Chiropractic Speak

If you listen to chiropractors and their staff speak, it sometimes seems like you are watching an episode of ER. They may as well be talking in another language. If this happens to you, please stop us and ask us what we mean. The staff at Smoot Family Chiropractic loves to help and explain things, and we feel most comfortable when our clients feel comfortable.

If you are not one of our clients (yet), then maybe we can still help by explaining some of the words that you may hear us use often.

Keep in mind that this list is bound to keep growing, so check back or subscribe to changes so you can keep on top of it. Also, please feel free to use the comments to highlight a word or phrase for us to explain.


Another name for one of the many bone segments that make up the spine. The spine is important because it encircles and helps protect the spinal cord and nerves which is responsible for making sure our body is sending and receiving information to the brain.


According to, subluxation means “a partial dislocation, as of a joint; sprain.”

In Chiropractic use, it is usually when one of your vertebrae or spinal discs slips out of place and becomes misaligned. The causes can be from minor events such as slips and bumps to major events such as an automotive accident. Whatever the cause if it remains untreated you put your health at a wide range of risks from small aches to pinched nerves, and quite possibly eventual degeneration of spinal discs.


Sciatica is a term that is often (mis)used to label pain symptoms in the lower back area. Sciatica symptoms include pain, tingling, and/or numbness that usually starts in the lower back area and sometimes moves down the leg. It is caused by an irritation of the nerve roots that lead up to the sciatic nerve in the lower back.

There are many possible causes, but perhaps the most common reason someone develops sciatica is from a herniated disk.
Here is a slideshow on sciatica from web-md

Spinal Adjustment/Manipulation

This term is used to describe the treatment and process that a chiropractor will follow to correct a patient’s condition. Among many things, it can involve the chiropractor using their hands or choice of intruments to carefully nudge a disc back into alignment.

Heat therapy

Heat therapy is used to relax muscles and increase circulation to an affected area. Pain can be relieved with this method, which can involce heating pads, warm wraps, and other forms of therapy.

Cryotherapy (Ice Therapy)

Cryotherapy decreases circulation to an affected area while helping to reduce swelling. Pain can be relieved with this method by numbing the affected muscles. Some forms of cryotherapy include Ice Packs, and frozen gel filled packs.

…more to come

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