Back Pain Glossary


Arthritis - Inflammation of a joint usually characterized by swelling, pain and restriction of motion.

Computed Tomography (CT scan) - A diagnostic imaging technique in which a computer reads x-rays to create a three-dimensional map of soft tissue or bone.

Ligament - A band of flexible, fibrous connective tissue that is attached at the end of a bone near a joint. The main function of a ligament is to attach bones to one another, to provide stability of a joint, and to prevent or limit some joint motion.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - A technique that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create high-quality cross-sectional images of the body without using radiation.

Osteoporosis - A condition in which bones become less dense, more brittle, and fracture easily.

Spine - The flexible bone column extending from the base of the skull to the tailbone. It is made up of 33 bones, known as vertebrae. The first 24 vertebrae are separated by discs known as intervertebral discs, and bound together by ligaments and muscles separate the first 24 vertebrae. Five vertebrae are fused together to form the sacrum and 4 vertebrae are fused together to form the coccyx. The spine is also referred to as the vertebral column, spinal column, or backbone.

Tendon - The fibrous band of tissue that connects muscle to bone. It is mainly composed of collagen.

Recommended Reading