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Massage Therapy Terminology & Glossary



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The heel bone.  
Calcaneus (Heel bone)  
Calcul/o, -Calcuila
To Compute  
A stone formed within various body parts.  
Calyx or Calyce (Husk or Pod)  
Calyx or Calyce (Husk or Pod)  
An area of thickened, hardened skin that develops in an area of friction or region of recurrent pressure.  
Unit of heat; the large calorie (spelled with capital letter C) is the amount of heat required to raise 1 kg of water 1 degree celsius; also used in metabolic and nutrition studies as the unit to measure the energy value of foods.  
A cuplike extension of the pelvis of the kidney.  
A duct or passageway; a tubular structure.  
Extremely small tubular passage or channel.  
Malignant, nonencapsulated cells that invade surrounding tissue. They often break away, or metastasize, from the primary tumor and form secondary cancer masses; a malignant, invasive cellular neoplasm that has the capability of spreading throughout the body or body parts.  
The small blood vessels that connect arterioles and venules; various substances pass through capillary walls, into and out of the interstitial fluid, and then on to the cells.  
Capillary (small blood vessel)  
One of the small blood vessels found between arteries and veins that allows the exchange of gases, nutrients, and waste products. The walls of capillaries are thin, allowing molecules to diffuse easily; a minute blood vessel connecting arterioles with venules.  
Capillary Refill Time (CRT)
Time it takes for a patient's skin color to return to normal after the skin or nailbed has been pressed or blanched; normal time is less than 2 seconds; assesses perfusion.  
Capillary vessels
The tiny blood vessels between the arterioles and venules that permit transfer of oxygen, carbon dioxide, nutrients, and waste between body tissues and the blood.  
Capitated Payments
Payments made to health care providers who are staff members of HMOs where the provider is paid a contractually agreed upon capita fee for all services provided to an enrollee served regardless of the actual number or nature of the services provided.  
A reimbursement system used by HMOs and some other managed care plans to pay the health care provider a fixed fee on a per capita basis that has no relationship to type of services performed or the number of services each patient receives.  
Carbon Dioxide  
Carbon Dioxide  
A noninvasive method that can quickly and efficiently provide information on a patient's ventilatory status, circulation, and matabolism.  
The use of a capnometer, a device that measures the amount of expired carbon dioxide.  
Caps/o, Capsul/o
Capsule, Container  
Carbidopa (Rx)
Brand name; Sinemet. Generic name; Carbidopa and Levodopa. Classified as an Antiparkinson. It improves voluntary movement in the treatment of Cerebral palsy and Parkinson's disease. It works when the body and brain transform the Levodopa into a substance that helps to decrease tremors and other symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Carbidopa helps Levodopa to reach the brain. Clients who take Sinemet may experience cardiac irregularities, involuntary grimacing, dry mouth, or constipation. It is best to offer water. Abdominal massage might relieve constipation.
Sugars, startches, and cellulose composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen; organic compound composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen; includes starches, sugars, and cellulose.  
Carbon dioxide
A componant of air that typically makes up 0.3% of air at sea level; also a waste product exhaled during expiration by the respiratory system.  
Carbon dioxide retention
A condition characterized by a chronically high blood level of carbon dioxide in which the respiratory center no longer responds to high blood levels of carbon dioxide.  
Carbon monoxide
An odorless, highly poisonous gas that results from incomplete oxidation of carbon in combustion.  
Glass, plastic, or steel containers, ranging in volume from 5 to 15 gallons.  
Cancerous; Cancer  
Cancer-causing agent.  
Cancer; a malignant growth of epithelial cells.  
Carcinoma In Situ
A malignant tumor that is localized, circumscribed, and noninvasive. Also known as Cancer In Situ.  
Pertaining to the heart.  
Cardiac arrest
Condition in which the heart no longer generates blood flow, causing pulselessness and apnea; two of the many causes are arrhythmias and myocardial infarction; a state in which the heart fails to generate effective and detectable blood flow; pulses are not palpable in cardiac arrest, even if muscular and electrical activity continues in the heart.  
Cardiac cycle
A synchronized sequence of events that takes place during one full heartbeat; sequence of events encompassing one complete contraction and relaxation of the atria and ventricles of the heart.  
Cardiac monitoring
The act of viewing the electrical activity of the heart through the use of an ECG machine or cardiac monitor.  
Cardiac muscle
Specialized muscle of the heart.  
Cardiac muscle fibers
Smaller, striated, involuntary muscle fibers (cells) in the heart that contract to pump blood.  
Cardiac output
The amount of blood pumped by the left ventricle in 1 minute; the blood volume (in liters) ejected per minute by the left ventricle; a measure of the volume of blood circulated by the heart in 1 minute, calculated by multiplying the stroke volume by the heart rate.  
Cardiac tamponade (pericardial tamponade)
Compression of the heart as the result of buildup of blood or other fluid in the pericardial sac, leading to decreased cardiac output.  
Cardiogenic shock
Cardiac failure whereby the heart cannot sufficiently pump blood to the rest of the circulatory system; a state in which not enough oxygen is delivered to the tissues of the body, caused by low output of blood from the heart; it can be a severe complication of a large acute myocardial infraction, as well as other conditions.  
