Spine Dictionary

The terms below in what we call our spine dictionaryare provided for the reader, because they may not be specifically defined in other pages. Contributions to the dictionary or proposed corrections are appreciated and may be submitted by e-mail.

Spine Anatomy

Ablation in the spine is most often create in surgery, where arthritic osteophytes or healthy spine tissues are removed from the vertebrae to prevent irritation and compression of nerves and other spinal tissue.

Anterior Longitudinal Ligament runs the length of the spine on the ventral side of the vertebral body and is wide and thin at disc locations, but thin and narrow at the vertebra.

Anterior Longitudinal Ligament runs the length of the spine on the ventral side of the vertebral body and is wide and thin at disc locations, but thin and narrow at the vertebra.

Aracnoid Mater comprises middle meninges that encase the brain and spinal cord and cauda eguina

Cauda equina: The bundle of nerve roots that branch from the spinal cord in the lumbar spine below the L2/3 disc and is contained in the thecal sac is called the Cauda equina.

Dorsal is defined as, of or relating to back side of the body.

Dorsal Primary Rami are groups of nerves that leave the mixed spinal nerve towards the back of the body and supply the muscle control and skin of the back.

Dorsal Root Ganglion (DRG) house the connecting point for the sensory nerves of the back. It is located in the vertebral foramen and can be compressed by a bulging disc or irritated by bone spurs. Compression or irritation of the Dorsal Root Ganglion (DRG) can cause excruciating pain.

Dura Mater comprises the outermost, toughest, leather-like layer of the meninges, which protect the spinal cord and cauda eguina

Facets (zygapophyses) are paired processes, superior and inferior processes of the neural arch of a vertebra, which create the facet joint with corresponding parts of each other in the adjacent vertebrae. Hypertrophy (enlargement) of the facet joints can cause lateral stenosis of the neural formen or spinal stenosis of the spinal canal.

Foramen or Intervertebral Foramen (IVF) In anatomy any opening. In the spine an opening between vertebrae through which nerves leave the spine.

Gray Ramus Communicans is the sympathetic nerves that may provide a pathway for the Sinuvertebral Nerves to the nerve roots Dorsal Root Ganglion.

Luxation in the spine is the misalignment of the vertebrae, which may occur naturally or from the misapplication of spine technology.

Posterior Longitudinal Ligament runs the length of the spine on the ventral side of the vertebral body (the anterior aspect of the vertebral canal) while attached to the outer fibers of the annulus fibrosus and is wide and thin at disc locations, but thin and narrow at the vertebra. It is the last stalwart to a disc invasion of the spinal canal.

Ring Apophysis is the exposed outer rim of the vertebra not covered by the endplate.

Sagittal: A vertical plane passing through the standing body from front to back. The mid-sagital, or median, plane splits the body into left and right halves.

Sciatic Nerve is formed by the merging of the Ventral Rami of the L4, L5, and S1 in the pelvis. Hence pain felt in the lower limbs (Sciatica) can be caused by problems in this area of the lumbar spine.

Spinal cord: The major column of nerve tissue, which connects brain to the rest of the body. Lying within the spinal canal, thirty-one pairs of nerves emanate from spinal cord to complete the connections to all parts of the body, 8 pairs in the neck, 12 pairs in rib cage, 5 pairs in the lumbar spine, 5 pairs in sacrum, and 1 pair in the coccyx.

Thecal sac: The membrane that contains the spinal chord, the cerebral spinal fluid, and the cauda equina below the first lumbar disc is known as the thecal sac.

Vertebral Endplates are located at the upper and lower surfaces of the spinal vertebrae and serve to attach the vertebrae to the disc.

Ventra Primary Rami are groups of nerves that leave the mixed spinal nerve towards the front of the body and supply the muscle control and skin of the lower body.

Ventral is defined as, of or relating to the front side of the body.

Spine conditions not covered on other pages

Myelopathy: Any injury to the spinal chord is called myelopathy. Trauma and disease are the two major causes.

Radiculopathy, also known as radiculitis, is characterized by any condition or disease that causes pain to radiate from the spinal nerve roots. Causes range from injury to misshapened discs to diabetes. The most common form of radiculopathy is sciatica.

Osteophytes are also known as bone spurs, which form along the ring apophysis (the most outer surface) of the vertebrae, when degenerative disc disease or trauma is present.

Disc conditions not covered on other pages

Internal Disc Disruption refers to tear within the intervertebral disc that has not escaped the annulus, yet destroys the fibrous lamellae. IDD can still cause severe back pain.

Disc Anatomy

Annulus Fibrosus is the out layer of the spinal disc and composed of fibrous tissue, which serves to hold the content of the disc.

Intervertebral Disc is a disk-shaped piece of specialized tissue that separates the bones of the spinal column.

Lamellae refers to the sheets of collagen formed within the disc and outside of the nucleus pulposus. Lamellae are made of proteoclygcans and help support compressive loads.

Nucleus Pulposus: The clear center of the spinal disc is known as the nucleus pulposus, which composed of a jelly-like substance.

Sharpey Fibers form the bond between the outer layer of the vertebra and annulus fibrous of intervebral disc, thus making the attachment between the two.

Sinuvertebral Nerves are pain generating nerves found in the annulus and can be stimulated to pain when exposed to cytokines from the nucleus pulposus, as result of IDD. Pain transmission to the brain may be through the sympathetic nervous system via the Gray Ramus Communicans via a recurrent nerve of the Ventral Ramus.

Vascularized Granulation Tissue is vascularized plug that the body has formed to repair a radial annular tear of the intervertebral disc.