Chapter 4: THE LANGUAGE OF THE HEALTH-CARE PROFESSIONS
Chapter 4
The Language of the Health-Care Professions


From R. C. Schafer, DC, PhD, FICC's best-selling book:

“The Chiropractic Assistant”

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The Universal Language of HealthCare: Why It Is Necessary
  Phonetics: The Quick Way to Grasp Meanings
  How the Words Are Formed
  Common Latin and Greek Word Roots
  Common Latin and Greek Prefixes
  Common Latin and Greek Suffixes
  Singulars and Plurals
  Traditional Style
  Modern Style

Common Anatomical Terms
  Terms of Patient Position
  Terms of Direction and Location
  The Planes of the Body in Biodynamics
  Structural Motion
  Describing Positions in Space
  Axes
  Linear and Circular Motion
  Degrees of Joint Movement Freedom
  Combined Movements
  Plane Motion
  The Instantaneous Axis of Rotation
  Out-of-Plane Motion
  Terms of Motion

Common Diagnostic and Procedural Terms
  Background Review
  Terminology


Chapter 4: The Language of the Health-Care Professions

When more than one person is involved in any task, good communication is basic for success. Thus, a sound foundation in chiropractic terminology is an important functional skill to be possessed by any chiropractic assistant. It is a requisite to becoming an important asset to the office.

If a CA’s duties include taking dictation of case histories, examination findings, or narrative reports, she must know how to record scientific terms in shorthand and know how to spell them accurately. A good medical dictionary will be an important reference. Even if dictation is not required, she still must know what the doctor means when certain terms are used. He will expect his assistants to have a fundamental grasp of commonly used medical terms, abbreviations, and acronyms.

Do not enter this study lightly. On the other hand, do not let yourself be appalled by the formidable and specialized vocabulary used in health care. The learning of professional terms will not come overnight. It will extend the entire length of your career as new and unfamiliar words are confronted.


     THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE OF HEALTH CARE: WHY IT IS NECESSARY

It would not be unusual if you found many words used in the first three chapters of this program strange or at least unknown. When you undertake the transposition from lay person to chiropractic assistant, you are faced with an entirely new language that must be mastered so the transition be successful. The most efficient method to accomplish this is by securing an understanding of basic word roots, prefixes, and suffixes used in the formation of technical words and gaining an understanding of the meaning of commonly used abbreviations and acronyms. Study and repetitive use is the way to mastery.

A fundamental knowledge of anatomy (structure) and physiology (function) will be of great assistance in learning terminology. A basic understanding of human anatomy and physiology is offered in the following chapter. This chapter will prepare you for the terminology of those and other clinical subjects. While professional terms may at first seem strange, you will see their purpose in this and following chapters.


      PHONETICS: THE QUICK WAY TO GRASP MEANINGS

In studying the terminology of any science as in learning any language, phonetics or word sound plays an important role. While you will never need to know how to spell or pronounce every word in your reference dictionary, you will be required to be familiar with common terms and know where and how to look up unfamiliar terms. Phonetics and an understanding of prefixes and suffixes will be helpful, if not necessary, to do this.

There are two simple rules for correct pronunciation of scientific terms. They are based on the syllable breakdown of the word and the occurrence of vowels (a, e, i, o, u):

  1. If the vowel is not followed by a consonant in the same syllable, it has the long sound; eg, the word abdomen (ab-do-men). Here the “o” in “do” has the long low sound.

  2. If the vowel is followed by a consonant in the same syllable, it has the short sound; eg, the word abdominal (ab-dom-i-nal). Here the “o” in “dom” has the short higher sound as in “Tom.”


      HOW THE WORDS ARE FORMED

As chiropractic vocabulary is studied, the student will find it made largely of many variations of various roots, prefixes, and suffixes in different combinations. Thus the number of word parts necessary to learn is not so great as one would suspect.

Most technical words used in chiropractic terminology come from the root languages (Greek and Latin). Some are pure translations; others are combined forms of Greek and Latin. While the number of English words is enlarging, prefixes and suffixes usually remain Greek or Latin.

Besides Greek and Latin, other languages have had their influence. Words such as alcohol, alkali, camphor, and tartar are derived from Arabic. Many simple anatomical terms such as arm, back, bladder, blood, finger, foot, gut, hair, hand, knee, liver, lung, mouth, neck, ache, fat, and sick are Anglo-Saxon in origin. Other monosyllable terms such as ill, leg, and skin are of Scandinavian descent. Words such as chancre, cretin, fontanelle, grippe, malaise, poison, role, cul de sac, grand and petite mal and tic douloureux come from the French, as do such Americanized terms as goiter, gout, malinger, jaundice, ointment, and physician. Some examples of Greek-French terms are surgeon, plaster, migraine, and palsy. From the Italian we have gained the words influenza and malaria, and from the Dutch, cough, litmus, and splint. The Germans, Persians, Chinese, and Spanish also have contributed their share.

It is not unusual for a student new to health science terminology to recoil in fright when confronted with a term such as hemangioendothelioblastoma. But once the roots, prefixes, and suffixes making such compounds are learned, what seems at first impression to be unintelligible soon becomes quite clear.

For this reason, commonly used prefixes, suffixes, and word elements should be studied diligently. The first step is to break a compound term into its parts. For example, view the example given above as

hem + angio + endothelio + blast + oma

This aid spelling, pronunciation, and remembering. Once the definitions of these units are known, the meaning of the compound word is understood.

    hem        – blood
    angio      – vessel
    endothelio – endothelium
    blast      – primitive cell (or, germ call)
    oma        – tumor

Thus, Hemangioendothelioblastoma translates as:

a primitive cell tumor located in the endothelium of a blood vessel:


Other examples of how words are made and their literal meanings are cardiogram, meaning tracing of heart action, from cardio (heart) + gram (picture); colitis, meaning inflammation of the lower intestine, from col (colon) + itis (inflammation); and leukocytes, meaning white blood cells, from leuko (white) + cytes (cells).



      COMMON LATIN AND GREEK WORD ROOTS

Table 4.1 lists many common Latin and Greek roots used in chiropractic terminology. Some word elements are frequently placed before other word elements as prefixes or after other elements as suffixes. For euphony, a vowel or a consonant is sometimes added to or subtracted from word elements in combination.

Refer to Table 4.1. The root is given first; then a brief definition follows.

Note:   Because of the length of the following table,
you may want to jump to the next section:


Common Latin and Greek Prefixes



Table 4.1. Common Latin and Greek Roots

  A
Root Definition

abdominus

abdomen

acantha

spine

acousia

hearing

acro

extremity

actin

ray

acuo

sharp, sudden

aden

gland

adeps

fat

adit

entrance, approach

aer

air

ala

wing

alba

white

alex

to protect

algia

pain

ama

together

ana

to build up

andro

man

anglo

vessel

anima

soul

ankylo

loop, adherence

anom

irregular

ansa

handle

antero

before

anthrop

man

antrum

cavity

anulus

circular

aqua

water

arche

beginning

archo

anus

arcus

bow, arc

arthro

joint

articulus

joint

astro

star

atmo

vapor, air

atrophy

a wasting away

audio

to hear

auris

the ear

auto

self

  B
Root Definition

bacter

rod

baro

weight

bary

heavy

basis

foundation

bilis

bile

blos

life

blast

germ

bovine

cow, ox

brachlon

arm

brachium

arm

brachy

short

brady

slow

brevis

short

bromos

stench

bronchus

bronchial tube

bubon

groin

bursa

sac, pouch

  C
Root Definition

caco

bad, poor, sick

calor

heat

caput

head

cardio

heart

carno

flesh

cartilago

gristle

cata

down

cauda

tail

cavum

cavity

cele

hernia

celia

abdomen

entesis

puncture

cephal

head

chir(o)