Cardioesophageal sphincter
Valve between the stomach and esophagus.  
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
The combination of rescue breathing and chest compressions used to establish adaquate ventilation and circulation in a patient who is not breathing and has no pulse.  
Cardiovascular system
Organ system that distributes blood to all parts of the body.  
Care/Caid Claim
Combined Medicare/ Medicaid claim (in majority of these claims, massage is not covered)  
Care Coordination
The planned organization of patient care activities between multiple practitioners.  
Care Plan Oversight Service
A CPT or Current Procedural Terminology evaluation and management service for the purpose of reporting the physician's time spent coordinating multidisciplinary patient care plans, and integrating or adjusting the patient's medical treatment plans.  
Caries, rottenness  
Point at which the trachea bifurcates (divides) into the left and right mainstem bronchi.  
A yellow pigment found in the dermis that provides a natural yellow tint to the skin of some individuals.  
The main artery in the neck.  
Carotid artery
The major artery that supplies blood to the head and brain.  
Carotid body
A receptor in the common carotid artery sensitive to changing oxygen, carbon dioxide, and pH levels of the blood.  
Carotid sinus
A dilation of a common carotid artery; involved in regulation of systemic blood pressure.  
Wrist Bones (Carpals)  
Eight bones of the wrist that form the carpal tunnel (on the palmar side) and is surrounded by the flexor retinaculum; there are two rows of four bones, the pisiform (end of ulna), triquetrum, lunate, scaphoid and (second row ulnar to radius side) hamate, capitate, trapezoid and trapezium.  
The insurance company or insurer  
A form of flexible connective tissue. Types of cartilage include hyaline, fibrocartilage, and elastic cartilage; white, semiopaque connective tissue; the support structure of the skeleton system that provides cushioning between bones; also forms the nasal septum and portions of the outer ear.  
Cartilaginous joint
A joint in which two bony surfaces are united by cartilage; the two types of cartilaginous joints are synchondroses and symphyses; bones united by cartilage; no joint cavity is present.  
Case management
A process implemented to properly manage the quality and outcome of patient care when working with multiple practitioners. It is a collaboration process that assesses, plans, implements, coordinates, monitors, and evaluates the options and services required for optimum patient care.  
Case Management Service
A CPT or Current Procedural Terminology evaluation and management service for the process in which the attending physician or agent coordinates the care given to a patient by other health care providers and/ or community organizations.  
Case manager
A designated person whose exclusive role is to coordinate care and services amoung providers. A nurse or other medically trained person who coordinates the care of patients with long term chronic conditions.  
Cases Meeting or Equalling the Listing
Category for disability that will meet SSA's or Social Security Account or Administration legal definition for disability. These are cases in which two or more conditions are running concurrently, and the combined effects of these conditions qualify the applicant for disability benefits.  
Casualty collection area
An area set up by physicians, nurses, and other hospital staff near a major disaster scene where patients can receive further triage and medical care.  
Chemical processes in the body that release energy as complex compounds are broken down into simpler ones; the process in which living cells break down substances into simpler substances; destructive metabolism.  
Partial or complete loss of transparency of the crystalline lens of the eye; clouding of the lens of the eye or its surrounding transparent membranes.  
Catchment Area
A CHAMPUS or Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services term; A region which is defined by postal zip code boundaries that fit roughly within a 40-mile radius of the government medical treatment facility and is used to determine the need for preauthorization for any civilian medical care.  
A group of neurotransmitters involved in sleep, mood pleasure, and motor function; epinephrine and norepinephrine.  
Cathar/o, Cathart/o
Cleansing, Purging  
A flexible, hollow structure that drains or delivers fluids.  
Catheter shear
The cutting of the catheter by the needle during improper rethreading of the catheter with the needle; the severed piece can then enter the circulatory system.  
-Cathisia, -Kathisia
Tail; Lower part of body  
Downward, away from the head; toward the tail; in humans, the inferior portion of the anatomy; pertaining to a position near the tail end of the long axis of the body; also known as inferior.  
Burn; Burning  
Heat; Burn  
Cav/o, Cavit/o
Hollow, Cavity  
A phenomenon in which speed causes a bullet to generate pressure waves, which cause damage distant from the bullet's path.  
Cecum (First part of the colon)  
The blind-end pouch at the beginning of the large intestine; functions to absorb fluids and salts that remain after digestion and absorption completion then it churns and kneads with mucus; also spelled caecum; the first part of the large intestine, into which the ileum opens.  
Celebrex or Celecoxib (Rx)
Brand name; Celebrex. Generic name; Celecoxib. Classified as a Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug (NSAID). It relieves signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis in the treatment of Degenerative disc disease (DDD), Frozen shoulder, and Rheumatoid arthritis. It works by reducing hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body. Clients who take Celebrex may experience dizziness or upset stomach. It is best to use deep massage techniques with caution. Be aware of client's decreased pain perception, and help client on/off the table.
Belly; Abdomen  
The basic structural unit of living organism. A cell contains a nucleus and cytoplasm and is surrounded by a membrane; the basic biological unit of living organism, containing a nucleus and a variety of organelles enclosed by a limiting membrane.  
