Specialized fibers composed of bundles which can shorten and lengthen. Muscles attach to bone via tendons and function to provide movement. Specialized muscles also act to hold the body erect against the pull of gravity.

Muscle Relaxants

Medications that reduce contractibility of muscle fibers, which in turn may relieve some types of muscle spasms.

Motion Segment

The basic building component of the spinal column. It is composed of two vertebrae, a disc, muscles, ligaments, nerves, intervertebral foramina and facet joints. Vertebral motion segments, along with the sacrum and coccyx, link together to form the spinal column.


A form of manual therapy in which a physical therapist, chiropractor, or physician of osteopathy performs deep soft tissue therapy for possible pain relief and/or increased joint mobility.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

A special study often used to diagnose spinal conditions. Images are obtained by using a high-strength magnetic field and radiowaves which allow for high resolution images of the spine without the ionizing radiation effects associated with x-rays. A patient enters a large room, lies on a narrow sliding bed, and is placed inside a very large metal, tunnel-shaped tube (magnet). Nothing touches the body and no sensations are felt during the test. The patient will hear a repetitive tapping noise which occurs while the machine is taking pictures from various angles. The entire examination should take less than one hour. It is important the patient remain motionless and relaxed while scans are obtained.


A surgical procedure usually performed as an outpatient, to remove a herniated disc (nucleus pulposus) which has been determined to be the source of a patient’s nerve pain.