Sciatica: Sciatica is a particular type of lower back pain, or leg and back pain, which comes from injury or
pressure on your sciatic nerve. Sciatica’s presence is usually caused by general wear and tear that takes place in
your lower back over time, but sometimes can occur with a sudden trauma to the associated vertebral discs.
Scoliosis: Scoliosis is a deformity of the spine which causes a sideways S or C-shaped curvature to develop
over time. Most incidents of scoliosis are considered idiopathic, or from an unknown cause. Girls, especially
those in the prepubescent growth stage, are much more likely to contract scoliosis than boys.
Slipped Disc: This is a slang term used to describe a ruptured or herniated disc.
Spinal Column: The term for the vertebral bones of your back. The spinal column protects your spinal cord.
Strengthening Exercises: Strengthening exercises are designed to maintain and increase overall muscle
integrity and strength.
Stretching Exercises: These exercises are referred to as range-of-motion exercises. They help reduce stiffness
and keep your joints flexible.
Subluxations: Commonly referred to as a vertebral subluxation. A subluxation occurs when the joints of the spine
fail to move properly due to spinal bones becoming misaligned, therefore causing interference with the nerve
messages from the brain to the body and/or from the body to the brain. This fixation, or loss of normal motion, can
affect movement patterns, muscle balance, and even the function of organs and the chemicals and hormones
they produce. In a nutshell, a vertebral subluxation is the impairment of optimal expression of your nervous
system caused by physical, biochemical, or psychological distress.
Sacrum: The Sacrum is group of five bones fused into a triangular shape located behind the pelvis. The sacrum
fits between the two hipbones connecting the spine to the pelvis.
SMT: This is an abbreviation for spinal manipulative therapy.
Spinal Adjustment: An adjustment is a gentle force introduced into the spine, typically by hand with the intent of
releasing a vertebral segment from its abnormal motion and/or position thereby reducing the vertebral
Spinal Manipulation: Another term used to describe an adjustment. An adjustment is a gentle force introduced
into the spine, typically by hand with the intent of releasing a vertebral segment from its abnormal motion and/or
position thereby reducing the vertebral subluxation.
Spur: A bone spur, also known as an osteophyte, is a bony growth formed on normal bone. Most people think of
something sharp when they think of a "spur," but a bone spur is just extra bone. A bone spur forms as the body
tries to repair itself by building extra bone. It generally forms in response to pressure, rubbing, or stress that
continues over a long period of time.
Surface Electromyography (SEMG): A device and procedure that measures the skin's temperature and electrical
activity along the spinal column to determine where variations exist indicating the presence of subluxation.
Straight Chiropractor: A Chiropractor that uses only manual manipulation and does not mix in therapeutic
modalities in the course of treatment. A straight chiropractor focuses on locating and correcting vertebral
S.O.A.P Notes: A note taking system used for keeping patient records. This is based on the patients Subjective
complaints, Objective complaints, Doctor's Assessment, and treatment Plan.
Spasm: A muscle spasm is an involuntary contraction of a muscle, and is frequently painful.
Spinous Process: The spinous process is the protruding bone you can feel when running your hands down your
back. The spinous process serves as an attachment point for muscles and ligaments.
Spurring: The process of developing of a bone spur or osteophyte.
Subjective Complaints: This is the part of the SOAP note taking system that describes the patient’s problems or
conditions in their own words.
Superior: Referring to a higher or upward direction or positioning.
Supine: The supine position is one in which people lie on their backs, in almost a completely flat position.
Satiety: Satiety is the physical sensation of being full after eating or simply not being hungry.
Saturated Fat: A fat that is solid at room temperature. Saturated fat is found in high-fat dairy products, processed
meats, the skin and fat of chicken and turkey, lard, palm oil, and coconut oil. Eating a diet high in saturated fat
also raises blood cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.
