Skip to content

Physical Therapy | Functional Rehabilitation | Physical Therapy Modalities |Financial Policy | F.A.Q.’s

Glossary of Common Physical Therapy Terms

Active Exercises – Any exercise where the patient uses his/her own muscle strength i.e. lifting a weight.

Arthritis – Inflammation of a joint that causes pain, swelling, and stiffness.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – A compression of the median nerve as it passes through the wrist that is caused primarily by swelling tendons in the carpal tunnel. Symptoms include numbness, pain, and tingling in the thumb and middle fingers, weak grip and diminished strength in the hand.

Drop-Foot – A Condition in which nerve dysfunction hinders the ability to lift one’s foot off the ground while walking.

Fracture – A fracture is a break in the bone.

Gait Dysfunction – Abnormalities associated with the actions of walking or running. These conditions may be caused by a wide variety of disorders which affect motor control, sensory feedback, and muscle strength.

Herniated Disc – The displacement of a disc (the shock-absorbing pad of tissue between each vertebra) from its position between two vertebrae which then pushes against a nerve causing leg and back pain or arm and neck pain.

Mechanical Traction – The use of a machine to increase the joint space between spinal levels. This will decreases the joint pressure between spinal levels, which may be the cause of certain conditions such as sciatica, spinal stenosis, and herniated disc problems.

Modality – A broad group of agents that may include thermal, acoustic, radiant, mechanical, or electrical energy that produce changes in body tissues for therapeutic purposes. Examples of modalities include ultrasound, hot packs, and electrical stimulation.

Muscle Energy Techniques – Isolated strengthening of certain muscle groups to correct joint dysfunction.

Myofascial Release – A therapeutic treatment utilizing a gentle form of stretching of the visceral and fascial tissue, producing a healing effect upon the body tissues, eliminating pain and restoring motion.

Myopathy – Any abnormal conditions or disorders of the muscle tissues, which include the muscles over our bones (skeletal muscle) and the heart (cardiac muscle).

Nerve Root Impingement – Pinching of the nerve at the point where the nerve enters the spinal column.

Neuropathy – A group of symptoms include tingling and numbness in hands or feet, followed by gradually progressive muscular weakness that are caused by abnormalities in sensory or motor nerves. The most common form is peripheral neuropathy, which mainly affects the feet and legs.

Osteoarthritis – A degenerative joint disease that usually affects the knees, hips, and hands resulting from the breakdown of the cartilage, allowing bones to rub together which leads to pain, stiffness, joint swelling, and pressure. This is the most common form of arthritis.

Paraffin Bath – A thermal modality using paraffin wax and mineral oil.

Passive Exercises – Any exercise done to the patient i.e. when a therapist stretches a patient.

Range of Motion (ROM) – The space, distance, or angle through which movement occurs at a joint or a series of joints.

Spinal Stenosis – The narrowing of the spinal canal that can cause symptoms similar to a pinched nerve . Pain is normally described as an aching down the arms or legs.

Spondylolisthesis – A dysfunction where one vertebra is displaced. The causes can be hereditary or due to structural defects, degenerative changes and injury. Some people can have it without any symptoms, but others have major pain and nerve-related symptoms.

Spondylosis – A degenerative process of the spine that causes a narrowing of the spinal canal and produces compression of the spinal cord and nerve roots. This can lead to stiffness and eventually fixation of the joint.

Sprain – An injury to any ligament that can occur when the joint is carried through a range of motion greater than normal, but without causing dislocation or fracture.

Strain – An injury to any muscle that can occur when the muscle is carried through a range of motion greater than normal, but without causing a tear.

Vestibular – The sense of balance and perception stemming from communication between the inner ear, the eyes, and the central nervous system.

Call our Princeton chiropractic office today!

Princeton Chiropractic
and Sports Rehab

601 Ewing St., Ste C3,
Princeton, NJ 08540
(609) 921-1705
Princeton, Mercer and Somerset county families enjoy chiropractic and its amazing benefits.