glossary 2018-01-03T23:16:11+00:00

YR&B Glossary

This is a basic reference with short descriptions. For more thorough definitions, we highly recommend
consulting other resources online and in print.


a commonly used movement test to classify lumbar-

Increasing range of motion through voluntary contraction.

The part of the nervous system that brings information about the body to the brain.

a ligament in the knee and is one of the tissues connecting the femur to the tibia. It keeps the tibia from moving excessively anteriorly as well as rotating medially.

the amount of lateral force at the knee joint. It’s the most direct loading mechanism of the ACL and thought to be a probable component of ACL injury.

the process by which someone learns an association between two stimuli, or a behavior and a stimulus.

Receiving feedback from an extrinsic source outside of the body.

The branch of the nervous system not under conscious control, including breathing, heart rate, and digestion.


The baroreflex regulates blood pressure (BP) by controlling heart rate (HR), heart contractility, and venous/arterial resistance. Low sensitivity may identify a prognosis of a diminished capacity to adjust HR as needed whereas high sensitivity as generally seen as an indicator of cardiac health.

considered the gold standard and the most used in classifying generalized joint hypermobility (GJH) from infancy to old age. It consists of five clinical maneuvers performed bilaterally, in which a positive score in ≥4 joints indicates the presence of GJH. The higher the score, the higher the laxity.

  • One point is given if palms touch the floor in a standing forward bend with legs straight.
  • One point for each elbow that bends backwards
  • One point for each knee that bends backwards
  • One point for each thumb that touches the forearm when bent backwards
  • One point for each little finger that bends backwards beyond 90 degrees.

a set of clinical criteria and morphological features used for diagnosing Hypermobility Syndrome (HMS)  that includes a Beighton score of 4 or higher and joint pain in 4 or more joints for more than 3 months. It can also include abnormalities in the skin, marfanoid habitus and other signs of tissue laxity.

A yoga method franchised by Bikram Choudry. It’s described as a type of hatha yoga characterized by a set series of postures and breathing exercises, performed in a room heated to a very high temperature. Standard Bikram yoga classes are 90 minutes, 105 degrees, 40% humidity and repeats a series of 26 poses.

of or relating to an experiment or clinical trial in which the researchers but not the subjects know which subjects are receiving the active medication or treatment and which are not: a technique for eliminating subjective bias, as the placebo effect, from the test results.

when a learner performs a single skill over and over, with repetition being the key. Variance in training is minimized or nonexistent. The learner then moves on to practice another discrete skill in the same way.

a measurement of mineral density of bones.


complementary alternative medicine treatment

a Brazilian martial art that incorporates elements of dance, acrobatic movements, jumps, and landings. (Similar to gymnasts, these athletes may be more susceptible to lower limb injuries due to the high impact jumps and landings.)

The activity of the vagus nerve, a key component of the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system, and its influence on heart rate.

a medical condition in which the median nerve is compressed in the wrist and can cause tingling, pain and numbness in the upper extremity. It is often a result of repetitive stress and overuse.

a condition of the nervous system that involves chronic pain. When central sensitization occurs, the nervous system goes through a process called “wind-up” and stays in a persistent state of high reactivity.

Recurring ankle sprains that may or may not include functional impairments. Lateral ankle sprains are very common in people who are physically active. 73% of those who have had ankle sprains may develop chronic ankle instability.

A category of interventions to be distinguished from conventional therapies or medicines. Often called alternative or integrative health or abbreviated as CAM (complementary and alternative medicines).

feedback without delay. In the moment you receive feedback and can correct right then and there. 

The learning benefit that results from practicing task variants in a random practice order.

A group of people in a study that do not receive the same treatment  (intervention) as another group in the same study. The purpose of having a control group is to give more reliable data with which to compare results. For example, a study on the effect of yoga on cardiovascular health could have two groups, giving one group the yoga program and the other group another exercise program.

A factor that could influence the results in the study and is therefore excluded from the study.

Those that have generalized joint hypermobility (GJH) but don’t have chronic musculoskeletal complaints lasting longer than 3 months. GJH is very common in athletes, dancers, martial artists, and gymnasts. They are at more risk for musculoskeletal pain but are high functioning in performance and motor control. Poor proprioception may be present as well as other symptoms of GJH.

muscles around the lumbo-pelvic area that help maintain a neutral position of the spine, which is thought to be more stable. These muscles also help generate force from the trunk to the limbs.

Isolated exercises that are said to work the deep muscles of the spine (TVA and multifidus), integrated into exercise, and then progressed into functional activity.

