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Pain and suffering terms defined

Pain and suffering terms defined

Air hungPain and sufferinger-gasping for breath

Allodynia-pain provoked by an innocuous mechanical or thermal stimulus

Breakthrough pain-pain that increases above the level of pain relieved by the ongoing analgesics

Central pain-pain that is started or caused by a primary lesion of dysfunction in the central nervous system

Crescendo pain-a period of rapid pain escalation often associated with increasing distress and functional impairment

Dysesthias-burning, tingling pain

Dyspnea-difficulty breathing

Hyperalgesia-a lowered threshold to a normally painful stimulus and enhanced pain perception

Hyperpathia-an increased pain threshold, but once exceeded, pain reaches maximum intensity too rapidly

Intractable-symptom that cannot be relieved

Lancinating-knifelike or stabbing pain

Neuralgia-pain in the distribution of a nerve, such as sciatica, often felt as an electrical, shock-like pain

Neuropathic-pain generated when nerve roots or central pain pathways are damaged

Nocioceptive pain–pain resulting from the ongoing stimulation of nerves by noxious stimuli

Noxious stimulus- a stimulus that is damaging or potentially damaging to normal tissue, such as pinching a shoulder

Odynophagia-a severe sensation of burning squeezing pain while swallowing.


pain relievers, narcotics

Opiophobia- the aversion of a health care professional to properly use opioids to control pain

Paresthesia-includes sensations of numbness, prickling, tingling and heightened sensitivity


sudden, periodic attacks or recurrences

Projectile-vomiting that is so forceful that it travels several inches out of the mouth

Psychogenic-pain presumed to exist when no neuropathic mechanism can be identified, term that has a negative connotationSomatic-

the pain of the musculoskeletal system

Supratentorial pain–a derogatory term to suggest that no physical cause exists for the pain or that the patient is lying about the pain, literally it is all in the head

Tabetic pain–sharp, lighting-type pain also called lancinating pain

Visceral pain-pain in the body’s internal organs


Furrow, B. Failure to treat pain: no more excuses, TRIAL, October 2002

McCaffery, M and Pasero, C. Pain Clinical Manual, Mosby, St. Louis, Second Edition, 1999

Mosby’s Medical, Nursing, and Allied Health Dictionary, Sixth Edition, Mosby, St. Louis, 2002

Schwartzman, R. and Maleki, J, Postinjury neuropathic pain syndromes, Medical Clinics of North America, Vol. 83, No. 3, May 1999

See Medical Legal Aspects of Pain and Suffering for more information.

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