hand

chole

bile

chondra

cartilage

chroma

color

chyle

juice

cide

to kill

clast

breaking down

color

hew

colp

vagina

cor

heart

corpus

body

costa

rib, side

crico

ring

erotic

pulsation

crucis

the cross

crus

leg

crux

the cross

cry

cold

crypt

hidden

cutis

skin

cyano

blue

cyna

dog

cyte

cell

  D
Root Definition

dacry

tear

dactyl

finger

deca

ten

demo

people

dens

tooth

derma

skin

dexia

on the right

dexter

right

digit

finger, toe

diplo

double

dolor

pain

durus

hard, lasting

dynia

ache, pain

dys

difficult, painful

  E
Root Definition

ectasis

dilatation of

ecto

without, outside

ectopy

displacement of

embryo

to grow within

emia

blood

endo

within

ensis

sword

entero

intestine

equus

equal

erythro

red

esthesia

feeling, touch

eu

good, healthy

exo

outside, without

  F
Root Definition

febris

fever

femina

woman

Fibra

fiber

fila

thread

flex

bend

  G
Root Definition

galactia

milk

gastr

the stomach

gen

to beget

genu

knee

germen

germ, sprig

gingiva

the gum(s)

glossa

tongue, speech

glyco

sugar

graph

to write, record

gravi

weighty, serious

gyne

woman, female

gyros

circle

  H
Root Definition

hala

breath, air

helio

the sun

hema

blood

hepat

the liver

heter

other, different

hidro

perspiration

histo

tissue

homo

like, same

humerus

shoulder

hydro

water

hygea

health

hypno

sleep

hyster

womb

  I
Root Definition

icthy

fish

idio

self

ileum

distal small intestine

ilium

hip bone

intestinum

intestine, entrail

ipso

same

iso

equal

  J
Root Definition

jecur

liver

juxta

near

  K
Root Definition

keras

horn, cornea

kine

motion

  L
Root Definition

lachryma

tear

lact

milk

later

side

lati

broad

lave

wash

lepid

scale, scaly

lepsy

spasm, seizure

leuko

white

lexia

word

lien

the spleen

lingua

tongue

lipa

fat

lith

stone, calculus

logue

speech

luna

moon

lysis

to dissolve, breakdown

  M
Root Definition

macro

great, long

mal

bad, painful

malacia

softening

mamma

breast

mania

madness

mas

man, male

mast

breast

medicamentum

medicine

medio

middle

mega

large, great

megalo

large, great

melano

black

meno

month

mens

mind

mensis

month

mentis

mind

meso

middle

meta

between, after, beyond

meter

measure

metro

the uterus

micro

tiny, minute

mis

bad, poor, dislike

mono

single, alone, one

morbus

disease

mortis

death, dead

muco

mucus

multi

many

musculus

muscle

myelo

marrow

myo

muscle

  N
Root Definition

nano

dwarf

nasus

nose

natus

birth

necro

death

neo

new

nephr

kidney

nervus

nerve

neuro

nerve

nidus

nest

niger

black

nocte

night

nomen

name

naso

nose

nosto

to return, go

novus

new

nychia

fingernail, toenail

  O
Root Definition

ob

against, obstructive

odont

tooth

odor

smell

olig

little, sparse, few

omni

all

onoma

name

oophor

ovary

opthalma

the eye

ora

mouth

orch

testicle

ortho

straight, regular

os

mouth

osma

odor

osteo

bone

ot

ear

ovum

egg

  P
Root Definition

pachy

thick

paleo

old, ancient, past

pan

all

para

to bear

paries

wall

partum

to give birth to

path

disease, disorder

pedi

child

pedis

foot

penia

poverty, poorness

pexy

fixation

phagy

to eat

pharmac

medicine, drug

phil

to love

phleb

vein

phobia

morbid fear

phone

voice, sound

photo

light

phrasia

utterance, speech

phren

mind, head, skull

phylaxis

anti-infection

physi

nature

plasia

toform

pnea

to breathe, breath

pneumo

lung

podia

foot

polio

gray

poly

many, excessive

procto

anus

pseudo

false, mimic

psyche

mind, soul, spirit

pteryg

wing

ptya

sputum, salvia

pulmo

lung

pulsus

pulse, stroke, beat

puter

rotten, putrid

pyelo

trough, basin

pyo

pus

pyr

fire

pyreto

fever

  Q
Root Definition

quadri

four

  R
Root Definition

rachis

spine

ramus

branch

rar

thin, rare, sparse

ren

kidney

rheo

current

rhin

the nose

ruber

red

  S
Root Definition

salping

tube

salpinx

tube

sanguis

blood

sanitas

health

sapro

putrid

sarco

flesh

sarx

flesh

schist(o)

to separate, split

schiz

to divide, split

scler

hard

scopy

observation of

scota

darkness

sect

tocut

sial

saliva

sito

food

soma

body

somnus

sleep

spasm

seizure, convulsion

sphen

wedge

sphygma

pulse, throb

spina

spine

spiritus

spirit

splanchna

organ, viscus

spondy

vertebra, spine

squama

ascale

staphyl

grape

stasis

stopping, checking

stere

solid

steth

chest

stoma

mouth

stomach

unus

sudor

perspiration

super

over, abnormal

supra

above

  T
Root Definition

tachy

swift

tact

touch

tend

tendon

teno

tendon

testis

testicle

tetra

four

thana

death

thenia

strength, power

theo

god, deity

therapy

treatment

therm

heat, temperature

thorax

chest

thrombo

blood clot

thyro

shield, thyroid

tocia

childbirth

toco

childbirth

tonus

tone, sound

tricho

hair

trophy

nutrition, growth

  U
Root Definition

ula

gum

ultra

over, beyond, excess

uria

urine

uter

womb

  V
Root Definition

vas

vessel

ven(e)

vein

vertebra(l)

spine, backbone

  X
Root Definition

xanth

yellow

xero

dry

xylo

wood

  Z
Root Definition

zoo

animal

zymo

to ferment




COMMON LATIN AND GREEK PREFIXES

Table 4.2 lists common prefixes. Remember that a word element may be placed before or after another element or as the word denoting the meaning when used with another prefix or suffix. Also recall that a vowel or consonant is sometimes added or subtracted between combined word elements to obtain euphony. In Table 4.2, prefixes are shown in the left column followed by their common definition. Examples and their definitions are shown in the columns on the right.

Note:   Because of the length of the following table,
you may want to jump to the next section:


Common Latin and Greek Suffixes


Table 4.2.   Common Prefixes and Examples of Use

Prefix Meaning Example Definition

a-

without, not, absence of

achromia

without color

ab-

from, away from, negative

abduct

draw away from

abdomin-

abdomen

abdominoscopy

direct stomach inspection

acid-

sour

aciduric

pertaining to acidic urine

acro-

extremity, apex, extreme

acromegaly

extremity hyperplasia

acou-

hearing

acousma

auditory hallucination

actin-

ray, ray like

actinoid

resembling a ray

acr-

extremity

acromegaly

enlarged extremities

act-

do, drive, act

action

an act, deed, or performance

actin-

ray, radius

actinotherapy

therapy by light or x-rays

acu-

needle

acupoint

meridian point

ad-

to, toward, on, near, by

adoral

toward the mouth

aden-

gland, glandular

adenoma

gland tumor

aden(o)-

gland, glandular

adenodynia

ache in a gland

adip-

fat

adipocellular

pertaining to fatty cells

aer(o)-

air

aerophagia

swallowing of air

alb-

white

albinism

whiteness

all-

other, different

allergy

induced sensitivity

alve(o)-

cavity, socket, channel

alveoalgia

dry socket pain (eg, tooth)

ama-

together

amarthritis

multijoint arthritis

ambi-

both, around

ambivalence

simultaneous opposites

amph(i)-

both

amphibolia

period of doubtful diagnosis

amyl(o)-

starch

amylosuria

amylase in the urine

an-

without, not, absence of

anorexia

absence of appetite

ana-

up, back again, increase

anabolism

constructive metabolism

andro-

man, male

androphobia

morbid fear of males

angi(o)-

vessel (blood)

