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Glossary of Terms

Acute Inflammation

Several noxious stimuli, such as infection and tissue damage, cause an immediate, adaptive response with limited specificity.

Acute Pain

The pain that is felt immediately after injury.


Pain or hypersensitivity, generally on the skin, is caused by a stimulus that usually wouldn't cause pain, i.e. a breeze, a light touch, pressure from clothing, sound, vibration, water, etc.


The partial or complete waste of a part of the body can be caused by loss of nerve supply to the target organ.


Occurring involuntarily or spontaneously.

Autonomic Dysfunction

The involuntary dysfunction of the body, such as altered sweating, changes in skin colour or temperature, etc.

Brain Fog

The clouding of consciousness. An abnormality in the regulation of the overall level of consciousness that is mild and less severe than delirium.

Central Nervous System

The part of the nervous system comprises the brain and the spinal cord.

Central Sensitisation

A state in which the central nervous system amplifies sensory input across many organ systems.


Something that continues over an extended period.

Chronic Inflammation

Refers to a response by your immune system that sticks around long after infection or injury.


(See Central Nervous System above).


Difficult to understand or find an answer to because of having many different parts.

Contralateral Spread

The mirror image spread to the same area on the opposite side of the body.


Complex Regional Pain Syndrome


The medical term for when the skin, lips or nails turn blue due to a lack of oxygen in the blood.


The decline in physical function results from physical inactivity, bed rest, or an extremely sedentary lifestyle.


Classified as a mood disorder, depression may be described as feelings of sadness, loss or anger that interfere with a person's everyday activities.


A treatment technique used to modify how sensitive an area is to particular stimuli.


A disability is any condition of the body or mind (impairment) that makes it difficult for the person with the condition to do certain activities (activity limitation) and interact with the world around them (participation restrictions).


Having a physical or mental condition that limits their movement, senses, or activities.


A neurological movement disorder in which sustained muscle contractions cause twisting and repetitive movements or abnormal postures.


Abnormal tonicity of muscle, characterised by prolonged, repetitive muscle contractions that may cause twisting or jerking movements of the body or body part.

Graded Motor Imagery (GMI)

A rehabilitation process that is used to treat pain and movement disorders related to altered nervous systems is exercising the brain in measured and monitored steps, increasing difficulty as progress is made.


An increased sensitivity to feeling pain and an extreme response to pain.


A decreased perception of innocuous stimuli.


A key aspect of the body's immune defences. It can be acute or chronic, and symptoms can include swelling, heat, pain and more.


A sleep disorder is when people cannot fall asleep, stay asleep or wake up too early.

Intrathecal Pump

An Intrathecal Pump, also known as a pain pump, is a surgically implanted device that delivers medication directly to the fluid surrounding the spinal cord.

Ipsilateral Spread

It is spreading on the same side.


Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic used medically for induction and maintenance of anesthesia. It is also used as a treatment for depression and pain management.


Lidocaine belongs to the family of medicines called local anesthetics. This medicine prevents pain by blocking the signals at the nerve endings in the skin.

Mirror Box Therapy

Part of the Graded Motor Imagery technique. A mirror is used to create a reflective illusion of an affected limb in order to trick the brain into thinking the movement has occurred without pain or to create positive visual feedback of a limb's movement.


Mottled is a pattern of irregular marks, spots, streaks, blotches or patches of different shades or colours.


Conditions that affect the bones, muscles, joints and certain connective tissues are known as musculoskeletal conditions.


The sensory fibres respond to stimuli that are potentially damaging to the organism.


Is a build-up of fluid in the body that causes the affected tissue to become swollen.


A clinical term used to describe a decrease in bone mineral density (BMD) below normal reference values yet not low enough to meet the diagnostic criteria to be considered osteoporotic.


A term created by people living with chronic pain to describe difficulty falling or staying asleep due to chronic pain

Pathophysiologic Changes

Abnormal changes in body functions are the causes, consequences, or concomitants of a disease process.

Peripheral Nerves

Your peripheral nervous system (PNS) is that part of your nervous system that lies outside your brain and spinal cord. It plays a crucial role in sending information from different areas of your body back to your brain and carrying out commands from your brain to varying parts of your body.


Medical treatment or operation.

Range of Motion (ROM)

Refers to how far you can move or stretch a part of your body, such as a joint or a muscle.


A condition in which some areas of the body feel numb and cool in response to cold temperatures and stress.

Sensory Hyperesthesia

Sensitivity to loud noises and bright lights.


The part of the sensory system concerned with the conscious perception of touch, pressure, pain, temperature, position, movement, and vibration.

Spinal Cord Stimulator (SCS)

An implanted device that sends low levels of electricity directly into the spinal cord to relieve pain.


Spoonie is a term coined by a chronic illness blogger who used spoons to demonstrate how much energy a person with a chronic illness has daily and how much is used doing simple tasks like washing or getting dressed.


A mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.


The automatic nervous system controls sweat gland activity in response to various environmental and individual factors.

Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS)

It is best known for its role in responding to dangerous or stressful situations. In these situations, your sympathetic nervous system activates to speed up your heart rate and deliver more blood to areas of your body that need more oxygen or other responses to help you escape danger.


A loss of consciousness for a short period of time – fainting or passing out.


A physical injury or a deeply distressing or disturbing event.

Trophic changes

A term used to describe abnormalities in the area of pain that include primarily wasting away of the skin, tissues, or muscles, thinning of the bones, and changes in how the hair or nails grow, including thickening or thinning of hair or brittle nails.


The narrowing (constriction) of blood vessels by small muscles in their walls.


The widening (dilation) of the blood vessels is achieved by the relaxation of the muscles in their walls.

Vasomotor Instability

Is the body's inability to regulate the dilation and constriction of blood vessels. Expected consequences include hot flushes, unstable blood pressure, skin blotching, and defective temperature regulation.


The puncturing of a vein during blood extraction or intravenous injection.

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