Glossary – C
cage, fusion: A hollow titanium cylinder or box, that holds two vertebrae in place and carries bone graft material in its interior.
cancellous bone: The loose, open, lattice of bony material within the center of many bones.
carbon fiber: Material used in aeronautics and increasingly in medicine, that provides a hard, lightweight structure.
carotid artery: One of the main arteries running up the neck and into the face and brain.
carpal tunnel: A structure within the wrist that carries the tendons and the nerves into the hand from the forearm.
carpal tunnel syndrome: A compression at the wrist, that causes a pinch of the median nerve affecting the thumb, 2nd and 3rd fingers of the hand.
CAT scanning: X-ray based system for producing cross-sectional images for medical examination.
catheter: A tube used for delivery of fluids or withdrawing fluids.
caudal: Towards the lower end of the body.
caudal epidural: An injection into the epidural space placed through the sacrum.
causalgia: A nerve-based pain associated with nerve or bodily injury.
cell saver: A machine that aspirates blood lost during surgery and cleans it for re-transfusion back into the patient’s body.
central canal: The central portion of the vertebral column in which the spinal cord is found.
central nervous system: The brain and spinal cord.
central pain: Pain that is based primarily in abnormal function within the spinal cord or brain.
cerebellar tonsils: The lowest end of the brain that may, in some conditions, extend through the level of the foramen magnum.
cerebellum: A posterior and low portion of the brain involved in the smooth coordination of movement.
cerebral cortex: The upper, superior covering over the brain involved in higher level integration and thought.
cerebral palsy: An associated condition with birth in which abnormal levels of spasticity prevent normal limb movement.
cerebrospinal fluid: A clear fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord.
cervical: Associated with the neck.
cervical spine: The vertebrae in the neck.
cervical plate: A titanium device used to secure and hold cervical vertebrae in place during the time that they are fusing after a surgery.
chelator: A chemical that removes metal ions from solution.
chest tube: A catheter tube placed through the chest wall to help re-inflate a collapsed lung.
chiropractic: A process of manipulation of the vertebrae and spine to achieve relief of pain or muscle spasm.
chyle: A fluid produced in the digestive tract and that carries nutrients from digestion up the thoracic duct and into the neck it flows into the venous system.
claudication: Leg pain with walking, associated either with inadequate blood supply to the legs or circumferential compression of the spinal canal.
clotting factors: Chemicals in the blood that allow the blood to form clots and halt bleeding.
coblation: A heat-based process for evaporating disc material.
coccyx: The lowest portion of the spine.
cohort study: A research evaluation of a spinal technique, that follows a large number of patients with similar conditions to assess the affect of different treatments.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (also: Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy): Type of paint that does not respond to the usual medications and that involves the autonomic nervous system.
compression stockings: Stockings worn to prevent the pooling of blood in the veins and to reduce the risk of deep vein clots (thrombosis) in the legs.
concordant: The experience of pain during a disc injection procedure, implying that the pain is similar to the pain the patient usually experiences from their condition.
consent form: Statement of understanding by the patient of the nature of a medical intervention giving the permission for the treating physician to proceed.
contrast agent: An injected material that helps distinguish the appearance of two or more tissues during radiological imaging tests.
cortical bone: The hard outer aspect of bone.
cortical responses: Electrical activity on the surface of the brain (cerebral cortex) detected by an evoked potential monitoring system.
costovertebral: The area of the thoracic spine where the rib meets the vertebra.
Cox II inhibitors: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications that are less irritating to the stomach than the routine nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications.
CPT: Current procedural terminology. A code system for providing a numerical description of the various components of medical care.
cranial: Towards the head or associated with the skull.
cranium: The skull.
cubital tunnel: An area in the distal humerus (upper arm bone) through which the ulnar nerve passes as it crosses the elbow. In general, the area of the “funny bone.”
cyst: An abnormal enclosed fluid space within the body.