angiolith

stone in a blood vessel wall

anima-

life, spirit, soul

animate

to quicken, make alive

ankyl(o)-

loop, bend, adherence

ankylosed

joint immobility, consolidation

anomalo-

irregular

anomalotrophy

abnormality of nutrition

ante-

before in time or place

antepartum

before delivery (childbirth)

anter-

before, front

anteriorly

toward the front

anthrop-

man, mankind,

anthropoid

resembling man, ape

ant(i)-

against, counter

antidote

against poison

antr-

cavern

antrodynia

pain from a cavity or viscus

apo-

separation, away from

apophysis

bone outgrowth or projection

aqua-

water

aquatic

inhabitant of water

arch-

beginning

archetype

original model or pattern

archi-

first

archineuron

first nerve starting an impulse

arch(o)-

rectum

archoptoma

prolapsed portion of rectum

arthr(o)-

joint, articulation

arthritis

inflammation of joint(s)

articu-

joint

articulation

union/junction between bones

astro-

star

astrocyte

star-shaped cell

atmo-

vapor, air, breath

atmosphere

mass of surrounding air

audi(o)-

to hear

auditory

pertaining to hearing

auri-

the ear

auriform

ear shaped

auto-

self

autotoxin

self-made organic poison

  B
Prefix Meaning Example Definition

bacter-

rod

bacteria

rod-shaped microorganisms

baro-

weight

barograph

air weight or pressure chart

bary-

heavy

baryglossia

thick speech

basi-

base, lower part

basilar

pertaining to the foundation

bi-

two, twice, double

biceps

muscle with two heads

bili-

bile

bilirubin

ruby-colored bile pigment

bio-

life

biology

science of life

blast-

germ

blastolysis

destruction of germ substance

bovin-

cow, ox

bovinoid

resembling a cow or an ox

brachi-

arm

brachialgia

severe arm pain or ache

brachy-

short

brachydactyly

short fingers and toes

brady-

slow

bradycardia

abnormally slow heart beat

brevi-

short

breviflexor

any short flexor muscle

bromo-

stench, foul odor

bromopnea

foul breath, halitosis

bronch-

bronchial tubes

bronchitis

bronchial inflammation

bubon-

groin

bubonalgia

pain or ache in the groin

burs-

sac, pouch

bursitis

inflammation of a bursa

  C
Prefix Meaning Example Definition

caco-

bad, ill

cacogeusia

a bad or poor taste

calor-

heat

calorie

a unit of heat measurement

capi-

head

capitate

head shaped

cardio-

heart

cardiostenosis

narrowing of heart chambers

carni-

flesh

carnivora

flesh-eating animals

cata-

down, lower, under

catarrh

a down-flow of mucus

caud-

tail, tail like

caudate

having a tail

cephal-

head

encephalitis

brain inflammation

cervic-

neck

cervicitis

inflammation of the cervix

chondra-

cartilage, gristle

chondralgia

pain in a cartilage

chromat-

color

chromatology

science of color

chylo-

juice

hylothorax

effused chyle in the chest

circum-

around, about

circumduction

circular movement of extremity

co-

together, with

coalesce

grow together

com-

together, with

combination

a united set of things

con-

together, with

congenital

existing since birth

contra-

against, counter, opposite

contraception

against conception, pregnation

cor-

heart

cordiform

heart shaped

crico-

ring

cricoid

resembling a ring

cry-

cold

cryesthesia

anesthesia produced by cold

crypt-

hidden

cryptorchidism

undescended testicle

cut-

skin

cutitis

inflammation of the skin

cyan-

blue

cyanosis

bluish skin

cyn-

dog

cynophobia

morbid fear of dogs

cyto-

cell

cytopenia

poverty of blood cells

  D
Prefix Meaning Example Definition

dacry(o)-

tear

dacryorrhea

excessive tear discharge

dactyl-

finger

dactylogram

fingerprint

de-

down, away from, removal

demote

lower in rank, class, or grade

deca-

ten

decameter

ten meters

deci-

one-tenth

decimeter

one-tenth of a meter

demo-

people

demotic

pertaining to people

dent-

tooth

dentoid

resembling a tooth

dermat-

skin

dermatitis

skin inflammation

dexio-

on or toward right side

dexiotropic

curving from left to right

dextro-

right

dextromanual

right-handed

di-

double, twice

dicrotic

double pulse beat

dia-

through, apart, between

dialysis

passing through a membrane

digi-

finger, toe

digital

pertaining to a finger or toe

diplo-

double, twin

diplopia

double vision

dis-

apart, away from

disease

no ease, away from ease

dolor-

pain

dolorous

painful, expressing pain

dors-

back, toward the back

dorsal

pertaining to the back

dura-

hard, solid, compact

dura mater

outermost tough meninges

dys-

difficult, bad, painful

dysmenorrhea

painful menstruation

  E
Prefix Meaning Example Definition

ec-

out of, from

eccentric

away from normal or average

ect(o)-

outside of, without

ectoderm

external layer of skin

electro-

electric

electrotherapy

therapy by electric current

en-

in, within

encephalia

within the skull

end(o)-

within, in

endogastric

within the stomach

ensi-

sword

ensiform

sword shaped

enter(o)-

intestine

enteritis

intestinal inflammation

ento-

within, inner

entocyte

contents within the cell

epi-

on, over, upon

epicondyle

bony prominence on a condyle

equi-

equal

equilibrium

equally balanced

erythro-

red

erythrocyte

red blood cell

esthesio-

touch, sensation, feeling

esthesiogenic

producing sensation

eu-

good, well, pleasant

euphoria

state of joy or well being

evi-

egg

oviduct

Fallopian duct (egg canal)

