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the kneelsit GLOSSARY Pg.1

medical and general terms relating to posture, sitting, musculoskeletal and back problems

ABBREVIATIONS:- Gr.= Greek; L.= Latin; Fr.= French; Ger = German; NA = Nomina Anatomica

Note. The principal source for the glossary has been extracts from the excellent Taberers Medical Dictionary, supplemented occasionally by Websters and in a few areas (clearly marked) my own research and observations.

Our thanks to Glossarist.com for including our glossary in their Medical Dictionary page. If you are looking for definitions of technical, professional, specialist terms in any subject this is the place to go.


arthritis (Ar-thri'tis) [" + itis, inflammation]. (pl. arthritides) Inflammation of a joint, usually accompanied by pain, swelling, and, frequently, changes in structure.
ETIOL: Arthritis may result from or be associated with a number of conditions including: infection (gonococcal, tuberculous, pneumococcal); rheumatic fever; ulcerative colitis; trauma; neurogenic disturbances such as tabes dorsalis; degenerative joint disease such as osteoarthritis; metabolic disturbances such as gout; neoplasms such as synovioma; hydrarthrosis; para- or periarticular conditions such as fibromyositis, myositis, or bursitis; various other conditions such as acromegaly, psoriasis, Raynaud's disease.
a., osteo-. A chronic disease involving the joints, esp. those bearing weight. Characterized by degeneration of articular cartilage, overgrowth of bone with lipping and spur formation, and impaired function. SYN: a., degenerative; a., hypertrophic; degenerative joint disease.
a., palindromic. Transient recurrent arthritis, of unknown etiology, of large joints.
a., psoriatic. A form of arthritis that may develop after psoriasis has developed. The exacerbations and remissions of arthritic symptoms parallel those of psoriasis.
a., rheumatoid. A chronic systemic disease characterized by inflammatory changes in joints and related structures that result in crippling deformities.
ETIOL: The specific cause is unknown, but it is generally believed that the pathological changes in the joints are related to an antigen-antibody reaction that is poorly understood. Environmental and familial factors are of doubtful importance. Onset may vary, but usually occurs in middle age.
TREAT: There is no specific therapy. If the condition is severe and painful, bedrest may be required for a short time. The salicylates, such as aspirin and sodium salicylate, are the most commonly used drugs in treating rheumatoid arthritis. Gold compounds, anti-inflammatory agents such as naproxen, indomethacin, and ibuprofen, and corticosteroids (for short-term anti-inflammatory use only) are also used in treatment. Intra-articular injection of certain corticosteroids is useful in treating acute inflammation of synovial tissue of one or two painful joints. This local treatment is effective for up to 21 days and may be used to allow a patient to remain ambulatory. Local or systemic use of corticosteroids does not cure the basic disease process or prevent the progression of pathological changes in the joint.
Caution: Long-term use of corticosteroids is contraindicated due to the development of undesired side effects.
The use of exercise and physiotherapy are important in maintaining range of motion of the affected joints. Until the inflammatory response has subsided, passive exercise is employed to prevent contractures. When inflammation has subsided, active exercise is used to maintain muscle strength and range of motion. A variety of self-help services are available for patients with severe limitation of joint movement, thus enabling these patients to remain self-sufficient. The use of surgical procedures such as arthroplasty and total hip replacement has been effective in very severe forms of rheumatoid arthritis.
NURSING IMPLICATIONS: Evaluate patient for symptoms of joint inflammation, such as redness, swelling, pain, and reduced mobility of joints. Also evaluate for fatigue, irritability, and temperature elevation. Inflamed joints should be splinted to prevent contractures and maintain range of motion with gentle passive exercise. When inflammation has subsided, use warm baths or soaks to joints before active range of motion. Administer ordered medications, evaluate response, and teach patient about side effects that should be reported. Explain rationale for short-term use of corticosteroids and need for tapering dosage rather than abrupt discontinuance. Encourage total body rest and adequate nutrition. Provide information on self-help devices and support groups.

articular (ar-tik'u-lar) [L.articularis] .Pert. to articulation.

articulate (ar-tik'u-lat) [L. articulatus, jointed]. 1. To join together as a joint.

articulated (ar-tik'u-lat'd). State of articulation or of being jointed.

articulation. l. The place of union between two or more bones; a joint. It is classified as being immovable (synarthrosis), slightly movable (amphiarthrosis), or freely movable (diarthrosis). Cartilage, or fibrous or soft tissue lines the opposing surfaces of all joints.
a., apophyseal. The joint between the superior and the inferior articulating processes of the vertebrae.


