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  • Acute pain Pain of recent and sudden onset; typically high-intensity pain localized at or near the site of injury.

  • Allodynia Extreme sensitivity to an innocuous stimulus (such as light touch or cold); pain from sunburn is a common example.

  • Anterior cingulate cortex Frontal part of cingulate cortex in the brain; plays a role in cognitive functions such as reward anticipation, decision making, empathy, and emotion.

  • Benign pain Temporary occurrence of discomfort that is not associated with new tissue damage; characterized as dull and generalized with no swelling or localized tenderness.

  • Cerebral cortex A part of the brain that plays a key role in memory, attention, perceptual awareness, thought, language, and consciousness.

  • Chronic pain Pain that persists beyond the normal time expected for healing (typically a minimum of 3–6 months).

  • Extrovert Manifested in outgoing, talkative, energetic behavior.

  • Hyperalgesia Heightened sensation response to noxious stimulus.

  • Hypothalamus A part of the brain responsible for certain metabolic processes and other activities of the autonomic nervous system (including body temperature, hunger, thirst, fatigue, sleep, and circadian cycles).

  • Injury pain Occurrence of pain that signals actual or potential tissue damage.

  • Introvert Manifested in more reserved, quiet, shy behavior.

  • Limbic system A complex set of brain structures that lies on both sides of the thalamus; supports a variety of functions including emotion, behavior, and long-term memory.

  • Nociception The process of pain sensation by the nociceptors.

  • Nociceptors Sensory neurons that respond to potentially damaging stimuli by sending nerve signals to the spinal cord and brain.

  • Noxious An actually or potentially tissue-damaging event; may be mechanical, chemical, or thermal.

  • Pain perception Conscious interpretation of nociceptive stimulus as pain.

  • Pain sensation Stimulus is received by the nervous system (via nociceptors).

  • Pain-spasm cycle Pain that causes vasoconstriction and muscle spasm, which, in turn, causes more pain, which, in turn, exacerbates the cycle; sometimes referred to as the pain-spasm-pain cycle.

  • Pain threshold Point at which pain begins to be felt; an entirely subjective phenomenon.

  • Pain tolerance The ability of the patient to withstand pain or painful stimuli for a period of time.

  • Periaqueductal gray A role in the descending modulation of pain.

  • Persistent pain Pain that meets the time frame defined as chronic but is actually a symptom of a treatable condition.

  • Sensation Stimulus is received by the nervous system (via nociceptors).

  • Somatic Of the body; relating to the body; bodily illness.

  • Somatosensory cortex The main sensory receptive area for the sense of touch.

  • Stress-induced analgesia A reduction in pain sensitivity during stress conditions.

  • Thalamus A part of the brain that relays sensory and motor signals to the cerebral cortex and regulates consciousness, sleep, and alertness.



After reading this chapter, you will be able to:

  1. Describe the process of pain sensation and perception.

  2. Describe the psychosocial factors that affect persistent pain sensation and perception.

  3. Differentiate between types of pain, such as acute, chronic, persistent, injury, and performance.

  4. Identify ...

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