve roots to remove tumors, to treat injuries to the spine, or to relieve pressure on a nerve root.


An opening made in a lamina to relieve pressure on the nerve roots.


Creation of a detailed anatomical picture by a powerful magnetic field. MRI is especially useful for visualizing the soft tissues such as the intervertebral discs, nerves, spinal cord, and spinal fluid. 


A clinical syndrome resulting from compression of the spinal cord, typically caused by spinal stenosis. Myelopathy can present as numbness, weakness, trouble using arms and legs, incontinence and/or pain.


A technique for imaging the spinal canal, nerves, and spinal cord by following injection of a contrast material into the surrounding cerebrospinal fluid with X-ray and/or CT scanning. A myelogram is most frequently ordered when an MRI is not feasible or yields inadequate information.

Nerve Root

The initial portion of a spinal nerve, which is a nerve that comes directly off the spinal cord.

Neural Arch

The bony arch of the back part of a vertebra that surrounds the spinal cord, also referred to as the vertebral arch.


The surgical specialty involved in the treatment of disorders of the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves, as well as their supporting and associated structures.


The bony part of each side of the neural arch of a vertebra that connects the lamina (back part) with the vertebral body (front part).

Physical Therapy

A form of treatment consisting of exercising specific parts of the body such as the back, legs, arms, hands, or neck in an effort to strengthen, regain range of motion, relearn movement and/or rehabilitate the musculoskeletal system to improve function.


The back or rear side of the body.


A lay term indicating pain along the course of the sciatic nerve, especially noted in the buttocks and back of the leg and thigh and below the knee often due to a herniated disc.

Spinal Canal

A channel located in the middle of the vertebral column that houses and protects the spinal cord.

Spinal Cord

The longitudinal cord of nerve tissue that is enclosed in the spinal canal. It serves not only as a pathway for nervous impulses to and from the brain, but also as a center for carrying out and coordinating many reflex actions independently of the brain.

Spinal Fusion

A procedure in which bone is grafted onto the spine and in which instrumentation such as screws and rods may be used to provide additional spinal support.

Spinal Stenosis

Narrowing of the vertebral column, resulting in pressure on the spinal cord, spinal sac or nerve roots arising from the spinal cord; typically a degenerative phenomena.


The flexible bone column extending from the base of the skull to the tailbone. It is made of 33 bones known as vertebrae. The spine is also referred to as vertebral column, spinal column, or backbone.


Inflammation of vertebrae.


The forward displacement of one vertebra on another.


Degenerative bone changes in the spine usually most marked at the vertebral joints.


The 33 bones composing the spine-- individually referred to as a vertebra. They are divided into cervical spine (neck), thoracic spine (upper back or rib cage), lumbar spine (lower back), sacral spine (part of the pelvis), and coccyx, or tailbone.

The fracture of a part of the neural arch typically a remote occurrence , sometimes associated with spondylolisthesis