Rhode Island Spine Center a Primary Spine Care Facility

Below is a list of terms used throughout the Rhode Island Spine Center Web site. Click any term to display its definition.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - The carpal tunnel is a small enclosed space at the base of the palm of your hand, through which tendons, nerves, and blood vessels pass. Swelling in this area usually caused by irritation from repetitive movements can cause pressure on the nerves to the hand, resulting in symptoms of numbness, tingling, or weakness in the hand.

CAT Scan - CAT stands for "computed axial tomography", and is also referred to sometimes as a CT scan. A CAT scan is an imaging study in which computers are used to take images of bones that can be seen in cross sections or as 3 dimensional images, allowing views not possible with a regular x-ray.
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Cox Technique/Flexion Distraction - This is a particular type of manipulation designed to decompress the disc in which a gentle stretch or traction on the lower spine is used, typically in a series of repetitive slow movements with no quick movement or "thrust". Flexion distraction is often used for people with disc problems, but can also be used in other ways, such as to gently mobilize joints.

Disc - The disc is a small round pad of cartilage-like tissue found between the vertebrae. Inside each disc is a small amount of a jelly-like substance known as the nucleus, normally contained in the center of the disc.

Diversified Manipulation - Possibly the most widely used technique in the chiropractic profession, diversified manipulation is a term used to describe a type of manipulation in which a small quick movement is used to restore normal movement to a restricted joint. This type of manipulation is often associated with a clicking or popping sound, as the joint quickly moves, although this sound is not required for the manipulation to be effective.
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Ergonomic - The word ergonomic is used to describe equipment or environments which have been designed for optimum efficiency and safety, and to reduce stresses to the worker. For example, a computer workstation can be ergonomically modified by assuring proper height and distance of the monitor to reduce eye and neck strain, providing good lumbar support and a good chair to reduce low back strain, etc.

Gonstead - Similar to diversified manipulation, Gonstead is a particular series of techniques used by the chiropractic profession in which a small quick movement is used to restore normal movement to a resricted joint.

Manipulation - Manipulation is a broad term for a group of different techniques designed to restore normal movement to a joint.
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Manual Therapy - Manual therapy is a term describing the use of the practitioner's hands to find and treat dysfunctions in the body, including the use of palpation, which is feeling the muscles and joints for restrictions or tightness, and the treatment of these dysfunctions with such hands-on techniques as joint mobilization and muscle stretching, among others.

Migraine - A migraine headache comes in several varieties, but many are experienced as severe headache accompanied by nausea, sensitivity to light and noise, and may be preceeded by various visual disturbances or other symptoms.

Mobilization - The term "mobilization", in this context, refers to a technique in which the therapist or physician gently guides the restricted joint through its normal range of motion, usually with slow, oscillatory movements. With this technique, there is usually no quick movement or "crack" required.
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Motion Palpation - Motion Palpation means literally to assess the ability of a joint to move by using the hands to feel its movements. An attempt is made to gently move the joint through its normal range of motion in several directions to determine if a restriction of movement exists.

Myofascial Release Technique - A particular type of stretching designed to release both tight muscles and tightness or adhesions in the connective tissue surrounding muscles and joints.

Muscle Energy Manipulation - A gentle type of manipulation designed to restore normal movement to a joint without any quick movement or “cracking" sounds during the treatment.
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Muscle Treatment - Many types of muscle treatments are used at the Rhode Island Spine Center to restore normal function. Among these are muscle stretching of various types, trigger point therapy, myofascial release, and muscle strengthening or activation techniques.

Neural Mobilization - The brain, spinal cord and nerves are continuous and are surrounded by connective tissue which can develop tension or tightness, often contributing to nerve symptoms experienced as radiating pain, numbness, tingling or weakness. Neural mobilization is a gentle nerve stretching technique to relieve this tension and its associated symptoms.

Neuromusculoskeletal - Pertaining to nerve, muscle, or bone/joint. A neuromusculoskeletal specialist focuses on problems with the body's mechanics and how those mechanics are controlled by the central nervous system.
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MRI - MRI literally stands for "magnetic resonance image". An MRI is an imaging study which is done to enable the physician to see the soft tissues of the body, such as the joints, discs, and muscles, unlike an X-ray, in which primarily only the bones are visible. An MRI is taken using magnets, so there is no radiation associated with it.

Rehabilitative Exercise - In the sense in which it is used at the Rhode Island Spine Center, rehabilitative exercise means exercise designed to help you recover from your current problem, and also preventative exercises to help keep the problem from coming back.

Sciatica - Sciatica is Latin for, literally, "leg pain". It is a general term to describe leg pain from any cause, although is usually used to mean leg pain arising from a nerve irritation in the lower back or pelvis.
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Thoracic Outlet Syndrome - Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is a set of symptoms arising from compression of the nerves and/or blood vessels as they leave the neck and move into the arm. These symptoms may include radiating arm pain, numbness and tingling in the arm, and arm weakness or coldness. The causes are many, the most common of which include certain muscles being overly tight, compression behind or between bones and joints lying very close to the involved nerves and blood vessels, or occasionally having an extra rib in the lower neck.

Trigger Point Therapy - Trigger points are small, very sensitive "knots" in a muscle which can often cause pain to be felt distant to where the actual trigger point is located, such as trigger points in neck muscles causing pain to be felt in the head or arms. They can be treated in several ways, one of which is to apply direct pressure to the point until the pain and muscle tightness subside.
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