ex-

away from, out, outside

excentric

away from the center

exo-

outside, out, without

exocardial

external to the heart

extra-

outside of, beyond

extraspinal

apart from the spine

  F
Prefix Meaning Example Definition

febri-

fever

febriphobia

morbid fear of catching a fever

fil-

thread

filiform

thread-like shape or character

flex-

bend

flexure

curvature, bend of a part

  G
Prefix Meaning Example Definition

galact-

milk

galactose

milk sugar

gastr-

stomach

gastritis

inflammation of stomach lining

gen-

to give birth to, beget

genetics

science of heredity

germi-

germ, sprig

germicidal

destructive to germs

gingi-

the gum

gingivitis

inflammation of the gums

gloss(o)-

tongue

glossolysis

paralysis of the tongue

glyco-

sugar

glycopenia

deficiency of sugar

gravi-

weight, serious, heavy

gravid

pregnant, heavy with child

gyn-

woman, female

gynecology

study of female diseases

gyr-

circle

gyrospasm

spasmotic rotary head motions

  H
Prefix Meaning Example Definition

hali-

breath, air

halitus

an exhaled breath

helio-

the sun

heliotherapy

treatment by sun rays

hem-

blood

hemorrhage

gushing forth of blood

hemi-

half

hemiparesis

paralysis of half the body

hepat-

the liver

hepatitis

inflammation of the liver

hetero-

other, different

heterochromic

composed of various colors

hidro-

sweat

hidrosis

perspiration

hist(o)-

tissue

histolysis

destruction of tissue

homo-

same, like

homogenesis

of same character throughout

humer-

shoulder

humeral

relating to the shoulder

hydro-

water, fluid

hydrothorax

fluid in the chest cavity

hyper-

over, beyond, excess

hyperostosis

overgrowth of bone

hypno-

sleep

hypnosis

sleep-resembling state

hypo-

under, deficiency

hypoplasia

incomplete growth

hyster-

womb, uterus

hysterectomy

surgical removal of the uterus

  I
Prefix Meaning Example Definition

icthy-

fish

icthyderm

scaly (fish-like) skin

idio-

self

idioneurosis

neurosis arising from nerves

ileo-

ileum

ileocecal

pertaining to ileum and cecum

ilio-

ilium, flank

iliospinal

relating to ilium and spine

im-

not

impermeable

unable to be permeated

in-

within, into, not

incise

to cut into

infra-

beneath, below

inframandibular

below the jaw

ino-

fiber, tendon

inopolypus

a fibrous polyp

inter-

between, among

intercostal

between the ribs

intestin-

entrail, intestine

intestinotoxin

interotoxin

intra-

within, into

intraspinal

within the spine

intro-

into, in, inward

introspect

to look within

ipsi-

same

ipsilateral

on the same side

iso-

equal

isotonic

of the same or uniform tone

  J
Prefix Meaning Example Definition

jeco-

liver

jecoral

relating to the liver

juxta-

near, nearby, close to

juxtaspinal

near the spine

  K
Prefix Meaning Example Definition

kerat-

horn, horny

cornea

similar to a horn

kinesi-

motion

kinesiology

study of motion

  L
Prefix Meaning Example Definition

lachry-

tear

lachrymose

tearful, saddening, weeping

lact-

milk

lactose

milk sugar

later(o)-

side

lateroflexion

bending to the side

lati-

broad

latissimus

a broad muscle

lav-

wash

lavipedium

foot bath

lepid-

scale, scaly, fish-like

lepidosis

skin resembling that of a fish

leuko-

white

leukocyte

white blood cell

levo-

left, to the left

levorotation

turning to the left

lexi-

word

lexical

pertaining to the vocabulary

lien-

the spleen

lienocele

splenic hernia

lingu-

tongue

linguiform

tongue shaped

lip(o)-

fat

lipoma

fatty tumor

litho-

stone, calculus

lithotripsy

crushing of stones in bladder

luna-

moon

lunate

moon shaped

  M
Prefix Meaning Example Definition

macro-

long, great, large

macrosis

increase in size, bulk, length

mal-

bad, painful, poor

malnutrition

poor nutrition

mamm-

breast

mammectomy

breast amputation

mas-

man, male

masculation

development of male features

mast-

breast

mastitis

inflammation of mammary gland

medi-

medicine

medicator

one who administers drugs

medi(o)-

mid, middle

mediolateral

relating to the center and side

mega-

large, great

megalosplenic

enlarged spleen

melan(o)-

black, ebony

melanocarcinoma

a black cancer

meno-

month

menopause

cessation of monthly menses

ment-

mind

mentality

mental power

mens-

month

menstruation

monthly discharge of menses

meso-

middle

mesocephalic

medium-sized head

meta-

beyond, change, between

metastasis

transition, going more

metro-

uterus

metroscope

intrauterine inspection device

micro-

small, minute

microorganism

organism invisible to naked eye

mis-

bad, dislike

misopedia

dislike of children

mono-

one, single, alone

monochromatic

of one color

morbi-

disease

morbific

disease producing

muco-

mucus

mucumembraneous

having a mucous membrane

multi-

many

multipara

woman having many children

musculo-

muscle

musculophrenic

pertaining to diaphragm muscle

myelo-

marrow

myelomalacia

softening of bone marrow

my(o)-

muscle

myotonia

muscle tone

  N
Prefix Meaning Example Definition

nano-

dwarf

nanocephalous

dwarf-like cranium

nas-

nose

nasoseptitis

inflammation of nasal septum

necro-

death

necrosis

death of a part or tissue

neo-

new

neoplasm

new tissue formation, growth

nephr-

kidney

nephralgia

kidney pain

nervi-

nerve

nervimotor

pertaining to a motor nerve

neuro-

nerve

neurocyte

nerve cell

noct-

night

noctambulism

sleep walking

nomen-

name

nomenclature

classification by name

non-

not, anti, against

nonstriated

without striations

noso-

disease

nosogenesis

the progression of disease

nost

home, to go, to return

nostalgia

homesickness

nov-

new

novice

newcomer

  O
Prefix Meaning Example Definition

ob-

against, in the way of

obdurate

stubborn

odont-

tooth

odontotechny

dentistry

olig-

little, few

oligocholia

insufficient bile

om-

shoulder

omarthritis

shoulder arthritis

omni-

all

omnifarious

of all types, classes, or kinds

onom-

name

onomatology

the study of names

oophor-

ovary

oophoritis

inflammation of an ovary

ophthalm-

the eye

ophthalmopathy

disease of the eye

opistho-

backward, behind

opisthoporeia

involuntary walking backward

orch-

testicle

orchiocele

hernia of the testicle

ortho-

regular, normal, straight

orthotonic

correct tone

ora-

mouth

orad

toward the mouth

oste(o)-

bone

osteomyelon

bone marrow

ot-

ear

otalgia

earache

  P
Prefix Meaning Example Definition

pachy-

thick

pachyemia

thick blood

paleo-

old, ancient

paleogenetic

originated long ago

pan-

all, every

pandemic

widespread epidemic

para-

near, by the side of

parallel

side by side

pariet-

wall

parietal

pertaining to wall of a cavity

partu-

give birth to, bring forth

partuition

child bearing

path-

disease

pathology

the study of disease

ped-

child

pediatrics

science of childhood diseases

pedi-

foot

pediferous

having feet

per-

through, throughout

percussion

to strike through

peri-

around

pericanalicular

around a canal

phago-

to eat

phagocyte

cell that ingests bacteria

pharm-

medicine, drug

pharmacotherapy

treatment by medication

phleb-

vein

phlebitis

inflammation of vein lining

phon-

sound, voice

phonetic

relating to the voice

photo-

light

photophobia

fear of light

phren-

mind, head

phrenopathy

any mental disease

physi-

nature

physiotherapy

treatment by natural forces

pleuro-

side, rib

pleurocentrum

lateral part of the spine

pluri-

more, several

plurimenorrhea

increased menstrual frequency

pneumo-

lung

pneumopathy

any lung disease

pod-

foot

podarthritis

arthritis of the foot

polio-

gray

poliosis

premature gray hair

poly-

many, excessive

polyuria

frequent urination

post-

after, behind, late

posttherapy

after treatment

pre-

before, front of, early

prenatal

before birth or delivery

pro-

affirmative, according to

procreate

to generate

proct(o)-

rectum

protocele

rectal hernia

proto-

first

protoplasm

early form of living matter

pseudo-

false

pseudocyesis

false pregnancy

psych-

mind, soul, spirit

psychogenic

originating in the mind

pteryg-

wing

pterygoid

resembling a wing, wing shaped

ptya-

sputum, saliva

ptyalism

excessive flow of saliva

pulmo-

lung

pulmonary

relating to a lung

puls-

pulse, stroke, beat

pulsation

throbbing or rhythmical beat

putre-

putrid, rotten, decayed

putrefactive

