Spine Glossary

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Discography involves the injection of dye into the nucleus of an intervertebral disc. During the injection, the physician performing the procedure asks the patient if the injection generates pain similar to his/her ?usual pain.? Discographic images are generated from plain radiographs and computed tomography (CT) scanning.


Degenerative joint disease.


Doctor of Osteopathy.


Dorsal root ganglion. Clump of nerve cells in spinal canal outlet of a root.



electromyography (EMG)

A test used to determine the function of the peripheral nerves and nerve roots, involving placement of tiny needles in muscles and an electrical stimulus that can be monitored for changes that reflect the function of the connection between the nerve and muscle. This test is usually performed in conjunction with a nerve conduction velocity study (NCV).

endoscopic discectomy

A minimally invasive method of discectomy done with an endoscope, which is a special device that allows visualization of the disc from the inside. See discectomy.

Epidural steroid injection (ESI)

Injection of corticosteroid medications into the epidural space (the area around the spinal nerves) to reduce inflammation of the nerve and disc.

facet injection

Injections of steroids and local anesthetic into the facet joints to determine if it is a source of pain or to reduce pain and inflammation. See also zygapophysial joint injections.

facet joints

The bones of the spine are connected in the front of the spine by intervertebral discs and in the back by paired joints. These paired joints are commonly called ?facet joints,? ?zygapophysial joints,? or, ?z-joints.? See also Z-joints.