Spine Disorder Definitions

ARTHRITIS is a joint disorder that involves inflammation in one or more joints.

DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE is degeneration of the intervertebral disc.

DISCECTOMY is the surgical removal of part of a herniated disc that is placing pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots.

HERNIATED DISC is an injury to the intervertebral disc where the nucleus bulges beyond the damaged outer rings of the annulus.

LAMINECTOMY is the surgical removal of the lamina from the vertebra.  Today, many laminectomies are in fact only partial or limited.

RADICULOPATHY is a syndrome caused by problems affecting nerve roots as they come off the spine, resulting in symptoms such as pain, numbness or weakness.

SCIATICA is a set of symptoms caused by compression or irritation of lumbar or sacral nerves or by the compression of the sciatic nerve.

SCOLIOSIS is a medical condition in which the spine is curved in an unnatural direction.  One or more abnormal curves may develop that could affect the body’s overall balance and alignment.  The spine may look more like an S or a C when viewed from behind, rather than an I.

SPINAL STENOSIS is an abnormal narrowing of the vertebral canal.

SPONDYLITIS is an inflammation of the vertebra.

SPONDYLOSIS is a general term for degeneration of the spine.

SPONDYLOLISTHESIS is the forward displacement of a vertebra in relation to the vertebrae below.

VERTEBRAL COMPRESSION FRACTURE is a compression fracture of a vertebral body due to trauma or weakness of the bone.


This information is not designed to replace a physician's independent decision about the appropriateness or risks of a procedure for a given patient. Always consult your doctor about your back problem or medical conditions. Life Spine does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.