Aka hydrocortisone. A glucocorticoid produced by the adrenal glands that is involved in metabolic processes, immune functions, and suppressing the inflammatory response. It becomes elevated in the blood during physical or psychological stress.

A study that collects and analyzes data from a population, or a representative subset, at a specific point in time.

Substances that are secreted by cells of the immune system. They have an effect on other cells. The three cytokines they analyzed in this study were interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumour necrosis factor (TNF), and C-reactive protein (CRP). These are some of the inflammation markers that can be measured and analyzed.


an epigenetic change that has a role in regulating gene expression and is studied due its potential effects on a wide range of conditions and diseases. Methylation is part of a larger field of science – epigenetics. DNA methylation occurs when DNA expressions (not the DNA code itself) are altered by epigenetics. Factors such as nutrition, environment, experience, exercise, and aging affect methylation – whether the genes are turned “on” or “off”.

when the brain decide what to do with the sensory inputs. How to respond by sending a pain signal or ignore.

A synthetic corticosteroid, used as an anti-inflammatory.

an experimental procedure in which neither the subjects of the experiment nor the persons administering the experiment know the critical aspects of the experiment; “a double-blind procedure is used to avoid experimenter bias and placebo effects.”

(occurs when the lower extremity moves medially) is believed to increase ligamentous, tendinous, articular strain. This may lead to pain and injury to the tissue.


Strength training that emphasizes resisting gravity and maintaining load while the muscle is lengthening. Example: One action of the hamstring is to flex the knee. This is the concentric action of the muscle. If the lower leg resists the movement of straightening the knee, that would be the eccentric aspect of strength. During running, the hamstring eccentrically works to slow down the forward motion of the leg that is moving forward.

The part of the nervous system that brings information from the brain to the body

a collection of heritable connective tissue disorders thought to alter the biology of collagen in the body (the most abundant protein), which can lead to multi-systemic symptoms, such as: hypermobile joints and soft, stretchy skin, easy bruising, easy wounding, poor wound healing and/or atrophic scarring.

within the Ehlers–Danlos spectrum, a similar subcategory of patients having similar clinical features as HMS but lacking a specific genetic profile.

the amount of energy or calories the body needs in order to complete a physical task. Daily energy expenditure (TDEE) is the total number of calories you burn daily.

Estradiol is a steroid and the primary female sex hormone. ACL has a receptor for this so the estradiol has been found to affect the integrity of the ligament.

Standardized and quality controlled yoga intervention led by screened instructor in a regulated setting


The definition of fascia continues to evolve as more research comes out. Robert Schleip describes it as a “body wide tensional network which consists of all fibrous collagenous soft connective tissues.” The continuous network envelops and connects all muscles and organs. Fascia comes in a variety of densities, shapes, striations, and architectures due to all of the different tensional strains that are put on the tissue.

At the end of a max inhale a person is told to breathe out as hard as they can. The volume exhaled in that 1st second is the FEV1. Usually considered with FVC as a ratio (FEV1 /FVC). With a condition like asthma (obstructive disease) it is harder to exhale a large volume in that first second so the ratio is a lower value than normal. This test is used to assess overall pulmonary function.

This is measured after a max inhale; the person exhales as hard and fast as they can.

A forest plot is a graphical representation of a meta-analysis. It is usually accompanied by a table listing references (author and date) of the studies included in the meta-analysis.

The afferent nerve ending of a sensory neuron


common with people who have chronic pain. It’s a prevalent clinical characteristic that is present in 2%–57% (that’s a huge range) of the healthy population and is dependent on age, sex, and ethnicity. Because clinicians are not as aware of GJH-related chronic pain, patients tend to search for years before being diagnosed.

In physics, and in particular in biomechanics, the ground reaction force is the force exerted by the ground on a body in contact with it.


one of the most common injuries in high speed running. They have a 20-33% recurrence rate. Hamstring strains often occur in stretched positions.

Bone to bone contact in the hip

increased sensitivity to pain

When generalized joint hypermobility is accompanied by pain in 4 or more joints for more than 3 months.

The interaction of the hypothalamus gland, pituitary gland, and adrenal gland, and their influence on stress, digestion, the immune system, mood and emotions, and energy storage and expenditure.


of unknown etiology (cause)

a protective biological response to potentially harmful stimuli. Inflammation is a stage of the biological healing process. It becomes a problem when it becomes chronic.