relating to decomposition

pyelo-

trough, basin

pyelogram

kidney x-ray film

pykn-

thick, compact, frequent

pyknic

short, thick, stocky build

pyo-

pus

pyomyositis

purulent muscle inflammation

pyro-

fire, fever

pyrogenetic

fire or fever producing

pyreto-

fever

pyretograph

fever chart

  Q
Prefix Meaning Example Definition

quadri-

four

quadrifid

separated into four parts

  R
Prefix Meaning Example Definition

rach-

spine

rachioplegia

spinal paralysis

rami-

branch

ramiform

branch like, tree shaped

rar-

thin, rare, sparse

rarefaction

making thinner, less dense

re-

again, back, against

recreation

to create again, restore

reni-

kidney

renipuncture

surgical kidney puncture

retro-

behind, back, backward

retroflexed

bent backward

rhin-

the nose

rhinitis

nasal inflammation

rubi-

red

rubicund

blushing, red like

  S
Prefix Meaning Example Definition

salping-

tube

salpingitis

inflammation of fallopian tube

sangui-

blood

sanguinary

bloody

sanit-

health

sanitarian

a hygienist

sapro-

putrid

saprogenic

producing decay

sarco-

flesh

sarcoma

connective-tissue cancer

schiz-

to divide, split, fissure

schizophrenia

split personality

scler-

hard, indurated

sclerosis

condition of hardening

scoto-

darkness

scotophobia

fear of the dark

sect-

to cut

sectile

able to be cut

semi-

half

semilunar

half-moon shape

sero-

serum

serous

watery, serum like

sial-

saliva

sialochesis

salivary flow suppression

sit-

food

sitology

study of food, nutrition

soma-

body

somatic

pertaining to the body

somni-

sleep

somnipathy

any sleep disorder

spasmo-

seizure, convulsion

spasmodyspnea

difficult or jerky breathing

sphen-

wedge

sphenoid

wedge shaped

sphygmo-

pulse

sphygometer

pulse-measuring instrument

spino-

spine

spinograph

spinal x-ray film

spondylo-

vertebra, spine

spondylosis

degeneration of vertebrae

squamo-

a scale

squamoid

scale like, resembling a scale

steno-

contracted, narrow

stenocoriasis

pupil contraction

stereo-

solid

stereodynamics

motion of solid bodies

steth-

chest

stethoscope

chest examination device

stomat-

mouth

stomatitis

inflammation of the mouth

sub-

less, under, below

subcutaneous

under the skin

sudor-

perspiration

sudorific

causing sweat

super-

over, above, excessive

supercilia

above the eyelid or eyebrow

supra-

above, upon, on

supraorbital

above the eye socket

sym-

together, with

symbiotic

living together

syn-

together, with

syndactylism

webbed fingers or toes

  T
Prefix Meaning Example Definition

tachy-

swift, fast, rapid

tachycardia

abnormally rapid heart beat

tact-

touch, sensation

tactile

pertaining to touch

tend-

tendon

tendotomy

surgical cutting of a tendon

test-

testicle

testitis

inflammation of a testicle

tetra-

four

tetragenous

separated into four parts

thana-

death

thanology

the study of death

theo-

god, deity

theomania

fanaticism

thera-

to heal, treat

therapeutics

the science and art of healing

thermo-

temperature, heat

thermometer

heat-measuring instrument

thoraco-

chest

thoracodynia

chest ache

thrombo-

blood clot

thrombostasis

circulation stopped by clot

thyro-

shield

thyroid

resembling a shield

toco-

childbirth

tocology

obstetrics

topo-

place, location, site

topographic

describing a specific area

tox-

poison

toxemia

intoxication

toxi-

poison

toxipathy

toxicosis (poisoning)

toxic(o)-

poison

toxicogenic

producing toxins

toxo-

poison

toxophilic

highly susceptible to poison

trans-

across, through

transudate

fluid seeping thru membrane

tri-

three, thrice

triad

group of three

tricho-

hair

trichopathy

a disease of or involving hair

  U
Prefix Meaning Example Definition

ul-

gum

ulatrophy

shrinking of gum tissue

ultra-

over, excess, beyond

ultramarine

beyond the sea

un-

not

unconscious

not conscious

ungu-

nail

ungual

relating to body’s nails

uni-

one

unilateral

one sided, on one side

utero-

womb

uteroplasty

repair of the uterus

  V
Prefix Meaning Example Definition

vaso-

vessel

vasoparesis

vasomotor paralysis

veni-

vein

veniplex

a venous plexus

ventro-

front, anterior

ventroptosis

falling abdomen

vertebr-

vertebra, spine

vertebrarium

vertebral column

vesic-

blister, bladder

vesicocele

hernia of the bladder

  X
Prefix Meaning Example Definition

xanth-

yellow

xanthodont

yellowish teeth

xero-

dry

xerosis

abnormal dryness

  Z
Prefix Meaning Example Definition

zoo-

animal

zoology

the study of animals

zymo-

to ferment

zymogenic

producing fermentation




      COMMON LATIN AND GREEK SUFFIXES

Table 4.3 lists common Latin and Greek suffixes used in health science terminology. Such word elements are not commonly used before other word elements as prefixes. However, when they are, for euphony, a vowel or a consonant is sometimes added or subtracted between word elements in combination. In Table 4.4, the suffix is given first, followed by its most common definition.

Note:   Because of the length of the following table,
you may want to jump to the next section:


Singulars and Plurals


Table 4.3.   Common Suffixes and Definitions

Suffix Definition

-acusis

hearing

-age

to move

-agogue

inducing

-agra

catching, seizure

-al

characterized by

-algia

pain, ache

-ase

enzyme

-atrics

the practice of

  C
Suffix Definition

-cele

swelling, tumor, hernia

-cian

one who

-cide

causing death, killer

-cle

little

-cocle

chamber, ventricle

-cosis

condition or state of

-cule

little

-cyst

bladder, bag

-cyte

cell

  E
Suffix Definition

-ectomy

excision, surgical removal

-emia

blood

-en

in, into

-ence

condition, state of being

  F
Suffix Definition

-form

resembling, like, same

-fuge

driving away

  G
Suffix Definition

-genic

origin, producing

-genetic

origin, producing

-gram

tracing, picture

-graph

record, chart

  I
Suffix Definition

-iasis

condition of

-ic

pertaining to, relating to

-ical

pertaining to, relating to

-icosis

condition or state of

-itis

inflammation

  K
Suffix Definition

-kinesis

motion, movement

-kinetic

motion, dynamic

  L
Suffix Definition

-logy

study of, science of

-lysis

setting free

  M
Suffix Definition

-malacia

softening

-meter

measure

  O
Suffix Definition

-odynia

pain, ache

-oid

like, resembling

-ology

study of, science of

-oma

tumor, neoplasm

-osis

condition, state, process

-ostomy

opening into for drainage

-otomy

to cut into, incise

-ous

full of

  P
Suffix Definition

-pathy

disease of, feeling

-plasty

repair

-penia

lack or poverty of

-peutics

science of

-phage

consuming, eating

-plastic

molded

-plegia

paralysis

-practic

the practice of or by

-ptosis

falling, prolapse

  R
Suffix Definition

-raphy

suture of

-rrhagia

sudden flow

-rrhea

discharge, flow

-rrhexia

rupture of

  S
Suffix Definition

-scopy

direct examination of

-stomy

opening

  T
Suffix Definition

-tomy

incision of, cut

-trophy

nutrition

-tropy

a turning

  U
Suffix Definition

-uria

urine

  Z
Suffix Definition

-zyme

ferment




      SINGULARS AND PLURALS

Traditional Style

Table 4.4 lists common word endings in singulars and plurals despite root. While there are some exceptions, this guide can be considered generally true in traditional health science usage.

Table 4.5 shows examples of common Greek and Latin singular and plural forms. Basic principles can be learned from a review of this list that will help CAs apply the correct form.


Note:   Because of the length of the following tables,
you may want to jump to the next section:


Modern Style


Table 4.4.   Greek and Latin Singular and Pleural Word Endings

Singular Word Ending Pleural Word Ending Singular Word Example Pleural Word Example

a

ae

bursa

bursae

ad

ades

gonad

gonades

cus

cera

viscus

viscera

er

era

cadaver

cadavera

ex, ix

ices

apex

apices

ia

es

esthesia

estheses

is

es

axis

axes

is

ides

ascaris

ascarides

ma

mata

adenoma

adenomata

men

mina

sudamen

sudamina

s

sa

vas

vasa

s

des

glans

glandes

s

tes

albacans

albacantes

sis

ses

diagnosis

diagnoses

u

ua

cornu

cornua

um

a

bacterium

bacteria

um

i

dorsum

dorsi

us

i

bacillus

bacilli

us

ora

corpus

corpora

x

a

nox

noxa




Table 4.5.   Table 4.5. Examples of Traditional
Greek and Latin Singular and Plurals