Cell membrane
Membrane that encloses cell contents; outer limiting membrane also called plasma membrane.  
Cellular immunity
Immunity conferred by lymphocytes called T cells; also called cell-mediated immunity.  
Cellular respiration
Metabolic processes that occur within the cells of organisms, the process converts biochemical energy from nutrients into Adenosine triphosphates or ATP, and then release waste product; exothermic redox reaction.  
Cellular telephone
A low-power portable radio that communicates through an interconnected series of repeater stations called "cells."  
The bony connective tissue that covers the root of the tooth.  
Center of Gravity
An imaginary midpoint or center of the weight of a body or object, where the body or object could balance on a point.  
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The primary federal agency that conducts and supports public health activities in the United States; The CDC is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services.  
Surgical puncture to remove fluid  
Central nervous system (CNS)
The brain and spinal cord and their coverings.  
Central pulses
Pulses that are closest to the core (central) part of the body where the vital organs are located; include the carotid, femoral, and apical pulses.  
A minute body found near the nucleus of the cell composed of microtubules; active in cell division.  
Towards the head.  
Cerebellum (Posterior part of the brain)  
The second largest part of the brain, the cerebellum is involved with balance, posture, coordination, and movement; part of the hindbrain; involved in producing smoothly coordinated skeletal muscle activity; One of the three major subdivisions of the brain, sometimes called the "little brain"; coordinates the various activities of the brain, particularly fine body movements.  
Cerebrum (Largest part of the brain)  
Cerebral aqueduct
The slender cavity of the midbrain that connects the third and fourth ventricles; also called the aqueduct of Sylvius.  
Cerebral edema
Swelling of the brain.  
Cerebral palsy
A term for a group of disorders characterized by poorly controlled body movement.  
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)
A clear, colorless fluid that flows throughout the brain and around the spinal cord, cushioning and protecting these structures and maintaining proper pH balance; the fluid produced by choroid plexi; fills the ventricles and surrounds the central nervous system; fluid produced in the ventricles of the brain that flows in the subarachnoid space and bathes the meninges.  
Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA)
Also called a stroke, is a condition that results from a disruption of circulation to the brain, causing ischemia and damage to brain tissue; An interruption of blood flow to the brain that results in the loss of brain function.  
The largest of the three brain subdivisions, the cerebrum consists of two hemisheres that occupy the uppermost region of the crainium. The cerebrum receives, interprets, and associates incoming information with past memories and then transmits the appropriate motor response; also called gray matter; made up of several lobes that control movement, hearing, balance, speech, visual perception, emotions, and personality.  
A voluntary regulatory method which offers the use of vocational titles to distinguish professional services. It refers to the confirmation of certain characteristics that is often, but not always, provided by some form of external review, education, assessment, or audit. In some states, certification is used as the designation for practitioners rather than licensure. A process in which a person, an institution, or a program is evaluated and recognized as meeting certain predetermined standards to provide safe and ethical care.  
A sticky substance released by glands in the ear. Also known as earwax, cerumen protects the ear from the entry of foreign material and repels insects.  
Ceruminous glands
Modified apocrine glands found in the external ear that secrete cerumen.  
Neck; Cervix (Neck of uterus)  
Refers to the neck or neckline portion of an organ or structure.  
Cervical spine
The portion of the spinal column consisting of the first seven vertebrae that lie in the neck.  
The inferior necklike narrowest portion of the uterus that opens into the vagina.  
Cervical collar
Device used to provide partial C-spine immobilization; only 50% in the three major motions of anterior / posterior, lateral flexion, and rotation; it is applied to the neck area of an injured patient suspected to having a cervical spine injury.  
Drug; Chemical  
Civilian Health And Medical Program of the Uniformed Services. A comprehensive federal civilian medical care program for spouses and dependents of those in the uniformed services, either active duty or personnel or those who died while on active duty, as well as retired personnel, their spouses, and dependents. Also known as TRICARE  
CHAMPUS Extra Plan
A combination of regular CHAMPUS and CHAMPUS Prime coverage available in specific states. Also known as TRICARE Extra  
CHAMPUS Prime Plan
Full medical care plan administered by a CHAMPUS-designated HMO for CHAMPUS-eligible persons in specific areas of the country. Also known as TRICARE Prime.  
Uniformed services personnel who are either on active duty, retired, or have died while in the service.  
Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Veterans Administration. A federal program for medical care in the civilian community for spouses and dependents of veterans with total service-connected disabilities or who died as a result of service-connected disabilities.  
Change agents
Factors that influence the ways we establish, maintain, and change boundaries (e.g., location of service, interpersonal space, appearance, self-disclosure, language, touch, time, and money).  
An assigned frequency or frequencies that are used to carry voice and/or data communications.  
Charge Slip
Summary of services rendared to the patient during a visit. Including the date, Patient's name, and list of all services rendared on that particular date.  
The process of keeping a written record of a client or patient. The most effective charting methods follow clinical reasoning, which emphasizes a problem-solving approach. Many systems of charting are used, but these models all have similar components: POMR (problem-oriented medical record) and SOAP (subjective, objective, analysis, and plan-the four parts of written record).  
Chemical bond
An energy relationship holding atoms together; involves the interaction of electrons.  
