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Glossary of terms

Below you will find a break down of terms and abbreviations you might come across whilst using the Persistent Pain Service.

Term - Definition

Persistent or chronic pain - Long term pain that continues after healing has occurred, often lasting greater than 3 months.

Acute pain - Short term pain often following an injury.

Neuropathic pain - Pain which comes from the nerves.

Nociceptive pain - Pain mainly from ligaments, muscles or joints.

Pacing - Is a way of managing daily activities which helps to avoid pain flare-up and promotes optimal engagement in meaningful activity.

Boom/Bust cycle - Describes a period of over activity followed by pain flare-up, resulting in enforced rest and reduced activity. This may lead to future avoidance of meaningful activity.

Titration - Is the process of gradually increasing or decreasing the dose of a medication.

Osteophytes - Extra bone growths found in joints.

Vertebrae - Bones of the spine.

Cervical spine - Term used to describe the neck. Made up of 7 vertebrae.

Thoracic spine - Middle section of the back between the cervical and lumbar area.  Made up of 12 vertebrae.

Lumbar spine - Lower back area. Made up of 5 vertebrae.

Epidurals - Epidurals are injections into the spine given for the relief of leg pains.

Facet Joints  - Are the small joints in the back where one vertebrae sits on another.

SI joints - The sacroiliac joint is where two of the pelvic bones, the sacrum and the Ilium meet at the bottom of the spine.

Coccyx - Bone at the bottom of the spine sometimes called the tailbone.

Discs - Discs are shock-absorbing pads between the vertebrae. They are sometimes referred to as intervertebral discs.

Spinal stenosis - A Narrowing of the spine which puts pressure on the nerves.

Scoliosis - A sideways curvature of the spine. 

Kyphosis - Is a curvature of the thoracic spine which results in an abnormal rounding of the upper back.

Spondylosis - Is a term used to describe spinal osteoarthritis

Spondylolisthesis - A condition in which one vertebra moves out of alignment with another. Most commonly affecting the last two vertebrae of the spine.

Allodynia  - Pain that occurs due to a stimulus that is not normally painful. For example, the light touch of clothing brushing against the skin.

Osteoarthritis - Is a condition that causes pain and stiffness in joints as a result of changes to the cartilage covering bones. It is often felt in the large joints such as knees and hips.

Rheumatoid Arthritis - Is an autoimmune disease . This means your immune system –which usually fights infections –attacks cells that line joints. It may cause pain and swelling of small joints in the hands and feet initially.

Fibromyalgia - Is a condition that causes widespread body pain and fatigue. 


Abbreviation - Definition

LBP - Low back Pain

DDD - Degenerative disc disease 

FM - Fibromyalgia

RA - Rheumatoid arthritis

OA - Osteoarthritis 

GP - General Practitioner

CBT - Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

AMG - Activity Management Group.

PMP - Pain management Programme

CRPS - Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

NICE - National Institute of Clinical Excellence

WHO - World Health Organisation

TENS - Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation

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