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back. 1. The dorsum. 2. The posterior region of the trunk from neck to pelvis.
Misuse of the back is common among those whose duties include care of the sick. Therefore, it is important to learn basic concepts in care of the back.

backache. Any pain in the back. Usually characterized by dull, continuous pain and tenderness in the muscles or their attachments in the lower lumbar, lumbosacral, or sacroiliac regions. Pain is often referred to the leg, following the distribution of the sciatic nerve.
ETIOL: Infection or abnormality in another part of the body such as uterine or prostatic disorders; disorders of the vertebral column such as intervertebral disk abnormality; local disturbances such as lumbar or sacral fractures, lumbosacral strain or sprain; structural inadequacies of supporting ligaments of the spinal column; muscle injury, spasm, myositis, or inflammation of fascial attachments; psychogenic factors.
TREAT: Treat specific primary cause. General treatment includes measures to allay pain and discomfort such as analgesics, preferably salicylates or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents, muscle relaxants, heat., whirlpool. Tender areas or trigger points may be anesthetized by local infiltration with 1% procaine or topical application of ethyl chloride spray. Special measures to relax tense muscles and improve blood flow are helpful. Orthopedic supports and strapping if necessary in special cases. Muscle retraining. Psychotherapy when necessary, esp. in excessive muscle tension resulting from emotional disturbances. backbone. The vertebral column; spinal column .

balance. (wbst.) n. 1. bodily equilibrium as 'he kept his balance on a tightrope',
2. mental or emotional equilibrium.
3. an equality of weight, equipoise or just proportion   
v.i. to be in equilibrium.

balance beam. In occupational therapy a device, usually consisting of a narrow beam elevated several inches from the floor, used for assessing and training balance and motor coordination.

balance board. Device, usually consisting of a padded platform mounted on a curved base, commonly used in therapy with children having CNS deficits. Designed to facilitate the development of appropriate equilibrium-related postural reflexes.

biofeedback. (webst.) n. a technique of seeking to control certain emotional states, such as anxiety or depression by training oneself with the aid of electronic devices to modify bodily functions such as blood pressure or heartbeat.
feedback: a process in which the factors that produce a result are themselves modified, corrected, strenghtened etc. by that result.

body composition. Quantitation of the various components of the body, esp. of the fat, water, protein, and bone mineral. Determination of the specific gravity of the body is done to estimate the percent fat. This may be calculated by various methods, including underwater weighing, which determines the density of the individual; use of radioactive potassium, K, measuring the total body water by dilution of tritium; and use of various anthropometric measurements such as height, weight, and skin fold thickness at various sites. None of these methods is free of the potential for error. Underwater weighing is useful but may provide misleading information when used in analyzing body composition of highly trained athletes. The obese person has a lower body density than does the lean person, because the specific gravity of fat tissue is less than that of muscle tissue. The fat content for young men will vary from about 5% to 27% and for women from about 18% to 35%.

body image. 1. The subjective image or picture people have of their physical appearance based on their own observations and the reactions of others.
2. The conscious and unconscious perception of our body at any particular time.

bone [AS. ban, bone]. 1. Osseous tissue, a specialized form of dense connective tissue consisting of bone cells (osteocytes) embedded in a matrix made up of calcified intercellular substance. Bones provide shape and support for the body of vertebrates. They also serve as storage sites for mineral salts, and play an important role in providing in the marrow a site for the formation of blood cells. Bone consists of about 50% water and 50% solid matter, the solids being chiefly cartilage hardened by impregnation with inorganic salts, esp. carbonate and phosphate of lime. The proportion of lime in bone gradually increases, and in old age there is such a large proportion that the bones are brittle and break easily. They surround and protect some vital organs, and give points of attachment for the muscles, serving as levers and making movement possible. The outer surface is less porous than the inner and is called the compact tissue; the more porous portion is called cancellous tissue. The compact tissue is tunneled by a central canal containing marrow and fine branching canals small blood vessels and lymphatics for the maintenance and repair of bone tissue run in these canals. This is known as the haversian system. The exterior covering of the bone or periosteum, serves to extend the blood supply to the bone. According to their shape, bones are classified as flat, irregular, long, and short. For depressions, openings, and cavities in bones SEE: antrum (nearly enclosed cavity); canal, fissure (slitlike opening); foramen (opening for blood vessels and nerves); fossa (concavity); groove; meatus (tubelike passage or opening; canal); sinus (air cavity within a bone; or groove lodging a blood sinus); sulcus (groove). For names of principal bones: SEE: skeletons.

Brain. (bran) [AS. braegenj.] A large soft mass of nerve tissue contained within the cranium. Cranial portion of the central nervous system. SYN: encephalon. PHYS: The brain is the primary center for regulating and coordinating body activities. Sensory impulses are received through afferent nerves; these register as sensations, which are the basis for perception. It is the seat of consciousness, thought, memory, reason, judgment, and emotion. Motor impulseses are discharged through efferent nerves to muscles and glands initiating activities. Through reflex centers automatic control of body activities is maintained. The most important reflex centers are the cardiac, vasomotor, and respiratory centers, which regulate circulation and respiration. SEE: central nervous system; spinal cord.