Chemical properties
Properties that demonstrate how a substance reacts with other substances or responds to a change in the environment.  
Chemical reaction
Process in which molecules are formed, changed, or broken down.  
Chemical Transportation Emergancy Center (CHEMTREC)
An agency that assists emergency personnel in identifying and handling hazardous materials transport incidents.  
Receptors sensitive to various chemicals in solution; Monitor the levels of O2, CO2, and the pH of the cerebrospinal fluid and then provide feedback to the respiratory centers to modify the rate and depth of breathing based on the body's needs at any given time.  
Chest leads
The leads that are used only with a 12-lead ECG and must be placed exactly; includes leads V1, V2, V3, V4, V5, and V6.  
Defacation; Elimination of wastes  
Chi Nei Tsang
This is an entire system of Chinese deep healing that makes use of the energy flow of the five major systems in the body: vascular, lymphatic, nervous, tendon/muscle and acupuncture meridians. With this practice, one is able to increase the energy flow to specific organs through massaging a series of points in the navel area.  
A crossing or intersection of two structures, such as the optic nerves.  
Chief Complaint (CC)
Brief statement describing the reason for the patient's seeking medical attention; the reason a patient called for help; also the patient's response to questions such as "What's wrong?" or "What happened?"  
Child abuse
A general term applying to all forms of child abuse and neglect.  
A sexually transmitted disease caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis.  
Hydrochloric acid  
Chlorine (CL)
The first chemical agent ever used in warfare; it has a distinct odor of bleach and creates a green haze when released as a gas; initially it produces upper airway irritation and a choking sensation.  
Bile; Gall  
Bile; Vessel  
Inflammation of the gallbladder.  
An intestinal hormone that stimulates gallbladder contraction and pancreatic jucie release.  
Common Bile Duct  
A steroid found in animal fats as well as in most body tissues; made primarily in the liver.  
Cholinergic fibers
Nerve endings that, upon stimulation, release acetylcholine.  
A mature cartilage cell.  
Chordae tendineae
Thin bands of fibrous tissue that attach to the valves in the heart and prevent them from inverting.  
Chorion (outermost membrane of the fetus)  
The outermost fetal membrane; helps form the placenta.  
Choroid layer of the eye  
The pigmented nutritive layer of the eye.  
Skin Coloration  
The structures in the nucleus that carry the hereditary factors (genes).  
Barlike body of tightly coiled cheomatin; visible during cell division.  
Chronic bronchitis
Irritation of the major lung passageways from infectious disease or irritants such as smoke.  
Chronic disease
Disease with a vague onset that develops slowly and lasts for a long time, sometimes for life.  
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Condition characterized by diminished inspiratory and expiratory capacity of the lungs; a slow process of dilation and disruption of the airways and alveoli caused by chronic bronchial obstruction.  
Chronic pain
Pain that continues or recurs over a prolonged time, usually for more than 6 months. The onset may be obscure, and the character and quality of the pain change over time. Chronic pain usually is poorly localized and not as intense as acute pain, although for some the pain is exhausting and depressing, chronic pain usually does not activate the sympathetic nervous system (SNS).  
The semifluid stomach contents consisting of partially digested food and gastric secretions; the name of the substance that leaves the stomach; it is a combination of all of the eaten foods with added stomach acids.  
A milky fluid with emulsified fat and other products of digestion. It is formed from the Chyme in the small intestine and conveyed by the lacteals and the thoracic duct to the veins.  
The presence of chyle in the urine.  
To pour  
Pertaining to killing  
Tiny, hairlike projections on cell surfaces that move in a wavelike manner.  
Ciliary zonule
Suspensory ligament that attaches the lens to the ciliary body in the anterior eye.  
Circulatory system
The complex arrangement of connected tubes, including the arteries, arterioles, capillaries, venules, and veins, that move blood, oxygen, nutrients, carbon dioxide, and cellular waste throughout the body.  
Circle of Willis
A union of arteries at the base of the brain.  
Circular movement of a limb, combining the movements of flexion, extension, ABduction, and ADduction, to create a cone shape.  
A chronic disease of the liver, characterized by an overgrowth of connective tissue or fibrosis.  
To Cut  
Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS)
The older of two retirement programs for civil service employees of the federal governement. All employees hired prior to 1984 were enrolled in this program.  
A demand for payment of covered medical expenses sent to an insurance company.  
Claim Attachment
Additional claims documentation needed to adjudicate the claim.  
To Break  
To Break  
Enclosed Space  
Clavicle (collarbone)  
The collarbone; it is lateral to the sternum and anterior to the scapula.  
Clean Claim
A filed claim that is poperly filled out and contains all the data necessary for immediate processing by the insurance carrier.  
The process of removing dirt, dust, blood, or other visible contaminants from a surface.  
An early embryonic phase consisting of rapid cell divisions without intervening growth periods.  
The principle that practitioners always act in the best interest of the client.  
Clinical supervision
A process of meeting regularly with a person who is trained in the skills of supervision, to discuss casework and other professional issues in a structured way.  
To slope, bend  
A small, erectile structure in the female, homologous to the penis in the male.  
Clonal selection
The process during which a B cell or T cell becomes sensitized through binding contact with an antigen.  
