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Making Sense of Medical Jargon

Arthrodesis: Fusion of one bone with another (here vertebrae).

Disc bulging: Uniform bulging of the disc as a result of disc sagging (a bit like an incompletely pumped up tire).

Discectomy: Operation whereby the offending protruding part of the disc (disc hernia) is resected.

EMG or electromyography is an electrical measurement of the function of a nerve.

Facets are small joints at the back of the spine.

Disc hernia: When a part of the intervertebral disc protrudes. This can cause pure backache or neck pain. It can also cause leg or arm pain if it pushes against a spinal nerve.

Epidural injection: Injection (made by an anesthesiologist) of medication around the nerves in the spine (like for giving birth, but with another product).

Laminectomy or laminarthrectomy: Operation whereby a narrow(ed) spinal canal that contains the cord and spinal nerves is being enlarged.

MRI or magnetic resonance: A scanner which works with a strong magnet and a sound wave (and thus no classic X-rays).

Radiculopathy: Abnormal working of the spinal nerve with pain, muscle weakness and a ‘pins and needles’ feeling.

Sacro-iliac joint: The joint between the pelvis and the sacrum at the bottom of the spine.

Sciatica: Pain in the area which the sciatic nerve covers. Can be along one or more spinal nerves.

Spondylodesis: Operation consisting of infusing one vertebra to another.

surgery chair slang for spine pain