  A
Singular Plural

addendum

addenda

aden

adena

adenoma

adenomata

ala

alae

albacans

albacantes

amygdala

amygdalae

antenna

antennae

antiad

antiades

antrum

antra

apertura

aperturae

apex

apices

aponeurosis

aponeuroses

appendix

appendices

aqua

aquae

arcus

arcus

ascaris

ascarides

ascus

asci

atrium

atria

axis

axes

  B
Root Definition

bacillus

bacilli

bacterium

bacteria

bronchus

bronchi

bulla

bullae

bursa

bursae

  C
Root Definition

cactus

cacti

cadaver

cadavera

calcaneum

calcanea

calculus

calculi

calls

calices

cantharis

cantharides

canthus

canthi

cornu

cornua

corpus

corpora

crisis

crises

cuniculus

cuniculi

  D
Root Definition

dens

dentes

diagnosis

diagnoses

diaphoreticus

diaphoretici

diastema

diastemata

digitus

digiti

dorsum

dorsi

  E
Root Definition

echolatus

echolati

enema

enemata

ensis

enses

epididymis

epididymides

esthesia

estheses

  F
Root Definition

fibroma

fibromata

filix

filices

filum

fila

flagellum

flagella

focus

foci

fornix

fornices

fossa

fossae

  G
Root Definition

glans

glandes

gonad

gonades

gonococcus

gonococci

gyrus

gyri

  I
Root Definition

ilium

ilia

index

indices

  K
Root Definition

keratosis

keratoses

  L
Root Definition

labium

labia

lamina

laminae

loculus

loculi

locus

loci

  M
Root Definition

medium

media

mucosa

mucosae

  N
Root Definition

nodus

nodi

nox

noxa

  O
Root Definition

os

ora

ovum

ova

  P
Root Definition

papilla

papillae

pathema

pathemata

pes

pedes

petechia

petechiae

pilula

pilulae

polypus

polypi

  R
Root Definition

ramus

rami

  S
Root Definition

septum

septa

sequestrum

sequestra

serosa

serosae

spasmus

spasmi

spectrum

spectra

speculum

specula

stoma

stomata

sudamen

sudamina

sulcus

sulci

  T
Root Definition

tarsus

tarsi

tela

telae

tinctura

tincturae

toxicosis

toxicoses

typha

typhae

  U
Root Definition

ulcus

ulcera

  V
Root Definition

varix

varices

vas

vasa

vesicule

vesiculae

vis

vires

viscus

viscera

vomica

vomicae

  Z
Root Definition

zygoma

zygomata




Modern Style

The examples given in Tables 4.4 and 4.5 depict traditional usage. However, everything is subject to change. For example, we see with increasing frequency in modern writings that singular word endings of “a” are pluralized by adding the common “s” rather than the traditional “ae” (eg, antennas rather than antennae). In singular words ending in “ma,” we see editors also using the common “s” rather than the traditional “mata” (eg, adenoma rather than adenomata). In the singular words ending in “ad,” use of the common “s” is replacing the traditional “ades” (eg, gonads rather than gonades). Whichever form is used, consistency is the important consideration. Some examples are shown below:


Traditional     Traditional     Modern
Singular        Plural          Plural     
antenna         antennae        antennas
bursa           bursae          bursas
fossa           fossae          fossas
lamina          laminae         laminas
adenoma         adenomata       adenomas
enema           enemata         enemas
fibroma         fibromata       fibromas
gonad           gonades         gonads
Monad           monades         monads


     COMMON ANATOMICAL TERMS

Terms of position, direction, and location are commonly used in reference to body parts. Following are some examples.

Terms of Patient Position

Adams position.   Standing with the heels together, the knees locked, and the spine fully flexed forward.

Anatomical position.   Standing erect with the arms at the sides and the palms of the hands facing forward. The anatomical position is the position of reference when terms of direction and location are used.

Antalgic position.   Any physical attitude assumed to gain some relief of pain.

Knee-chest position.   Resting on the knees and upper chest (also called the genupectoral position).

Knee-elbow position.   Resting on the knees and elbows (also called the genucubital position).

Lateral recumbent position.   Lying on either the right or left side, with one or both hips and elbows flexed.

Lithotomy position.   Lying in a supine position with the hips and knees flexed at right angles, with the feet usually supported by stirrups (also called the dorsosacral position); a variant of Simon’s position.

Physiologic position.   Standing in the habitual posture.

Prone position.   Lying face down.

Simon’s position.   Lying supine with the hips slightly raised and flexed, the knees flexed, and the thighs widely separated.

Sims’ position.   Lying in a lateral recumbent position with one arm behind the back; the thighs are flexed, the upper more than the lower (also called the semiprone or English position).

Supine position.   Lying on the back, face up (also called the dorsal position).


Terms of Direction and Location

Anterior.   Toward or nearer the front or belly side of the body; ventral.

Caudad.   Toward the feet.Cephalad. Toward the head or cranial vertex.

Contralateral.   On the opposite side.

Distal.   Away from the point of reference or origin.

Dorsal.   Posterior.

Inferior.   Situated or directed below; caudad.

Ipsilateral.   On the same side (homolateral).

Lateral.   Away or farther from the median or midsagittal plane, right or left of the midline; toward the side.

Medial.   Toward or nearer the midline, median, or midsagittal plane.

Palmar.   Referring to the palm or volar surface of the hand.

Plantar.   Referring to the sole or volar surface of the foot.

Posterior.   Toward or nearer the back or backside of the body; dorsal.

Proximal.   Near the point of reference or origin.

Superior.   Situated or directed above; cephalad.

Ventral.   Anterior.

Volar.   Referring to the palm of the hand or sole of the foot.


The Planes of the Body in Biodynamics

Motion occurs in a plane. The question arises: What is a plane? Simply put, a plane is any real or theoretical flat surface containing all the straight lines required to connect any two points on it.

Many chiropractic hypotheses derive from the science of biomechanics, and many basic considerations in biomechanics involve time, mass, center of mass, movement, force, and gravity which operate according to the laws of physics. However, while numerous parameters of movement are interrelated, no one factor can completely describe movement by itself.

Because a mechanical force, either traumatic or therapeutic, may act along a single line in a single plane or in any direction in space, this factor must be considered in any reference system. Such a reference system is necessary if we are to communicate effectively with each other about joint position and motion. Thus, the following sections will review pertinent terms and principles that will enhance your communicative skills as well as deepen your understanding of spinal dynamics.


      STRUCTURAL MOTION

Figure 4.1   The planes of the body as related to the line of gravity. The X (frontal) axis passes from side to side (horizontally) and perpendicular to the sagittal plane. The Y (vertical) axis passes perpendicular to the transverse plane and the ground. The Z (sagittal) axis is perpendicular to the frontal plane, passing horizontally from front to back.

From a clinical viewpoint, structural motion can be defined as any body part’s relative change of place or position in space within a timeframe and about some other object in space. Thus, motion may be determined and illustrated by knowing and showing its position before and after an interval of time. While linear motion is readily demonstrated in the body as a whole as it moves in a straight line, most joint motions are combinations of translation and angular movement that are more often than not diagonal rather than parallel to the cardinal planes of the body. For example, a vertebra cannot move in the anterior-posterior (A-P) plane because its articulating facets are slanted obliquely. Besides muscle force, joint motion is governed by factors of movement freedom, axes of movement, and range of motion.

The force of gravity is always directed toward the earth’s center. Thus, the gravity lines of action and direction are constants. In the upright “rigid” body posture, the gravitational force on the entire body can be considered a single vector through the center of mass that represents the sum of many parallel positive and negative coordinates (See Figure 4.1).


      DESCRIBING POSITIONS IN SPACE

In a two-dimensional reference system, the plane is simply divided into four quadrants by a perpendicular vertical ordinate line (Y axis) and a horizontal abscissa line (X axis). A third axis (usually labeled Z) can be used to locate points in three dimensions. The Z axis crosses the origin and is perpendicular to planes X and Y.

There are several reference systems. This particular system is the Cartesian coordinate system in which: (1) flexion/extension rotation is rotation about the X axis, (2) axial rotation is rotation about the Y axis, and (3) lateral flexion rotation is rotation about the Z axis. All Z points in front of the X-Y plane are called positive, while those behind are called negative (See Figure 4.2). By using X, Y, and Z coordinates, any point in space can be located and depicted. However, a minimum of six coordinates is necessary to specify the position of a rigid body (eg, a vertebra).

Figure 4.2   Left, positive and negative X, Y, and Z axes.

Right, system of coordinates pertinent to the mechanical axis of the hip.