Descendants of a single cell.  
Closed abdominal injury
An injury in which there is soft-tissue damage inside the body but the skin remains intact.  
Closed chest injury
An injury to the chest in which the skin is not broken, usually caused by blunt trauma.  
Close-ended questions
Questions that can be answered in short or single word responses.  
Closed fracture
A fracture in which the skin is not broken.  
Closed head injury
Injury in which the brain has been injured but the skin has not been broken and there is no obvious bleeding.  
Closed injuries
Injuries in which damage occurs beneath the skin or mucous membrane but the surface remains intact.  
Closed kinematic chain
The positioning of joints in such a way that motion at one of the joints is accompanied by motion at an adjacent joint.  
Close-packed position
The only position of a synovial joint in which the surface fit precisely together and maximal contact between the opposing surfaces occurs. The compression of joint surfaces permits no movement, and the joint possesses its greatest stability.  
Closed-Panel HMO (Health Maintenance Organization)
An established insurance program that allows members to receive non-emergency health services from contracted providers at specified facilities.  
Irragation; Washing  
A group or individual process that helps participants set and reach goals. Usually there is one leader directing the activities and guiding the person(s) to finding their own inner strength to follow through on their dreams.  
Coagulation (Clotting)  
To form a clot to plug an opening in an injured blood vessel and stop bleeding.  
Clotting of blood.  
COBRA Insurance
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 gave employees who leave a company with employer-sponsored group health insurance the right to continue their health insurance coverage for up to eighteen months, if they are willing to pay the entire cost of premiums. Medicare is primary to COBRA insurance.  
Berry-Shaped Bacterium  
Coccyx (Tail Bone)  
The last three or four vertebrae of the spine; the tailbone.  
Cochlea (Inner structure of the ear)  
A cavity of the inner ear resembling a snail shell; houses the hearing receptor.  
Code of conduct
A set of rules designed to address applicable state and federal laws as well as established business and professional ethical standards.  
Code of ethics
Operating principles and behavioral guidelines that members of a profession are expected to uphold.  
Codeine (Rx)
Brand name; Tylenol #3. Generic name; Acetaminophen and Codeine. Classified as a Narcotic. It relieves moderate to severe pain and is used in the treatment of Migraine headaches. It works by changing how your body feels in response to pain. Clients who take Tylenol #3 may experience headache, drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, nausea, or vomiting. It is best to offer water, adjust positioning when needed, and help client on/off the table.
Code Modifier
A specific two-digit code added to CPT-4 (Physician's Current Procedural Terminology, Fourth Edition) main codes or a two-character code added to HCPCS Level 11 and III codes (Health Care Procedural Coding System) to indicate a deviation from the provider's normal fee. Use of a code modifier will keep the specific procedure out of the profile determination calculation.  
Cogentin (Rx)
Brand name; Cogentin. Generic name; Benztropine mesylate. Classified as an Antiparkinson. It increases physical mobility in Parkinson's patients in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. It works by blocking acetylcholine (ACh) which is the neurotransmitter at neuromuscular junctions and at a variety of sites within the central nervous system (CNS). Clients who take Cogentin may experience cardiac complications, confusion, incoherence, dry mouth, or constipation. It is best for a reminder call to be placed for treatment. Abdominal massage might relieve constipation.
Coinsurance Payment
A specified percentage of insurance determined for each service the patient must pay the health care provider.  
Sexual intercourse.  
Colon (Large Intestine)  
Cold zone
A safe area at a hazardous materials incident for the agencies involved in the operations; the incident commander, the command post, EMS providers, and other support functions necessary to control the incident should be located in the cold zone; also referred to as the clean zone or the support zone.  
The protein substance of small connective tissue fibrils that combine to create the connective tissue of fasciae, tendons, and ligaments. When combined with water, it forms gelatin. Collagen constitutes approximately one fourth of the protein in the body.  
Collagenous fibers
Stong fibers with little capacity for stretch. They have a high degree of tensile strength, which allows them to withstand longitudinal stress.  
Branches from an axon that allow communication among neurons.  
Colon (Large Intestine)  
Colorimetric devices
Capnometer or end-tidal carbon dioxide detectors are devices that use a chemical reaction to detect the amount of carbon dioxide present in expired gases by changing colors (qualitative measurement rather than quantitative).  
A surgical procedure to establish an opening between the colon and the surface of the body.  
Deep sleep  
Unconsciousness from which the person cannot be arroused; a state of profound unconsciousness from which one cannot be roused.  
Deep sleep  
Combination Program
A Workers' Compensation term: A mix of different style Workers' Compensation programs from which employers can choose to insure employees against injuries/disorders acquired within the scope of their employment.  
Combined Medical/ Surgical Case
An in-patient hospitalization where the patient was first admitted as a medical case but, after testing, required surgery.  
Combining vowel
A vowel added between two roots or a root and a suffix to make pronunciation of the word easier.  
A multilumen airway device that consists of a single tube with two lumens, two balloons, and two ventilation ports; an alternative airway device if endotracheal intubation is not possible or has failed.  
To care for  
In incident command, the position that oversees the incident, establishes the objectives and priorities, and from there develops a response plan.  
