education & Resources

Articles and Frequently Asked Questions about Chiropractic Care.

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Anatomy Topics and Definitions


A joint formed where two or more bones in the body meet. Your foot bone, for example, forms an articulation with your leg bone. You call that articulation an ankle.


Another name for the first cervical vertebra, which is located at the top of your spine and supports your head. Misalignment of the atlas can place stress on your neuromusculoskeletal system.


Another name for the second cervical vertebra, which is located in your neck. This is an important joint that contributes significantly to your neck's range of motion.


The body's mechanics, such as how muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments work to produce movement.


Commonly called the tailbone, the coccyx is composed of four separate but fused vertebrae that make up the bottom of your spine.

Cervical spine:

The area of your spine containing the seven vertebrae that compose the neck.


A meeting point of two or more bones in your body that functions like a door hinge. Joints, like hinges, sometimes get stuck, or subluxated. Your chiropractor can adjust them to help improve your health.


Refers to the shape of your mid-back and sacral regions of your spine, which are shaped like a backward letter C.


Tissue that bonds bone to bone. Ligaments are strong and provide excellent support, which is especially important in joints like your ankle.


Refers to the shape of the cervical and lumbar regions of your spine, which are shaped like the letter C. You aren't born with this curve, but develop it as an infant when you start to sit, crawl and stand.


The area of your spine containing the five vertebrae that compose the lower back.


Contractile tissue that allows body parts to move. While most people don't realize it, muscles are considered bodily organs.

Muscle tone:

A slight, continuous contraction of muscle fibers that is necessary to maintain posture, keep muscles healthy and squeeze blood in your veins back to your heart. Without muscle tone, your muscles would get weak and be susceptible to injury.

Neuromusculoskeletal system:

A broad term referring to the neurological system, including the brain, spinal cord and nerves, the muscle system, which includes muscles, ligaments, tendons and connective tissues, and the skeletal system, which includes bones of the skull, spine and limbs.

Sacroiliac joint:

The joint between the sacrum and the ilium, which is a flat bone that helps compose your pelvis. You have two sacroiliac joints, which allow for proper pelvic movement.When they get irritated or inflamed it causes significant pain.


A triangular-shaped bone between your pelvic bones that is the foundation for your spine. The sacrum helps transfer weight, allows for small pelvic movements and meets with the pelvic bones to form the sacroiliac joints.

Soft tissue:

Non-bony tissue, like muscles, disks, tendons and ligaments.


Your spine supports your body and protects the delicate spinal cord and nerves. It comprises 33 vertebrae, grouped into different categories based on location and anatomy. These locations are the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral and coccygeal regions.

Tender point:

One of several pea-size, focal and hypersensitive sites found most commonly in muscle and connective tissue that, unlike a trigger point, doesn't cause pain in other regions when stimulated.


An extension of muscle that functions as an attachment between muscle and bone. Tendons are extremely strong, but not very capable of contracting.


The area of your spine containing the 12 vertebrae that compose the upper back.

Trigger point:

One of several pea-size, focal and hypersensitive sites found most commonly in muscle and connective tissue that, when stimulated, can cause pain in a specific region. A stimulated trigger point in the back of your neck, for example, can cause a dull pain that radiates to the area around your eyes.


Bony segments that form your spinal column. Humans normally have 33 of these stacked on top of each other. There are seven in your neck, 12 in your mid back, five in your low back, five in your sacrum and four in your tailbone.