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Calcification. (kal-si-fi-ka-shun). Process in which organic tissue becomes hardened by the deposition of lime salts in the tissues.
c., arterial. Deposition of calcium in walls of arteries.
c., metastatic. Calcification of soft tissue with transference of calcium from bone, as in osteomalacia and disease of the parathyroid glands.
c., Monckeberg's. Calcium deposit, in the media of arteries. calcific tendinitis. Deposition of calcium in chronically inflamed tendon, esp. the tendons of the shoulder.

calcium (kal'se-um) [L. calx, lime]. SYMB: Ca. At. wt. 40-08; at. no: 20. Silver-white metallic element, a major component of limestone. Lime, CaO, is its oxide. Calcium phosphate constitutes 75% of body ash and about 85% of mineral matter in bones. SEE: calci-" words, : FUNCT: Calcium must be carried by the blood in solution in order to be available for bone growth and metabolism. Unless certain activating substances, such as vitamin D, are Present, increased calcium intake does not affect the tissues or blood calcium, The secretions of the parathyroid glands are a factor in the utilization of calcium, making it possible for the blood to carry dissolved calcium. Several factors influence absorption of calcium from -the gastrointestinal tract: quantities of bread, rice, oatmeal, and corn in the diet decrease absorption of calcium and phosphorus; and the normal alkalinity of the small intestines promotes the formation of insoluble calcium salts. Calcium is of great importance in blood coagulation; gives firmness and, rigidity to bones and teeth; is important in acid-base balance; is essential for lactation; is important in activating enzymes; is essential for the function of nerves and muscles, including the myocardium, and for maintaining the permeability of membranes. Calcium is taken into the body as a constituent of various foods. While much of it may prove insoluble and escape absorption, Some of it passes through the intestine into the blood, where it can be measured by chemical tests. Its level in the serum is normally 8.5 to 10.5 mg/dl. Low blood calcium causes tetany with muscular twitching, spasms, and convulsions. Blood deprived of its calcium will not clot and it is essential for the curdling of milk. Calcium is deposited in the bones but can be mobilized again to keep the blood level constant when there is a period of insufficient intake. At any given time the body of an adult contains about 700 gm of calcium Phosphate; of this, 120 gm are the element calcium. Ordinarily an adult takes in 0.8 gm of calcium per day. During pregnancy, 1.3 gm of calcium a day will be required. SOURCES: Excellent. Beans; cauliflower; chard; cheese; cream; egg yolk; kale; milk; molasses; rhubarb. Good: Almonds, beets; bran; cabbage; carrots; celery; chocolates; dates; figs; kohlrabi; lemons-, lettuce oranges; oysters; parsnips; pineapples; rasberries; rutabagas; shellfish; spinach; turnips, walnuts; watercress. DEFICIENCY: Symptoms are brittle bones, poor development of bones and teeth, dental caries, rickets, tetany, heart atony, hyperirritability, excessive bleeding. Laboratory error and variation may be the cause of inaccurate or inconsistent values in evaluating the calcium level. .

cartilage (karti-lij) [L. cartilago, gristle]. A specialized type of dense connective tissue consisting of cells embedded in a ground substance or matrix. The matrix is firm and compact, rendering it capable of withstanding considerable pressure or tension. Cartilage has a bluish-white or gray color and is semi-opaque; it has no nerve or blood supply of its own. The cells lie in cavities called lacunae. They may be single or in groups of two, three, or four.

Caplan's syndrome, [Anthony Caplan, Brit. physician, 1907 - 1976. Rheumatoid arthritis with progressive massive fibrosis of the lung in coal miners and in other pneumoconioses. SYN. rheumatoid pneumoconiosis.

carpal.[Gr. karpalis]. Pert. to the carpus or wrist.

carpale (kar-pale) [Gr. karpos]. Any wrist bone.

Carpal tunnel. The canal in the wrist bounded by osteofibrous material through which the flexor tendons and the median nerve pass.

carpal tunnel syndrome. Soreness, tenderness, and weakness of the muscles of the thumb caused by pressure on the median nerve at the point at which it goes through the carpal tunnel of the wrist. TREAT: Surgical relief of tension if conservative therapy fails.

Cartilage constitutes a part of the skeleton in adults, occurring in the costal cartilages of the ribs, the nasal septum, in the external ear and lining the eustachian tube, in the wall of the larynx, in the trachea and bronchi, between bodies of the vertebrae, and covering the articular surfaces of bones. It forms the major portion of the embryonic skeleton, providing a model in which most bones develop.
c., articular. Hyaline cartilage covering the articular surfaces of bones.
c., costal. Cartilage connecting the true ribs and the sternum.
c., fibrous. Cartilage containing visible collagenic fibers. SYN: fibrocartilage.
c., semilunar. One of the interarticular cartilages of the knee joint.