Command post
The location of the incident commander at the scene of an emergency and where command, coordination, control, and communication are centralized.  
Common cold
A viral infection usually associated with swollen nasal mucous membranes and the production of fluid from the sinuses and nose.  
Common Data File
An abstract of all recent insurance claims filed for a patient.  
Commotio cordis
A blunt chest injury caused by a sudden, direct blow to the chest that occurs only during the critical portion of a person's heartbeat.  
Communicable disease
A disease that can be spread from one person or species to another.  
The transmission of information to another person, verbally or through body language.  
Compact (dense) bone
The hard portion of bone that protects spongy bone and provides the firm framework of the bone and the body. The osteocytes in this type of bone are located in concentric rings around a central haversian canal, through which nerves and blood vessels pass.  
Compartment syndrome
Swelling in a confined space that produces dangerous pressure; may cut off blood flow or damage sensitive tissue; frequently seen in fractures below the elbow or knee in children.  
Compazine (Rx)
Brand name; Compazine. Generic name; Prochlorperazine. Classified as an Antipsychotic, Antiemetic, and anxiolytic. It relieves signs and symptoms of psychosis, reduces anxiety, and relieves nausea and vomiting. Is also used for treatment of Migraine headache, and headaches. It works by changing the actions of chemicals in your brain. Clients who take Compazine may experience constipation and dry mouth. It is best to offer water. Abdominal massage may help with constipation.
Compensated shock
The early stage of shock, in which the body can still compensate for blood loss.  
Compensatory damages
Damages awarded in a civil suit that are intended to restore the plaintiff to the same condition that he or she was in prior to the incident complained about in the lawsuit.  
Having requisite or sufficient skill, knowledge, ability, or qualities.  
Able to make rational decisions about personal well-being.  
A group of plasma proteins that normally circulate in inactive forms; when activated by complement fixation, causes lysis of foreign cells and enhances phagocytosis and inflammation.  
Complex access
Complicated entry that requires special tools and training and includes breaking windows or using other force.  
Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD)
A term for those subjected to prolonged, repeated trauma.  
Adherence to applicable laws and standards.  
The ability of the alveoli to expand when air is drawn in during inhalation.  
Substance composed of two or more different elements, the atoms of which are chemically united.  
Comprehensive History and Physical Examination
A CPT or Current Procedural Terminology Evaluation and Management Service requiring a documented patient history that includes the chief complaint; an extended discussion of the history of the present illness; a complete review of the patient's past, family, and social histories; a comprehensive review of all body systems; and an extensive physical examination of either all body systems or a single organ system.  
Comprehensive NFS (Nurse Facility Services) Assessment
A nursing care plan for patients in skilled nursing facilities that includes the patient's functional capacity and identification of potential problems and nursing plan to enhance or maintain the patient's physical and psychosocial functions.  
Comtan (Rx)
Brand name; Comtan. Generic name; Entacapone. Classified as an Antiparkinson. It controls signs and symptoms of Parkinson's disease used for treatment of Parkinson's disease. It works by COMT enzymes (Catechol-O-methyltransferase O=oxygen) inactivating catecholamine neurotransmitters such as dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine allowing other Rx to work properly. Clients who take Comtan may experience anxiety, depression, abdominal pain, constipation, or diarrhea. It is best to perform abdominal massage to help relieve constipation. Offer a calming environment and positive reinforcement in actions and words.
Together; With  
Having a curved or depressed surface.  
Concentric contraction
The action of a prime mover or agonist by which a muscle develops tension as it shortens to provide enough force to overcome resistance, described as positive contraction.  
A temporary loss or alteration of part or all of the brain's abilities to function without actual physical damage to the brain.  
The loss of heat by direct contact (eg. when a body part comes into contact with a colder object).  
Ability to transmit an electrical impulse.  
A rounded articular projection at the end of bone that articulates with another bone.  
Condyloid (condylar) joint
Joint that allows movement in two directions, but one motion predominates. The joint resembles a condyle, which is a rounded protuberance at the end of a bone forming an articulation.  
One of two types of photoreceptor cells in the retina of the eye, provides for color vision.  
The client's guarantee that what occurs in the therapeutic setting remains private and protected.  
A state of disharmony between incompatible or antithetical (directly opposed or contrasted) persons, ideas, or interests; a clash or mutually incompatible.  
Conflict of interest
Circumstances wherein personal interests may conflict with business intrests.  
The act of facing and dealing with a problematic situation.  
Existing at birth.  
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
A disorder in which the heart loses part of its ability to effectively pump blood, usually as a result of damage to the heart muscle and usually resulting in a backup of fluid into the lungs; condition in which the heart is an inadequate pump, causing fluid to build up in the lungs (pulmonary edema) and venous system (distended neck veins); circulation is inadequate to meet tissue needs.  
Conjunctiva (lines the eyelids)  
The delicate membrane that lines the eyelids and covers the exposed surface of the eye; the thin, protective mucous membrane lining the eyelids and covering the anterior surface of the eyeball.  
Inflammation of the conjunctiva.  
Connecting nerves
Nerves in the spinal cord that connect the motor and sensory nerves.  
