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Glossary of Medical Terms

Abnormal Illness Behaviour: is a term coined to refer to a group of psychopathological conditions in which an individual presents with illness behaviour considered out of keeping with the objective evidence for the illness

Aggravation: a circumstance of event that permanently worsens a condition

Ankylosis: immobility and consolidation of a joint due to disease, injury, or surgical procedure.

Exacerbation: worsening of a condition temporarily that eventually returns to base line

Causality: each of the following has occurred with a reasonable degree of medical certainty; a causal event took place, the patient experiencing the event has the condition, the event could cause the condition, the event caused or materially contributed to the condition with medical probability

Whiplash: a soft tissue flexion extension injury to the cervical spine thought to cause disruption to ligaments that support the facet joints.

Body Mass Index Under 18.5 – very underweight and possibly malnourished, 18.5 to 24.9 – healthy weight range for young and middle-aged adults, 25.0 to 29.9 – you overweight, over 30  obese.

Facet Joints / Zygoapophyseal Joints: small joints between the articular processes of the vertebral bodies of the spine that may give rise to localised or referred pain.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome: a disorder of the central or peripheral nervous system that affect the affect motor , sensory and autonomic nerves.

Chronic Pain Syndrome:  a term which had come into common parlance. Although not an official  nomenclature, it is frequently used to describe an individual impaired by chronic pain with substantial psychological overlay.

Central Pain Syndrome: is a neurological condition caused by damage to or dysfunction of the central nervous system (CNS), which includes the brain, brainstem, and spinal cord. This syndrome can be caused by stroke, multiple sclerosis, tumors, epilepsy, brain or spinal cord trauma, or Parkinson’s disease.

Neuropathic Pain: Neuropathic pain is defined by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) as pain arising as a direct consequence of a lesion or disease affecting the somatosensory system.

Nociceptive Pain: Nociceptive pain is caused by an injury that stimulates pain receptors which recognize and react to a stimulus (pressure, extreme temperatures, irritating substances released by other cells) and send pain signals through the nervous system for recognition and response to an injury or the possibility for injury.

Hyperaesthesia: A state of abnormally increased sensitivity to stimuli

Prolotherapy: A “alternative” non proven treatment by which an irritant injection is used to cause tissue regeneration.

Somatoform Pain Disorder:  According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM-IV), Somatoform disorders are characterised by the occurrence of one or more physical complaints for which appropriate medical evaluation reveals no explanatory physical pathology or pathophysiologic mechanism or when pathology is present, the physical complaints or resulting impairment are grossly in excess of what would be expected from the physical findings.

Spinal Cord Stimulation: treatment for persisting pain in which a flexible metal electrode is placed close to the spine that by delivering low level electric current provides pain relief by ‘modulating’ the pain pathways within the spinal cord.

Drug Addiction: when a medication is taken for a purpose other than its intended therapeutic use

Drug Tolerance: a process whereby the effects of a medication diminish over time as a result increased clearance of the drug by the body through increase metabolism of the medication or increased clearence of medication.

Intrathecal Drug Delivery: drugs usually opiates, local anaesthestic agents are slowly released into the fluid around the spinal cord. Because drug are more potent when delivered in this way bettwe pain relief can be achieved with fewer side effects.

Radiofrequency Neurotomy: electrical current is used to ‘cauterise’ a nerve thereby interupting the transmission of pain. This technique can produce pain relief lasting for several months before the nerve re grows and the proceedure may have to be repeated.

Facet Joint Injection: injection into a facet joint of local anaesthetic and/or corticosteroid medication. This procedure may be used to identify which joints are producting pain or it may be used to treat pain arising from the facet joints.

Psychosocial Disorder: a psychosocial disorder is a mental illness caused or influenced by life experiences as well as maladjusted cognitive and behavioural and processes.

Psychosocial Factors: Social factors include general factors at the level of human society concerned with social structure and social processes that impinge on the individual. Psychological factors include individual-level processes and meanings that influence mental states. Sometimes, these words are combined as “psychosocial.” This is shorthand term for the combination of psychological and social, but it also implies that the effect of social processes are sometimes mediated through psychological understanding.