Relying on personal internal feedback which we rely on a lot in yoga.

an approach to Hatha yoga that emphasizes structural alignment of the body based on the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar. The method is progressive and postures are adapted to meet the needs of the individual. Creative use of props to adapt the pose is common.



The study of describing movement and motion (acceleration, displacement, time, velocity, etc.). It does not take account for what caused the movement. It’s sometimes referred to as the geometry of motion as it more specifically studies joint positions, angles, and acceleration during movement.

The study of forces that act on mass and cause motion (torque, gravity, friction, etc.).

characterized by hip adduction and internal rotation (think knees going inwards, or knock kneed during landing or squatting).

Was founded in 1965 by Amrit Desai. It is a form of gentle yoga similar to Hatha using standard yoga poses, breathwork, meditation, and mindfulness.


A test commonly used in clinical setting to assess movement quality.

The proportion of a population that at some point in their life (up to the time of assessment) have experienced the condition. Prevalence estimates are used by epidemiologists, health care providers, government agencies, and insurers.

A literature review is a critical analysis of previously published research on a specific topic.

When we ambulate through the world our brain stores up a cache of “movement memory” created from our previous experience as well as from observing the movement of others. This storage of movement patterns first helps us to be as efficient as possible while moving around. Secondly it helps in being prepared physically for a possibly hazardous environment. When we encounter an escalator or moving sidewalk, previously the movement experience with the escalator was filed away so we can call upon the movement strategy that we used before, not having to figure it out from scratch and keeps us from toppling over when we go on the moving surface. Studies have shown when people walk onto an escalator and it’s not moving, our body still reacts as if there is going to be movement. We automatically go to the stored movement in our brains and anticipate a moving surface making us do a bit of a shimmy before we realize that the escalator is not moving. This effect has been termed the “broken escalator paradigm”, or locomotor aftereffect (LAE).

An observational study in which data is gathered from the same subjects repeatedly over a period of time. These studies can be for extended periods of time – months, years.

A previous study by Gallagher et al. has found that under a 2-hour standing protocol of people with no history of back pain 40-60% of them will develop pain (Pain developers (PD) after the 2 hours of standing. The others are deemed non-pain developers (NPD). They found that PD’s also had a relaxation of gluteal muscles in the standing experiment.


A genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue. Marfan syndrome is caused by a defect (or mutation) in the gene that tells the body how to make fibrillin-1. This mutation results in an increase in a protein called transforming growth factor beta.

The subject contracts a specific muscle or group of muscles as hard as possible. This contraction is measured, often with a handheld dynamometer.

(more correctly, ‘difference in means’) is a standard statistic that measures the absolute difference between the mean value in two groups in a clinical trial. It estimates the amount by which the experimental intervention changes the outcome on average compared with the control. Mean is sum divided by the count.

Sensory receptors that respond to a mechanical stimulus, such as pressure or tension.

Online databases that hold biomedical and life sciences journal citations and abstracts.

Quantitative review of research results from multiple studies to derive conclusions on the collective body of research.

A single MET is defined as the amount of oxygen a person consumes (or the energy expended) per unit of body weight during 1 minute of rest.

Clustering of metabolic changes including abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, low HDL-cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar.

Balance evaluation systems test. This 14 task evaluation assesses 6 different areas that influence balance, stability, postural responses, sensory orientation, dynamic balance during gait and cognitive effects. Each task is scored 0 to 2 with a max score of 28. Things like standing on one leg, seeing the quality of how they fall, standing with eyes opened and closed, and the get up and go test (TUG), are some of the tasks in this evaluation.

A set of processes associated with practice or experience leading to relatively permanent changes in movement capability.


Using active and passive movements to restore and improve mobility in common postures and during extremity movements.

Specialized peripheral sensory neurons known that alert us to potentially damaging stimuli at the skin by detecting extremes in temperature and pressure and injury-related chemicals, and transducing these stimuli into long-ranging electrical signals that are relayed to higher brain centers.

Lower back pain that does not have a pathology. It does not have a diagnosis. NSLBP is sometimes defined as pain or stiffness between the bottom ribs and buttock crease, with or without leg pain. Approximately 80% of the population experiences LBP. 90% of acute episodes recover within 6 weeks.

A statement that suggests nothing interesting is happening.  The researcher tries to disprove, reject or nullify this statement. The ‘null’ often refers to the common view of something, while the alternative hypothesis is what the researcher really thinks is the cause of a phenomenon.


A genetic bone disorder characterized by fragile bones that break easily. It is also known as “brittle bone disease.”