Connective tissue
The most abundant type of tissue in the body, connective tissue supports and holds together the body and its parts, protects the body from foreign matter, and is organized to transport substance throughout the body; a primary tissue; form and function vary extensively; functions include support, storage, and protection.  
Awareness, aware  
Approve, permit, agree, or comply to render care.  
Harmony of conduct or practice; reliability or uniformity of successive results or events.  
Narrowing, binding  
A meeting with a professional trained in psychological dynamics to obtain advice and insight about a particular client or issue.  
Contact burn
A burn caused by direct contact with a hot object.  
Contact hazard
A hazardous agent that gives off very little or no vapors; the skin is the primary route for this type of chemical to enter the body; also called a skin hazard.  
An infectious disease that can be transmitted to another; communicable; a person who has a contagious disease and can transmit it to another person might be considered "contagious."  
Any vessel or receptacle that holds material, including storage vessels, pipelines, and packaging.  
The presence of infectious organisms or foreign bodies on or in objects such as dressings, water, food, needles, wounds, or a patient's body.  
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)
A method of ventilation used primarily in the treatment of critically ill patients with respiratory distress; can prevent the need for endotracheal intubation.  
Continuous quality improvement (CQI)
A system of internal and external reviews and audits of all aspects of an EMS system.  
Against; Opposite  
The prevention of conception; Birth control  
An agreement between practitioner and client that is often implied rather than explicit about what each will or will not do. An ethical contract must be within the bounds of the practitioner's training and the ethical standards of her or his profession. The client agrees to give specific fees, goods, or services in return and agrees to be respectful of the practitioner's guidelines for appropriate behavior.  
The ability of a muscle to shorten forcibly with adequte stimulation. This property sets muscles apart from all other types of tissue.  
An increase in muscle tension, with or without change in overall length; to shorten or develop tension, an ability highly developed in muscle cells.  
The chronic shortening of a muscle, especially the connective tissue component.  
Contradictory communication
Sending two conflicting messages at the same time.  
Conditions that make a particular medication or treatment inappropriate; for example a condition in which a medication or treatment should not be given because it would not help or may actually harm a patient.  
Opposite; acting in unison with a similar part on the opposite side of the body.  
Contributary negligence
A legal defense that may be raised when the defendant feels that the conduct of the plaintiff somehow contributed to any injuries or damages that were sustained by the plaintiff.  
Control zone
Areas at a hazardous materials incident that are designated as hot, warm, or cold, based on safety issues and the degree of hazard found there.  
To bruise  
Minor damage in the dermal layer of the skin, causing discoloration from blood leaking into the surrounding tissue; a bruise; a bruise from an injury that causes bleeding beneath the skin without breaking the skin.  
The loss of body heat caused by air movement (eg. Breeze blowing across the body).  
Conventional reasoning
A type of reasoning in which a child looks for approval from peers and society.  
Turning toward a common point from different directions.  
Rolled, coiled, or twisted.  
Copyright infringement
Using someone's words or ideas as if they were your own works; reproducing, displaying, distributing, or performing another's work without the permission of the copyright holder.  
Core temperature
The temperature of the central part of the body (eg. The heart, lung, and vital organs.)  
A painful, conical thickening of skin over bony prominences of the feet caused by continued pressure and friction on normally thin skin. Soft corns are those located in moist areas, such as between the toes.  
The transparent anterior portion of the eyeball; the transparent tissue layer in front of the pupil and iris of the eye.  
Coronal axis
A horizontal line extending from left to right formed by the intersection of the frontal or coronal and transverse planes.
Coronal plane
A vertical plane perpendicular to the sagittal plane dividing the body into anterior and posterior portions, also called the frontal plane; an imaginary plane where the body is cut into front and back parts about which movements of ABduction and ADduction take place.
Coronary arteries
The arteries that supply oxygenated blood to the heart muscle itself; they are located in grooves between the atria and ventricles and between the two ventricles; the blood vessels that carry blood and nutrients to the heart muscle.  
Coronary veins
Veins that return the deoxygenated blood from the heart to the right atrium.  
Body; the major portion of an organ.  
The outer surface layer of an organ.  
Cortex, outer Region  
A glucocorticoid, also known as hydrocortisone. Levels of stress often are measured by cortisol levels.  
Pertaining to the ribs.  
Coumadin (Rx)
Brand name; Coumadin. Generic name; Warfarin sodium. Classified as an Anticoagulant. It is used for reducing the blood's ability to clot with post stroke and post cardiac events. It is used to prevent thrombosis and thromboembolism formation and migration. Clients who take Coumadin may experience cramps, anorexia, headache, or mouth sores. It is best to consult the client's primary care provider before massage. Deep tissue techniques are contraindicated and ask about cardiac implants.
When a practitioner allows unresolved feelings and personal issues to influence his or her relationship with a client. The practitioners redirectional (to change the direction or course of) unresolved emotions influencing the client/practitioner relationship.  
Coup-contrecoup injury
Duel impacting of the brain into the skull; coup injury occurs at the point of impact; contrecoup injury occurs on the opposite side of impact, as the brain rebounds.  
Covalent bond
A bond involving the sharing of electrons between atoms.  
Cover and concealment
The tactical use of an impenetrable barrier for protection.  