In biomechanics, the body’s reference origin is at the body’s center of mass. When this point is known, gross body space can be visualized as in the sagittal (right-left) Y-Z plane, frontal or coronal (anterior-posterior) X-Y plane, or horizontal or transverse (superior-inferior) X-Z plane. With such a reference system, movement of any body segment in these planes can be described by placing a coordinate system at the axis of a joint and projecting the action lines of the muscles involved.


      AXES

An axis is a straight line around which an object rotates, a line serving to orient a space or object (about which the object is symmetrical), or a reference line in a system of coordinates. Most body movements are rotations about joint axes and are rarely confined to a simple arc. Such motions vary to compensate for muscle/joint restrictions, bones twisting about their axes, and the transfer of power from one set of muscles to another within the range of movement. The joint surfaces of spinal joints are usually convexo-concave in design; ie, the convex (rounded) surface is larger than the concave (hollowed) surface. This relationship is exaggerated in all ball-and-socket joints.

If the anatomical position is used as a reference point, joint movements occur in a definite plane and around a definite axis. Flexion, extension, and hyperextension are movements in the sagittal plane about a frontal axis. Abduction and adduction are movements in the frontal plane about a sagittal axis. Rotation, pronation, and supination are movements in the transverse plane about a vertical axis. Circumduction is movement in both the sagittal and frontal planes.


      LINEAR AND CIRCULAR MOTION

The two basic types of body motions are linear movement and circular movement.

Linear motion occurs when the body as a whole or one of its parts is moved as a whole from one place to another in a straight line. An example of linear (sliding, gliding, translation) movement without any circular motion is long axis distraction of a finger joint.

Circular movement (angular, rotational) occurs when the body or a part is moved around the arc of a circle. An example of circular motion is seen between the long bones of the extremities and in the spinal column. Circular movements occur in definite planes and around definite axes (centers of rotation). They comprise an important diagnostic viewpoint in musculoskeletal disorders, and, as previously described, each of these three axes of rotation is perpendicular to the plane in which motion occurs.


      DEGREES OF JOINT MOVEMENT FREEDOM

The body is composed of many uniaxial, biaxial, and multiaxial joints.

Joints with one axis have one degree of freedom to move in one plane such as pivot and hinge joints. Joints with two axes have two degrees of freedom to move in two different planes, and joints with three axes have three degrees of freedom to move in all three planes (eg, ball-and-socket joints). Thus, the potential motion in which an object (eg, a body part) may translate to and fro along a straight course or rotate one way or another about a particular axis equals one degree of freedom.

The degrees of freedom of a fingertip about the trunk, for example, are the sum of the degrees of freedom of all the joints from the distal phalanges to the shoulder girdle. While the distal phalanges have only one degree of freedom (flexion-extension), the entire upper extremity has 17 degrees totally. This summation process is an example of an open kinematic chain.


      COMBINED MOVEMENTS

Simple translatory motions of a body part invariably involve movements of more than one joint. This requires reciprocating actions of three or more segments at two or more joints if parallel lines are to be followed. For example, a fingertip cannot be made to follow the straight edge of a ruler placed in front when the wrist, elbow, and shoulder joints are locked. The fingertip then must follow an arc, not a straight line. Thus, human motion can be described as translation that gains major contributions from linear, angular, and curvilinear movements. The terms general or three-dimensional body motion infer that a body part may move in any direction by combining multidirectional translation and multiaxial rotation.


      PLANE MOTION

Any motion in which all coordinates of a rigid body move parallel to a fixed point is called plane motion. Such motion has three degrees of freedom (ranges of motions); viz, (1) moving toward the anterior or posterior, (2) laterally moving toward the right or left, and (3) spinning in one direction or the other. In other words, plane motion has two translatory degrees of motion along two mutually perpendicular axes and one rotational degree of motion around an axis perpendicular to the translatory axes. Thus, when a person flexes his spine forward, the vertebrae flex and rotate in a single plane about an axis perpendicular to the sagittal plane. In such plane motion, various points on a particular vertebra will always move in parallel planes.


      THE INSTANTANEOUS AXIS OF ROTATION

Plane motion is described by the position of its instantaneous axis of rotation and the motion’s rotational magnitude about this axis. In the above example of spinal flexion, for instance, as a vertebra moves in a plane, there is a point at every instant of motion somewhere within or without the body that does not move. If a line is drawn from that point so it perpendicularly meets the line of motion, the point of intersection is called the instantaneous axis of rotation for that motion at that particular time. Most joint motions are largely rotational movements, but the axis of motion may change its location and/or its orientation during a complete range of motion.


      OUT-OF-PLANE MOTION

As contrasted to plane motion, out-of-plane motion is a type of general body motion with three degrees of freedom: two rotations about mutually perpendicular axes and translation perpendicular to the plane formed by the axes. Thus, in out-of-plane motion, the body as a whole or a segment can move more than in a single plane. For example, if a person bends laterally, a midthoracic vertebral body translates from the sagittal plane toward the horizontal plane. This is not plane motion because various points on the vertebra do not move in parallel planes.


Terms of Motion

The mental picture of the spine being a straight, vertical, static structure is inaccurate. It is a living, dynamic, segmented organ that is in constant motion during locomotion and work, and even with every breath taken during rest. As with most organs of the body during day or night, work or rest, the spine never rests —it is in constant motion, constantly dynamic.

The terms previously described in this chapter concerning position, direction, and location generally refer to static positions; ie, when the body is apparently still. Thus, additional terms are necessary to describe actions involved when body parts (eg, joint parts) move from one place in space to another such as during bending, lifting, walking, and running. Common examples are described below.

Motion.   Movement refers to a continuous change (displacement) of position. Coupling. Coupling is a motion of translation or rotation occurring along or about an axis as an object (eg, a vertebra) moves about another axis. Kinetics. Kinetics is the study of the rate of change of a specific factor in the body that disregards the cause of the motion; ie, the study of the relationship between a force acting on a body or body segment and the changes produced in body motion. Kinetic actions are expressed in amounts per units of time.

Kinematics.   Kinematics is the complex study of motions of body parts and forces causing motion (with emphasis on displacement, acceleration, and velocity) that is mainly the result of muscle activity. Flexion and Extension. Generally, when the joint angle becomes smaller than when in the anatomical position, it is in flexion. For example, when the elbow is bent, it is flexed. The opposite of flexion is extension. Thus, when the elbow is straight, it is extended. Most joints can flex and extend. When motion exceeds the normal range, it is called hyperflexion or hyperextension; eg, as in instability of the elbow or knee.

Abduction and Adduction.   When a part is farther away from the midline than it is in the anatomical (zero) position, it is in abduction. The opposite of abduction is adduction. Abduction and adduction occur at the shoulder, metacarpophalangeal, hip, and metatarsophalangeal joints.

Elevation and Depression.   Raising a part from its normal (zero) position is called elevation. Depression means to lower a part from its normal position. Good examples of both show in the shoulder.

Circumduction.   Movement of a bone circumscribing a cone such as at the shoulder or hip is called circumduction. Such motions usually comprise at least flexion, extension, abduction, and adduction.

Rotation.   If a bone of a joint is capable of angular motion or turning on its longitudinal axis (spinning), the motion is called rotation. The motion of turning an anterior surface of a part toward the midline of the body is called inward or internal rotation. The motion of turning out is called outward or external rotation. The axis may be located outside or inside the rotating body. The classic example of internal-external rotation is at the shoulder.

Pronation.   The word pronation refers to the act of assuming the prone position or the state or condition of being prone. When applied to the hand, it refers to the act of turning the hand backward, posteriorly, or downward by medial rotation of the forearm. When applied to the ankle or foot, it refers to a combination of eversion and abduction movements taking place in the tarsal and metatarsal joints that result in lowering the medial margin of the foot and thus the longitudinal arch. Supination. Supination is the opposite of pronation. It is the act of turning the palm forward or upward or of raising the medial margin or longitudinal arch of the foot. Pronation and supination movements are seen at the forearm (rotation of forearm between the wrist and elbow, palm turning up or down, respectively) and in the foot. However, inversion and eversion are better terms to use for actions of the foot than pronation and supination.