Precursor to bone loss with lower BMD than normal but not less than an osteoporosis diagnosis.

A condition of decreased bone mass with a bone mineral density T-score that ranges from -1.0 to -2.5. This leads to fragile bones which are more at risk for fractures.

The amount of load or resistance, providing a greater stress, or load, on the body than it is normally accustomed to in order to create a desired outcome such as increased strength or bone density. Progression is the way in which an individual should increase the load.


A probability value calculated from data in the study that shows strength of evidence for or against the null hypothesis.

  • A small p-value (typically ≤ 0.05) indicates strong evidence against the null hypothesis, so you reject the null hypothesis.
  • A large p-value (> 0.05) indicates weak evidence against the null hypothesis, so you fail to reject the null hypothesis.
  • p-values very close to the cutoff (0.05) are considered to be marginal (could go either way). Always report the p-value so your readers can draw their own conclusions.

Increasing range of motion through passive resistance.

Assessed like FVC but measuring the flow rate of air exhaled.

A small scale preparatory study that assesses feasibility, time, cost, and effect size. Pilot studies are crucial for good study design and useful for improving upon related future studies.

The number of persons with disease in a time interval (eg, one year) divided by number of persons in the population; that is, prevalence at the beginning of an interval plus any incident cases.

Originally a rehabilitation technique developed over 50 years ago, today’s version of PNF usually involves isometrically contracting a muscle, followed by relaxing the muscle, allowing an increase in range of motion. PNF was initially used in diagonal patterns in order to lengthen the muscle group as much as possible and incorporate the stretch reflex.

A prospective study watches a cohort (a group of people with a commonality) for the development of certain outcomes over a defined study period (usually long) and attempts to establish risk factors and/or protections factors of these outcomes.

Related to social factors and individual thoughts and behaviors.


A fancy tool used to perform kinematic assessments.


A study where the subjects are selected by chance (randomly) to participate in an intervention and compared to one or more groups of subjects, one of which participated in no intervention at all (control group).

Involves repeated observations of the same sequence of treatments over long periods of time as well as randomly assigning interventions to the subjects. It’s said that randomized studies provide high reliability and validity to statistical estimates.

In sports and particularly exercise testing, the Borg RPE Scale measures perceived exertion. In medicine this is used to document the patient’s exertion during a test, and sports coaches use the scale to assess the intensity of training and competition. The RPE scale is used to measure the perceived intensity of your exercise and runs from 0 – 10.

Non-standardized and variable yoga sequences and instruction you may encounter out in the world

The strength of the breathing muscles is assessed by inhaling (Maximum inspiratory pressure – MIP) or exhaling (maximum expiratory pressure – MEP) against an obstructed airway piece and measuring the pressure reached.

range of motion in joints


Lateral curve of the spine

A form of occupational therapy in which special exercises are used to strengthen the patient’s sense of touch (tactile), sense of balance (vestibular), and sense of where the body and its parts are in space (proprioceptive).

The process used by researchers to determine whether the null hypothesis is rejected, in favor of the alternative research hypothesis, or not. The test involves comparing the observed values with theorized values.

occur in joints and ligaments.

occur in tendons and muscles.


A statistical examination commonly used to determine if the mean of a population significantly differs from a specific value (called the hypothesized mean) or from the mean of another population.


Ujjayi breathing is a commonly practiced form of slow breathing coupled with a glottis muscle contraction to provide resistance in the respiratory passageway.


A measurement of Oxygen intake and use. Measured in millilitres per kilogramme of body weight per minute (ml O2/kg/min).

A measurement of the highest amount of oxygen taken in and used during a maximal exertion test (usually on treadmills or cycle ergometers).

The maximum voluntary ventilation (MVV) is the max amount of air that can be inhaled and exhaled within one minute.

A measurement tool that attempts to get a value for a subjective experience like pain. With pain, a person is shown a sheet of paper with a line on it that notes minimum on one side, and max on the other and told to evaluate and mark their pain along that line.

After a max inhale, the person exhales slowly and not forcibly.


A group of participants included in a study that is assigned to a temporary waiting list that later receives intervention after the active treatment group. It is not an active control group which would receive a placebo treatment. It is not considered to be as reliable as active control groups however it is often used in psychological studies.

Established in the 1890s by German anatomist Julius Wolff, bone grows and remodels in response to the forces that are placed upon it. After injury to bone, placing specific stress in specific directions to the bone can help it remodel and become normal healthy bone again. If gradually increase load on a particular bone over time, the bone will remodel itself over time to become stronger to resist that sort of loading.