An act in which the public safety community generally has no prior knowledge of the time, location, or nature of the attack.  
Pertaining to the hip.  
CPR board
A device that provides a firm surface under the patient's torso.  
Low-pitched bubbling sounds produced by fluid in the lower airways; often described as either fine or coarse.  
A spasmodic contraction of one or many muscles, painful muscle spasms or involuntary twitches that involve the whole muscle; painful, involuntary contraction of a muscle.  
Upward, toward the head; pertaining to the skull.  
Cranial nerves
Twelve pairs of nerves that originate from the offactory bulbs, thalamus, visual cortex, and brainstem. They transmit information to and from the sensory organs of the face and the muscles of the face, neck, and upper shoulders; the 12 pairs of nerves that arise from the brain.  
Mixture; Temperament  
The slow movement of viscoelastic materials back to their original state and tissue structure after release of a deforming force.  
The shriveling of a cell, for example an erythrocyte, resulting from loss of water.  
An audible and/or palpable crunching during movement of tendon or ligaments over bone.  
A grating or grinding sensation caused by fractured bone ends or joints rubbing together; also air bubbles under the skin that produce a crackling sound or crinkly feeling.  
Cricoid cartilage
A firm ridge of cartilage that forms the lower part of the larynx.  
Cricothyroid membrane
A thin sheet of fascia that connects the thyroid and cricoid cartilages that make up the larynx.  
To secrete; Separate  
To separate  
Crisis, dangerous  
Critical incident stress management (CISM)
A process that confronts the responses to critical incidents and defuses them, directing the emergency services personnel toward physical and emotional equilibrium.  
Occurs when a person is contaminated by an agent as a result of coming into contact with another contaminated person.  
An inflammatory disease of the upper respiratory system that may cause a partial airway obstruction and is characterized by a barking cough; usually seen in children.  
The appearance of the infant's head at the vaginal opening during labor.  
Pertaining to the leg.  
Crush syndrome
Significant metabolic derangement that develops when crushed extremities or body parts remain trapped for prolonged periods; can lead to renal failure and death.  
Crushing injury
An injury that occurs when a great amount of force is applied to the body.  
A developmental defect in which the testes fail (or one testis fails) to descend into the scrotum.  
Neck area; common term in vehicle extrication trauma patient care; short for cervical spine.  
Elbow, forearm  
Cultural imposition
When one person imposes his or her beliefs, values, and practices on another because he or she believe his or her ideals are superior.  
Cumulative stress reactions
Prolonged or excessive stress.  
A domelike structure.  
Cushing's syndrome
A disease produced by excess secretion of adrenocortical hormone; characterized by adipose tissue accumulation, weight gain, and osteoporosis.  
Cushion of safety
Keeping a safe distance between your vehicle and other vehicles on any side of you.  
Referring to the skin.  
Cutaneous membrane
The skin; composed of epidermal and dermal layers.  
An agent that affects the body's ability to use oxygen; a colorless gas that has an odor similar to almonds; affects begin on the cellular level and are very rapidly seen at the organ and system levels.  
Slightly bluish, grayish, slatelike, or dark purple discoloration of the skin caused by a deficiency of oxygen and excess of carbon dioxide in the blood; a bluish gray skin color that is caused by a reduced level of oxygen in the blood.  
Ciliary body of eye; Cycle; Circle  
Cyclobenzaprine hydrochloride (Rx)
Brand name; Flexeril. Generic name; Cyclobenzaprine hydrochloride. Classified as a Skeletal muscle relaxant. It relieves muscle spasm in the treatment of Degenerative disc disease (DDD), Fibromyalgia, and muscle spasm. It works by blocking nerve impulses (or pain sensations) that are trying to be sent to the brain. Clients who take Flexeril may experience tachycardia, drowsiness, dry mouth, or constipation. It is best to use deep tissue massage techniques with caution. Abdominal massage might relieve constipation. Offer water during session and help the client on/off the table.
Portable, compressed gas containers used to hold liquids and gases. Uninsultaed compressed gas cylinders are used to store substances such as nitrogen, argon, helium, and oxygen. They have a range of sizes and internal pressures.  
Cymbalta (Rx)
Brand name; Cymbalta. Generic name; Duloxetine. Classified as a Selective Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor (SSNRI) and Antidepressant. It relieves general anxiety disorders and depression in the treatment of major depressive and general anxiety disorders, and neuropathy. It works by affecting chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and cause depression. Clients who take Cymbalta may experience slow reaction time, dulled thinking, mild nausea, dry mouth, gas, or constipation. It is best to place a reminder call the day before the appointment if needed. Offer water and be patient during the intake interview. Abdominal massage may help relieve constipation.
Urinary bladder; Cyst; Sac of fluid  
An inflammation of the urinary bladder.  
Division of cytoplasm that occurs after the cell nucleus has divided.  
The science concerned with the study of cells.  
Material enclosed by the cell membrane, the substance of a cell other than that of the nucleus.  
Condition of cells; Slight increase in numbers  
A fremework of proteins inside the cell providing flexibility and strength.  
The fluid that surrounds the nucleus or organelles inside the cell membrane.  
Cytotoxic T cell
Effector T cell that directly kills foreign cells; also called a killer T cell.  




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