Sciatic Nerve: The sciatic nerve is the longest and largest of all your bodies’ nerve highways. The sciatic nerve
consists of five different sets of nerve roots that exit from the spinal cord and join together to form one giant sciatic
nerve band that proceeds along the hips and down the back of each leg where it separates into many different
sets of nerves that individually travel to the thigh, knee, calf, ankle, and foot.
Sedentary: A person who is inactive. The individual engages in little to no leisure-time physical exerting activity.
Serotonin: A neurotransmitter found in the brain that can elevate mood and decrease appetite.
Set: This is an exercise term describing a group or certain number of a particular exercise. An example would be
performing twenty consecutive push ups. The twenty push ups constitutes one set of twenty.
Spina Bifida: A congenital defect in which the arches of the lower lumbar spine fail to form over the spinal cord,
leaving the spinal cord exposed and unprotected.
Spinal Canal: The spinal canal, also called the vertebral canal or spinal cavity, is the space created by the
vertebral column. The hollow kind of tube created by the spinal column houses and protects the soft nervous
tissue of the spinal cord.
Spinal Cord: The spinal cord is an essential part of human anatomy. It extends from the brain, down the back,
and acts like a highway for information that travels to and from the brain.
Spinal Fracture: A term used to describe a broken back bone or vertebra in the spine.
Spinal Fusion: Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure by which two or more vertebrae are linked together. A small
bit of bone is placed between the vertebrae. The vertebrae will then graft themselves to this bone over time,
eventually forming one solid structure. Aids such as screws or metal plates may or may not be used in spinal
fusion and are usually only used if it appears that the vertebrae need a splint to hold them in place while the bone
Spinal Stenosis: Spinal Stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal of the spine. This narrowing places pressure
on the spinal cord. While some patients are born with this narrowing, most cases of spinal stenosis occur to
patients over the age of 50 and are the result of aging and wear and tear on the spine.
Spondyloarthropathy: Spondyloarthropathy, which is also known as ankylosing spondylitis, is an arthritic
condition that directly affects the spine. It causes chronic pain and general discomfort in the upper and lower
back. Patients also frequently experience an overall feeling of stiffness in the back, and eventually, they may lose
some mobility. Ankylosing spondylitis always starts with the spine, but over time, it can spread to different organ
systems throughout the body, leading to a host of different symptoms.
Spondylitis: Spondylitis, which is also known as ankylosing spondylitis, is an arthritic condition that directly
affects the spine. It causes chronic pain and general discomfort in the upper and lower back. Patients also
frequently experience an overall feeling of stiffness in the back, and eventually, they may lose some mobility.
Ankylosing Spondylitis always starts with the spine, but over time, it can spread to different organ systems
throughout the body, leading to a host of different symptoms.
Starvation Metabolism: The slowing of the body’s energy expenditure caused by chronic underfeeding, leading
to a reduction in the rate at which the body burns calories and an increase in the storage rate of body fat.
Stenosis: Stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal of the spine. This narrowing places pressure on the spinal
cord. While some patients are born with this narrowing, most cases of spinal stenosis occur to patients over the
age of 50 and are the result of aging and wear and tear on the spine.
Strength Training: This type of training incorporates strengthening exercises that are designed to maintain and
increase overall muscle integrity and strength. This helps you tone muscles and lose fat.
Synarthrosis: A joint that permits little or no mobility. Most synarthrosis joints are fibrous joints such as skull
Saddle Joint: In this type of joint the articular surface of each bone is concave in one direction and convex in a
direction at right angles to this. An example of this type of joint is the carpo-metacarpal joint at the base of the
Synovial Joint: In this type of joint the two surfaces are not directly joined, meaning the bones have a synovial
cavity and are united by the dense irregular connective tissue that forms the articular capsule that is normally
associated with accessory ligaments.
Simple Joint: A basic joint that has only two articulation surfaces. The shoulder joint and hip joint are perfect
Spinal Curves: When viewed from the anterior or front a healthy spine is straight from top to bottom. Viewing
spine from the side or from a lateral direction a healthy spine has four distinct spinal curves. These curves are
described as being either kyphotic or lordotic.