Glossary

ANNULUS

Annulus or annulus fibrosis is a tough fibrous outer wall of an intervertebral disc.

FORAMEN

Foramen or intervertebral foramen is the opening or window between the vertebrae through which the nerve roots leave the spinal canal. 

INTERVERTEBRAL DISC

Intervertebral discs function as shock absorbers between vertebral bodies. Intervertebral discs have an inner gel-like center called the nucleus pulposus which is surrounded by an outer fibrous disc wall, the annulus fibrosus. When there is a disorder of the disc, the displaced disc material can impinge on neural structures. Intervertebral disc herniations most commonly occur in the lumbar spine, but can also occur in the cervical or thoracic spine.

MYELOPATHY

Myelopathy is a constellation of symptoms that result due to compression of the spinal cord. Some of these symptoms include but are not limited to neck pain, mid back pain, lower back pain, arm and/or leg pain, numbness, weakness, decreased fine motor skills of the hands, difficulty with walking and balance, multiple falls, loss of bowel or bladder control, and the development of abnormal reflexes. Cervical myelopathy occurs in the cervical spine and is due to compression of the cervical spinal cord and is more common than thoracic myelopathy.

NUCLEUS

Nucleus or nucleus pulposus is a soft gel-like center of an intervertebral disc. 

SCIATICA

Sciatica is pain that courses along the sciatic nerve in the buttocks and down the legs. Usually caused by compression of the fifth lumbar spinal nerve. 

VERTEBRA(E)

Vertebra(e) is one of 33 bones that form the spinal column, they are divided into 7 cervical, 12 thoracic, 5 lumbar, 5 sacral, and 4 coccygeal. Only the top 24 bones are moveable.