Dorsiflexion and Plantar Flexion.   Backward flexion or bending such as of the hand or foot is called dorsiflexion; movement toward the dorsal surface. Plantar flexion or palmar flexion is the opposite of dorsiflexion: movement toward the plantar surface or palm. In the hand or foot, the midline is an arbitrary line drawn through the middle finger or toe. Dorsiflexion movements are seen at the ankle and wrist, toes and fingers.

Inversion and Eversion.   A turning inward, inside out, or other reversal of the normal relation of a part is called inversion. Inversion is a type of adduction of the foot where the plantar surface is turned inward relative to the leg. Eversion is the opposite of inversion, referring to a turning outward of a part. Eversion of the foot means to turn the plantar surface outward in relation to the leg.

Translation.   Linear motion that occurs when all parts of an object at a given time have the same direction of motion about a fixed point is called translation. This commonly occurs in a train moving along a track, the body moving as a whole during gait, or a facet that glides or slips across a relatively fixed surface. Translation is measured in millimeters.

Degrees of Freedom.   Vertebrae have six degrees of freedom (ranges of motions); ie, translation along and rotation about each of three orthogonal axes. Any motion in which an object may translate back and forth along a straight course or rotate one way or another about a particular axis equals one degree of freedom. For example, joints with one axis have one degree of freedom to move in one plane (eg, pivot and hinge joints). Joints with two axes have two degrees of freedom to move in different planes, and joints with three axes have three degrees of freedom to move in all planes (eg, ball-and-socket joints).

Range of Motion (ROM).   ROM refers to the difference between two points of physiologic extremes of motion. Rotation is measured in degrees. A vertebra has six degrees of freedom as it moves in three-dimensional space; eg, translations along and rotations about each of the three cardinal axes (X, Y, and Z). If passive distraction is considered a motion, seven degrees of freedom exist.

Instantaneous Axis of Rotation (IAR).   The IAR is that fixed point which does not move but about which rotation occurs. It can exist inside or outside the object moving and is subject to change at any given instant.

Closed Kinematic System.   This phrase refers to a series of body links or a chain of joints in which segments are interdependent on each other for certain movements so each joint can function properly in a coordinated movement; eg, the movement of the first costotransverse joint necessary for the cervical spine to extend and laterally flex.



     COMMON DIAGNOSTIC AND PROCEDURAL TERMS

Health is a state of physical and mental well being in which the body can function fully with comfort and the ability to renew and restore itself. On the other hand, disease is any departure from health. It is any disorder that interferes with the normal operation of a body process. In broad terms, disease (sickness) can be considered any departure from health that is caused by pathogenic organisms or any other factor not involving an external physical force. An injury, in broad terms, is any departure from health due to an external physical force or environmental condition (eg, a wound, strain or sprain).


Background Review

Certain points previously made deserve review here. First, the CA should realize that disease depends on unresolved irritatants from the environment overcoming the body’s resistance and the nervous system acting as the mediating factor between. Whereas life is a stimulus-response phenomenon in the normal state, disease is an abnormal response to stimuli which in turn may be beyond the capacities of the body to adapt physiologically. The cause of disease is broadly considered an irritation caused by either environmental or constitutional factors.

Major environmental factors are physical injury; various parasitic, bacterial, fungi, viral infections, etc.; harmful inanimate objects such as inert foreign bodies or chemical toxins; and nutritional abnormalities from either cellular deficiency and/or excess in various food substances or deficiency in a local tissue from impaired blood supply or drainage. The major constitutional factors are inheritance of genetic abnormalities such as cleft lip, congenital heart disease, or malformed bones and articulations. Nongenetic factors also may lower a person’s resistance to disease by impairing his constitutional health, particularly as a by-product of previous disease.

Many diseases, dysfunctions, and disabilities leave a “memory” on the nervous system that tends to perpetuate the process after the cause has been removed. This finding is motivating considerable research.


Terminology

Some conditions may attend, be associated with, pre-exist to, or predispose disease or musculoskeletal injuries. These may exist as separate entities, the aftermath of previous injury or disease, or complicate a more recent affection and form a large category. Common examples are spinal distortions and subluxations, local disease of vertebrae and pelvis, and malformations such as developmental anomalies of a bone or joint.

Proper procedural and diagnostic terminology contains statements of being as they exist in logical sequence. The most recent (or important) conditions are given first consideration, other involvements following, and qualified by proper descriptive terms. Examples of these descriptors include:

Accompanying:   denoting companionship with, but not dependent on or necessarily closely joined (ie, may be coexisting but possibly independent)

Associated:   closely joined, but not necessarily dependent on

Attendant:   following as consequential

Concomitant:   that which accompanies or is attendant with

Consequent:   following as a result of (because)

Predisposing:   to give a tendency toward

Pre-existing:   to exist before, but not necessarily giving a tendency to.


While not limited to injuries, chiropractic care in musculoskeletal disorders is a major concern. Examples are sprain, an overstretching or overexertion of the ligaments of a joint (including capsular tissues); strain, an overstretching of muscular or tendinous tissues; fracture, a rupture of living bone; dislocation and subluxation. Common direct complications of a musculoskeletal injury include:

Myositis:   inflammation of muscle

Muscular spasm:   an involuntary contraction of muscle

Tendinitis:   inflammation of tendons or muscle attachments

Tenosynovitis:   inflammation of tendon sheaths

Bursitis:   inflammation of a bursa

Capsulitis:   inflammation of a joint capsule

Synovitis:   inflammation of a synovial membrane

Fibrositis:   inflammation of fibrous tissue

Radiculitis:   inflammation of a nerve root

Paresthesia:   abnormal sensory awareness

Neuralgia:   ache or pain in a nerve

Neuritis:   inflammation of a nerve

Contusion:   a bruising of tissue.

Spinal Distortions.   Curvatures (abnormal bending of the spine) are classified as kyphosis, an abnormal flexion of an area of the spine; lordosis, an abnormal extension of an area of the spine; scoliosis, an abnormal lateral bending of an area of the spine with vertebral rotation; and lateral curvature, an abnormal sideward bending of an area of the spine without vertebral rotation.


In terms of traditional medicine, the word subluxation means an incomplete or partial dislocation. However, in chiropractic, the word has a much more deeper and complex meaning. Essentially, it means an alteration of the normal dynamics of a joint in which there is an alteration to structural and/or functional relationships. Quite frequently one sees the term subluxation used to refer to a fixation, a partially restricted joint; or to a hypermobile joint, a condition in which an articulating bone moves beyond its normal range of motion but there is no joint locking.

The immediate causes of subluxation may be divided into two major categories: the unequal or asymmetrical muscular efforts on the joint structures; and the inequality in the supporting tissues or a particular joint such as the cartilage, intervertebral disc, ligaments, etc. Inequality in muscular balance may be the result of injury (acute frank trauma or microtrauma), postural distortions, biochemical reactions, psychomotor responses, paralytic affects, or somatic and visceral responses. Abnormal structural support may be brought about by developmental abnormalities, various acquired disease processes within the joint, or the resolution of major injury or microtraumas or of other primary disease processes.

The importance of a subluxation depends on its clinical features and whether the subluxation and its influence on the nervous system is abnormally influencing the health of the individual to a significant degree. Minor mechanical errors in position and motion occur in all people and, consequently, do neurologic irritations from these effects. We are all subject to environmental irritations and respond to these in a manner creating errors in musculoskeletal symmetry in the body. Thus, errors in position and mechanics occur. These, in turn, may cause abnormal responses within the body that may be of a temporary nature for the body can correct mechanical faults within itself provided they are of a minor nature. On the other hand, certain subluxations cannot be corrected without proper professional attention.

It is not so much the presence of a subluxation that is significant but how it is affecting the total economy of the body and how involved it is in the production of abnormal responses. These effects are determined by proper diagnostic procedures. The next chapter will describe the basic parts and functions of the human body.

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