Community Health Network

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Common neurological/spinal terms

Carpal tunnel syndrome – A condition caused by compression of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel and characterized especially by weakness, pain and disturbances of sensation in the hand and fingers.

Cauda equina – The roots of the upper sacral nerves that extend beyond the termination of the spinal cord at the first lumbar vertebra in the form of a bundle of filaments within the vertebral canal, resembling a horse’s tail.

Compression fracture – Fracture, as of a vertebrae, caused by the compression of one bone against another.

Hydrocephalus – An abnormal increase in the amount of cerebrospinal fluid within the cranial cavity that is accompanied by expansion of the cerebral ventricles, enlargement of the skull and especially of the forehead, and atrophy of the brain.

Meningioma – A slow-growing encapsulated tumor arising from the meninges and often causing damage by pressing on the brain and adjacent parts.

Myelopathy – Any disease or disorder of the spinal cord or bone marrow.

Neuropathy – An abnormal and degenerative state of the nervous systems or nerves.

Peripheral neuropathy – A disease or degenerative state of the peripheral nerves in which motor, sensory or vasomotor nerve fibers may be affected and which is marked by muscle weakness and atrophy, pain and numbness.

Reflex sympathetic dystrophy – A painful disorder that usually follows a localized injury, that is marked by burning pain, swelling, and motor and sensory disturbances especially of an extremity, and that is associated with sympathetic nervous system dysfunction.

Sciatica – Pain along the course of a sciatic nerve, especially in the back of the thigh caused by compression, inflammation or reflex mechanisms; pain in the lower back, buttocks, hips or adjacent parts.

Spinal stenosis – Narrowing of the lumbar spinal column that produces pressure on the nerve roots resulting in sciatica and a condition resembling intermittent claudication and that usually occurs in middle or old age.

Spondylolisthesis – The partial forward dislocation of one vertebra over the one below it, most commonly the fifth lumbar vertebra over the first sacral vertebrae.

Spondylosis – Degenerative disease of the spinal column.

Subdural hematoma – A hematoma that occurs between the dura mater and arachnoid in the subdural space and that may apply neurologically significant pressure to the cerebral cortex.

Trigeminal neuralgia – An intense paroxysmal neuralgia involving one or more branches of the trigeminal nerve.